Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Executing Today While Planning for the Future

By: Christina Gerakiteys, CEO/Creative Director, Ideation at Work 

What most excites me is the return to ‘humane – ity’. As speaker after speaker brought their messages, methodologies and experiences to conference delegates, it was constantly with the intent of creating a better world.

This conference wasn’t about innovating the next Hyperloop or autonomous vehicle. Nor was it about the role AIs will have over the next decade or so. That the crazy stuff will happen and that AIs will play increasingly important roles are both givens. To this audience anyway. Rather the conference was about executing today, while simultaneously ensuring that we plan for the future. And in order to accomplish both goals, people need to come first.

It’s no secret that a happy workforce is a productive and creative one. It was the strategies that the speakers delivered that will allow delegates to become the change agents they need to be in order to make ‘stuff happen’ back at work on Monday. If they are brave enough.

This was a message that Chair, Soon Yu from VF, kept repeating as he wove a thread of consistency between the speakers. Many organisations struggle with innovation. They know they should be doing it/supporting it/encouraging it, but they are also scared of ‘it’. Dan Heath, best selling author of Switch, believes we can lead organisations into innovation by appealing to their emotive brain first. Invoking change becomes easier if we can see the change that’s needed. We will be able to feel the effect it will have, which makes the action to change a given.

Inevitably roadblocks pop up as we try to instigate change. Fear of failure, resistance to change, ego and financial restrictions all got several mentions over the three days of the conference. Per Kristiansen from Lego Serious Play, runs corporate programs with Lego Bricks that offer tactile methods to connect with these fears and build pathways around resistance. Through the use of imagination and metaphor, Lego Serious Play offers a way of expressing and identifying emotions. Once these have been identified, we can start to build solutions.

Perhaps the best advice was articulated by Karen Hershenson from Procter and Gamble.  To be innovative we need to ‘subtract what detracts’, especially technology. To be truly effective, we need to think and feel. We can’t do that unless we have space. That space is constantly being invaded by phone calls, txts, pop up messages, social media and the email that demands a response immediately upon receipt.

If we are to be creative in our problem solving, if we are to encourage innovation and execution, we need space.  We also need to develop and grow personally, mentally and spiritually. Just as innovation is crucial to the survival of businesses and organisations, personal development is crucial to the survival of each and every one of us. Mindfulness, wellness, meditation and yoga aren’t increasing in popularity because they are easy fads. They all require discipline and commitment, perseverance and determination. Just like any successful business venture.

Brining the conference to a close was Brian Singer. He spoke about becoming rich through his design. Filthy rich. And the richness he spoke about is achievable by anyone and everyone who chooses to enrich the lives of others along the way.

So that’s a wrap on FEI16. Inspired? Yes. Motivated? Always. What’s important is I have just increased my resource kit to make sure more stuff happens.

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