23 Jan 15|Innovation

Academics often talk about little ‘c’ and big ‘C’ creativity. If that’s the case, Newcastle in May was blazing INNOVATION.

Academics often talk about little ‘c’ and big ‘C’ creativity. If that’s the case, Newcastle in May was blazing INNOVATION. Three days of intense activity at City Hall and NBN studios exposed delegates to the Hunter Innovation Forum to information and activities, but equally important, to opportunities for networking and collaboration.

And with guests numbering over 700 and web and social media hits hovering at 1,500 it’s clear that innovation is gathering momentum – finally.

In a session led by SiDCOR’s Paul Siderovski, delegates at the BRW Breakfast identified Innovation Take Outs that could be applied the minute they walked back into their workspace. Simple ideas with the potential to create innovation momentum included making it safe for an idea to fail (Score Edison 10,000, Dyson 5,127), leading from the top (such a commonly repeated and “lip-serviced” theme but not commonly enough followed through), and only betting what you can afford to lose (read that as take calculated risks).

Guest presenter Roger Langsford from Planet Innovation (which took top place in the BRW list) spoke about the success that comes from allowing your team autonomy and giving them power to make decisions. When the team isn’t being micromanaged or fulfilling specific job descriptions, when they are working to their individual skill potential, the output can be inspiring, and profitable. In fact, if Planet Innovation come across someone ‘remarkable’, they hire them first and create the position later!

Lisa Frazier from the Commonwealth Bank spent the best part of fifteen years in the USA and much of that in Silicon Valley. At CommBank they speak in terms of “before Lisa” and “after Lisa”, such has been her influence. She enthralled the audience with tales of her “failure party” when one of her ideas stopped short of the desired outcome and Lisa ended with the success of the new technologies CommBank have recently introduced. Her main message? Listen to your customers and solve their problems. That message hasn’t just been thrown around to tick boxes at CommBank – they actually followed through with the action plan and have introduced card free transactions. Knowing their competition will soon follow suit, their next innovation is already in development.

Mat Baxter from leading ad agency UM Australia, described the creativity and innovation that takes place daily in their offices – that is what one would expect. But the degree to which they back the seemingly impossible was what placed them in the top five of the BRW List. Imagine the logistics of changing multiple billboards throughout Sydney and Melbourne daily for several weeks. That’s exactly what happened and their client couldn’t have been happier with the result. Imagine that – the distribution and take up of print press increasing when others are moving to digital at a great rate of knots – BRW included!

So where to next? How do you keep up the innovation momentum? Schedule time, allow your people to operate at their best and have an action plan. You can even set your innovation KPI’s if that’s what makes the board happy! Or you could sign up for the Rippler Effect Innovation Program developed by the Business Centre. With some pretty special guests and a total focus on workplace projects, participants will work on the business while achieving a nationally accredited qualification in Innovation Practice and Innovation Management.

So that was May…with the new financial year just around the corner, things could potentially be looking up – innovatively of course!

Listen to your customers and solve their problems.

Listen to your customers and solve their problems.

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