Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FEI2011 - This morning's keynotes

Jonah Lehrer brought psychology to the FEI party to start off the morning of Day Two. First, he advised we learn how to relax so that we can have more moments of insight. Relaxing is an essential ingredient in epiphanies or breakthroughs. He said that when we are active, our entire attention is focused entirely on “noise”, and it’s not until the noise is tuned out that the “quiet voice” of insight can come through. He also offered that, contrary to popular belief, stimulation (e.g. caffeine) is not the way to achieve these moments of insight. Furthermore, listening to this voice is hard – we’re so busy we never take the time to do it. Unfortunately, in part because of the prevalence of technology in our lives, finding time is also harder, and thus this voice has little opportunity to come through. He discussed the value of true grit – persevering even when it’s not very fun – and the importance of trusting our feelings. He asked, “How do we develop those ‘wise’ emotions, how does practice lead to feelings, emotions and intuitions, which expertise is all about?” To this end, he emphasizes the importance of making mistakes, saying, “The only way to get it right is to get it wrong again and again and again.” Performers who rely too much on logic fail to trust their instincts/intuition. Perhaps a controversial opinion amongst this crowd, he suggested that brainstorming doesn’t actually work, and in fact inhibits our imagination. This is linked to the classic rule thou shall not criticize. He says that we should recognize that bad ideas actually lead to better ideas – “mistakes are engines of learning, and help us solve our hardest problems.” The ability to strategically allocate attention is a skill highly correlated with success. Do this and you are positioned not only to be more innovative but more effective in general. He closes offering, “Our self-knowledge of how the brain works is very useful knowledge that can help us make it work a little better.”

Francis Gouillart then led us into the morning breakouts with a talk on the value of co-creation. He began by discussing what co-creation is and gave us a lighthearted but insightful definition: “Co-creation is a little like marriage, having two people solve problems they would have never have had in the first place if they had remained single.” He touts the role of experience as being a critical factor in co-creation, saying, “Co-creation relies on human centricity, relies on everyone around the chain.” Offering a sequence of events, he states that value comes from experience, and experience in turn comes from interactions (enable the experience and let people connect – see what happens). Then, new interactions require engagement platforms, and engagement platforms assemble new networks. Co-creation relies on these components, and provides a window to new, previously unreachable solutions.


- Clay Maxwell (@bizinovationist)


Clay is a Business Innovationist with Creative Realities, an innovation strategy consulting firm. He is a frequent contributor to their Innovationist Blog where all things innovation are discussed. You can find out more about Creative Realities at www.creativerealities.com

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