I have writer’s cramp! Thirty-two pages of written notes, 74 photos, 12 speakers, countless Tweets, and Instagram and Facebook posts. That’s how Day One of the Front End Innovation Conference looks like in numbers for me.
But numbers don’t quite catch the energy in the room, nor the discourse that took place. Numbers don’t show you the intensity and delight as thinking was challenged and eureka moments experienced.
As we move further into the 21st century, life is all about the people. In reality we have been innovating since time immemorial. What has changed is the speed of change and the resources we use to instigate that change.
People are at the same time great advocates for change and great change obstructers. According to Soon Yu, Global VP Innovation at VF Corp, innovations may fail because of the “…walls people put up. Walls of fear, apathy and disbelief”.
Today we heard from several speakers about the importance of big vision, and how this was crucial in imagining what was possible. But of course vision is useless without the proper support and execution.
Many stories were told throughout the sessions. None more powerful for me than those told by Alexa Clay and Antonio Fernandez.
Alexa Clay is the author of The Misfit Economy. The Misfits are those intrapreneurs in large organisations, who ask questions, and push boundaries and limits. Truth be know, entrepreneurs are often considered Misfits as well. Traditionally, at school, we were the ones most likely to be diagnosed with ADD, be in the music group, the debating team, the school council, the netball team and the school theatre, all at the same time. Alternately we were banished to the corridor every other lesson. Or if you’re me – a nice mix of both.
Misfits traditionally Hustle, Hack, Copy, Provocate and Pivot. So do the Mafia and most Bikie gangs. According to Alexa’s research, and Antonio Fernandez, there are skills required by top criminal bosses, transferable directly into the business world, including leadership, negotiation, hustle, pushing boundaries and knowing when to change tactics.
Vijay Govindarajan, or VJ for short, Best Selling Author and 50 Thinkers Winner, believes there are only three things we need to truly master: managing the present; selectively forgetting the past; and creating the future. And he advises the Future is NOW. We should be creating it NOW. And while this is all common sense, it’s certainly not common practice. So clients be warned! That 80:20 rule we’ve been speaking about, where 20% of your time should be spent moving the business forward? It just became a non-negotiable.
So think big, dream big and think outside that proverbial box. And make no mistake, Creativity and Innovation need the constraints of the box. If there are no constraints or boundaries, we really don’t know what we should be rebelling against.