FEI 2016: Morning Innovation Shot in the Asterisk ;)
Angela Dirks and Aaron Keller are in Boston for the 14th Annual Front End of Innovation Conference. They've had an opportunity to visit the original 'Cheers' bar, sample some Samuel Adams, explore virtual reality, and of course be moved by powerful keynotes. Below they reflect on two very different speakers with equally impactful messages. Even if you didn't have the opportunity to attend the conference, their takeaways are worth reading (and the speakers' books worth buying).
Having the opportunity to see two authors speak on the subject matter they’ve written about in their books is somewhat like going from script to live theatre. The two authors we had on the stage this morning were Dan Heath – Made to Stick and Switch – and Jeremy Gutsche – Better & Faster and Exploiting Chaos.
These two characters could have been in a sketch of yin and yang or stood on opposing sides of the stage with diverging viewpoints. Dan Heath reminded us of a corporate IP attorney trying to look fashion forward and sounded like the therapist who leaves you feeling like the smartest person in the room. Jeremy Gutsche jumped off the stage and ran into the audience more than five times while he delivered a Redbull style presentation (curious: he also profiled the Red Bull venture).
Both of these speakers delivered intellectual content that had the audience leaning forward in their seats. Both of these presenters opened our eyes, ears and view of the world. Dan spoke on the subject of Change and how we deal with it. He used an elephant with a little rider on top to visually describe our rational and emotional systems, oh so elegant. We could all see the little rider (rational system) trying desperately to control the gigantic elephant (emotional system) in our lives. These are the conflicts in the world of innovation, we consider the rational system inside the people in a corporation but rarely consider the emotional system. He had so many head nods that it changed the airflow of the room. Even now, you’re probably nodding along in agreement, right?
Dan’s presentation was a live version of he and his brother’s books. He gave us morsels with plenty of intellectual calories to fuel our future intellectual innovation work. If notebooks didn’t get filled up on this one then keyboards got a workout. This is the first time we had a chance to see Dan present on his subject matter and he delivered a case like a corporate IP lawyer. If he passed around a signup form he’d likely have 100% participation.
Now, Jeremy took the stage. And, if it wasn’t bolted down, he likely would have picked the stage up and moved it around a couple times. Jeremy is a known entity and when you see the word trend, it always seem soft and perhaps delivered through a calm voice. Jeremy was the antichrist of calm. He told stories of Zara, Red Bull, Smith Corona, Blackberry, Rockets, Origami, Scorpions and perhaps most interesting, his father. His presentation style was an eight shot espresso for the room. We know it was good because his workshop, crammed into a 100 person room was far over capacity, to the point where a fire hazard could have been claimed. But, who cares, Jeremy would have taken care of it.
The finish of the Jeremy trend show ended and the crowd leapt from their seats and from what we learned, went to get a seat at his workshop. His team engaged in exercises and likely burned plenty of intellectual and physical calories in a trend, innovation and culture shock session. While we missed being in that room, our morsel of Jeremy was certainly worthy enough to buy the book and follow up with his team for future work together.
If you determine the value of a conference by filling up a beer pitcher of knowledge, these sessions overflowed it. Thank you Dan and Jeremy, you both have contributed to this conference and put memories in the brains of this room. Looking forward to each of your next adventures and the next time we get to see you.