What is the Future of Innovation?

Last Updated Sep 15, 2008 12:30 AM EDT

In tough economic times, should you innovate? "Yes!" was the unanimous message from the speakers at the Australian innovation conference, InnoFuture 2008.

Key messages from Day 1:

  • Increase your return on imagination --- give people time to think. (Tom Wujec, Canada)
  • Increase granularity --- dis-aggregate data to find new opportunities. (Mehrdad Baghai, USA)
  • Collaboration 21st-century style (Web 2.0 contributing and sharing) is affecting how we innovate --- but corporates still don't get it. (Peter Williams, Australia)
  • The imperative to reduce our carbon footprint is driving innovation --- applying natural capitalism principles will deliver competitive advantage. (Hunter Lovins, USA)
Want to get people talking about innovation in your organisation? Emulate the World Café concept by getting your people chatting in "InnoPods". At each break, participants got into groups of nine or so and discuss topics, such as:
  • What are the barriers to innovation?
  • How can we make innovation actually happen and stop just talking about it?
  • How can we build a culture that supports innovation --- when your title is not CEO?
Here are the 8 steps to running a successful InnoPod:
  1. Gather people for say 20 minutes
  2. Define the focus/topic
  3. Give everyone 1 minute to write down one idea per post-it note
  4. Discuss ideas for 5 minutes, putting post-it notes on butcher's paper as the ideas are shared
  5. Nominate a scribe to capture key thoughts/discussions
  6. Summarise the thinking into Top 3 Ideas/Thoughts (Creating a 3-course Take Away Menu to go with the Café theme)
  7. Collate and share the thinking with others
  8. Take action --- support people in taking their ideas further
  • Robert Gerrish

    Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (www.flyingsolo.com.au), the Australian online community for solo business owners.