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Global Innovation Forum


Six Key Themes From the Global Innovation Forum 2015

How to uncover the next $1 billion idea

Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 11:24

(Global Innovation Forum) -- In November 2015, the Global Innovation Forum, chaired by Brand Genetics, brought together speakers and attendees from some of the world’s most innovative businesses. Over the course of two days we all shared innovation experiences, challenges, anecdotes, and learnings. From the wealth of learning Brand Genetics has distilled six key themes to help you deliver future innovation success.

1. Be prepared to change everything
In a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world, the only thing we can be certain of is that in 10 years time everything will have changed. In 2005 we checked email on computers not phones, went to Blockbuster and probably hadn’t heard of Facebook; in 2025 we’ll look back in a similar way at today. In the face of such disruption, corporate lifespans are falling (from 67yrs in the 1920s to 15yrs today). We need to change and update our mindsets, approaches, leaderships and models – fast!

2. Encourage creative friction
To see the future, we need to be able to synthesize inputs from sources with very diverse outlooks on the world. This starts in your team; engage individuals who aren’t clones – find those that think differently and fuel healthy creative friction. Within the business, engage diverse perspectives from across the business to challenge on projects. Find new ways to look at the same problems: try a multi-sensory approach, or instead of looking for solutions, try looking for questions.

3. Get under the skin of your user
We spend billions on research, but have an empathy deficit at just the time when we need to connect deeper with consumers and create amazing experiences. We need to truly feel what our users feel – to empathize with their needs—to get past the challenge of "faster horses". The Henry Ford quote we don’t hear is about the importance of empathy: "If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own".

4. Seek opportunity in every problem
Every problem represents an opportunity. So the world’s biggest problems are also the world’s biggest business opportunities. Whether it’s improving world health, reducing energy consumption, managing waste, addressing the needs of an ageing population – these are big global issues that need to be solved through innovation. These are serious challenges, but if innovation was easy, everyone would be doing it! The good news is they will get people motivated and excited, and have the potential to not just change your company, but truly improve people’s lives.

5. Fight the corporate immune system
Innovation is about driving change, while the corporate engine is about increasing efficiency and effectiveness. If this is straight battle, there is only ever one winner. So innovators must find ways to fight back against the innovation prevention officers who see real change as a threat. Set the right parameters from the outset, and ensure you’re all speaking the same language. Get senior leadership buy-in by engaging leaders emotionally, as well as rationally, with a clear case for change and make ideas real fast, to reduce uncertainty.

6. Tap into the power of failure
In today’s age, staying in your comfort zone is a recipe for disaster: if you’re not falling down, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. We all need to find ways to take risks – risks that come with a distinct possibility of failure, but risks which you’ll learn from. We must fail smart, fail small and learn fast. Create opportunities to ‘play’; this is when we are at our most creative. What’s your ‘concept car’, your hotels in a warehouse, how can you ‘fake it before you make it’? Because failures are the most valuable untapped resource for innovation success.

The Next $1 Billion Idea...
…won’t come from doing the same things that got us to where we are today.
…will come from seeing new connections between previously irreconcilable tensions.
…will come from a deep insight into what our users need, but can’t articulate.
…is likely to change lives, making people happier, healthier and better off.
…will be something most people don’t agree with you on!
…won’t be something you get right first time.


About The Author

Global Innovation Forum

The fifth annual Global Innovation Forum focuses on innovation, design, creativity, R&D, new product development and future trends. An excellent platform for pure knowledge sharing and establishing new valuable contacts. You can expect a tremendous agenda, experienced speakers, key messages, global players and intense networking.