Innovation Leaders Forum

Ugh.  I’m at another event/conference today: the Innovation Leaders Forum (#ILF2012) presented by Imaginatik and hosted by Fidelity.  (Note: Imaginatik is also blogging today — check out their blog.)  And late at night, last night, I was horrified at the thought of another day not being able to focus on getting work done.  My to do list is monstrous. I owe a dozen people phone calls and deadlines are looming.  I thought about cancelling. I’ve been working far into the night to get plans and proposals done, contracts sent out and writing/editing projects completed. And giving up my early morning trip to the gym to grab a couple additional hours before the rest of the world wakes up. Double ugh.

But part of my work is to be the connection to the innovation and entrepreneurial community.  At these events, I meet people and make connections that are useful to my clients and employers.  I also free my brain to come up with new ideas that help our clients meet their goals. I discover new tools and technology we can leverage for clients.  For example, I heard about Pinterest several years ago at a conference much like this one.  If you don’t know Pinterest, it’s a “new” social network, based on images.  It’s actually not new, been around, what 7-8 years? (Hyperbole alert — it launched in March 2010. But its popularity has taken off like a rocket in the last few months.)

What have you done to get out of your cube/office lately?  Is there someone in your organization who has been tasked with getting out and collecting new ideas?  Who’s looking ahead in your organization?  Who’s in charge of the multi-year plan?  Do you even have a multi-year plan?

But back to the conference.  Sharing some notes from the event — grab something that speaks to you or sparks an idea for you:

  • According to an executive from Imaginatik — all of us are working across time to develop innovation processes — the most successful companies have a multi-year view.
  • According to Deb Mills-Scofield, putting in processes does not mean your company is innovative.  It is hard to “become” innovative. You often need different people and a different mind set.
  • Mills-Scofield recommends Switch, the Heath brothers’ book on change. I’ll second that.
  • In talking about inciting innovation: focus on the bright spots for the motivational factor, Mills-Scofield talked about “Breaking through the fear factor.  Measure employees on “at bats” — rewarding and recognizing employees for taking a stab at it.  For assembling a team.  If you fail and learn, you haven’t really failed.”
  • Love the concept of RCUS. Mills-Scofield shares the term which originated evidently with Saul Kaplan from Rhode Island’s Business Innovation Factory.  A RCUS is a “Random Collision of Unusual Suspects.”