Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Get Out There and Be Something

Get Out There and Be Something

The FEI Conference panel discussion, The Evolution of Design Thinking from Small Teams to Enterprise-Wide Adoption, provided some truly wonderful thinking from some of the biggest minds in innovation. Change is hard for big corporations; the scale and shareholder demand works counter to nimble and course changing ideas. Innovation stresses their systems, tests preconceived standards and challenges engrained business models. It’s not for the faint of heart and for that reason you have to appreciate those who innovate on the biggest of stages.

The Evolution of Design Thinking from Small Teams to Enterprise-Wide Adoption featured leaders from Phizer, Coke and P&G – the biggest fish in the biggest ponds. They played to a packed house, standing room only (as I was seated on the floor against the wall). Along the way they had many aphorisms and pieces of wisdom, some usual suspects and a few heretical ideas:

- Innovation is like improvised jazz, where there is not defined voice but a predominant rhythm where solos come in and out.

- Get out of the cube, or box, as it may be to truly understand the users. Not just who they are but the larger questions like what are their aspirations in life.

- Don’t go to any more conferences. Get out there and start innovating.

This last point remains the one most resonant. At some point you need to take action, to stop reading the books and getting energized at conferences and just do. You will never learn to drive by watching videos or reading books, you have to put yourself in traffic and drive. It’s a little intimidating and you might get lost but the rewards of a new freedom and the possibility of the road before you are too great. Thanks FEI, I still plan to attend next year, maybe I’ll just cut back.

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