It's a Wednesday night and a full moon is rising over the Bay as I head back into the City for Benn Rennie's from Uncluttered White Spaces "Making Ideas Happen/ What If" talks.
Guest speakers are inspirational Collaborative Consumption Author Rachel Botsman (see my TEDx Sydney post last year); Ash Donaldson - Human-Computer Interaction Expert; Seb Chan - Head of Digital at the Powerhouse Museum; old breakfast mate Futurist Tim Longhurst (see Internet Chef Bridgett Cooks Breakfast Degustation) and Jodie Fox from Shoes of Prey (my girl would love this website) who late replaced old Traction mate Ian Lyons who had to fly to London.
We're in the 4th Floor of the Merivale's CBD Hotel, it's a relatively small group which is perfect for these type of open talks.
I'm here primarily to get a further understanding of the "innovation" to implementation process. I put "innovation" in inverted commas because like so many people, Ben, after his first talk on "innovation" dropped the overused word and replaced it with "What If".
So I'm here to further understand the nature of "What If" - "What If" I'd done it this way? and "What To" make things happen.
“Everything is always created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.” I'm not sure who originally said that, some say Picaso, other Jung and Helen Kellar, irrespective it's a good place to start. Rachel talked of the weekly crank email claiming she'd stolen "their" idea. I remember back in my BANGitUP Tradie Search days we'd have similar claims of "my" idea and today with our CLIVE project, the "yeah we're thinking of doing that!". Immitation is the greatest form of flattery and authenticy will eventually rise to the top (we hope).
Ash (or Rachel I think) reminded us that there were actually three patents lodged around the same time for the telephone way back in 1870's. You see no idea is ever unique, it's the joining of the dots, of A+B, that creates "C"; the integration or convergence of what has happened before that makes things possible, of Jung's Synchronicity and Collective Unconscious - or as Ash said - standing (and jumping) on the shoulders of giants.
Take Google, it wasn't the first search engine but what it learnt from the others and incorporated other elements - for example, the first to offer Page Rank as a user search benefit and its first acquisition in 2001 was Deja - the Usenet postings which gave it an immediate repository of indexable user generated text content and hundreds of thousands of instant users.
The guys at Google were originally knocked back from Excite (one of the leading search engines at the time)
So it's not so much the brilliant idea but the development and implementation that matters most, of dogged persistance to your idea (s).
Filtering Though Ideas and Failure
The common takeaway across all speakers was the ability to fail and learn - "failing forward" was a great term I'll borrow ("innovation is great, immitation is faster" - see video below - 1.25) and prioritise - Tim's "Big Yes" and no the little things.
Jodie talked of her shoe box failure; Seb about innovation within Government and Tim introduced us "Status Quo Man"
The solution - small, testable, organised micro projects to see what sticks which are driven my passionate, intrinsically motivated change agents - as Rachel said "speedboats and tankers".
"It's not sexy" - it's a constant process of improvement.
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