I’ve been processing TEDxMelbourne (I know, scary stuff).

Let me say from the outset it was a terrific day, great value,  most of the speakers were really high quality, the day ran smoothly, and the conversations in the break were rich and plentiful. The team from TEDxMelbourne not only curated some great content, but a really friendly, open and interesting crowd.  This definitely enhanced the experience for me.

The theme was Innovation.  Clearly, with a passion for making change happen this is a topic dear to my heart. But on reflection, I’m not sure there was a lot happening in the content that was innovative. Or provocative. There was a lot that reinforced old truisms of innovation and entrepreneurship.  There was a lot that looked like the content of the  Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship subjects I was teaching 10 years ago. Perhaps polished up a bit with some fresh examples.  There was a lot that was 101 stuff.

Or was there? Maybe my immediate observation is simply an examples that what is defined as innovative is clearly a perception based definition. If it is new to you, then it will be exciting and innovative. If you have seen / heard it before than it is “101” albeit well delivered “101”.

I say this at the risk of sounding overly dismissive. That’s not my intent. Within each presentation there was at least one nugget that could spark a seriously creative and innovation focused conversation! And that adds up to a whole lot more than Innovation 101!

There was only one standout for me in a TED-esque way  – the presentation by Simon Griffiths, founder of Shebeen and Who Gives A Crap. This for me represented  ideas worth spreading.

But in the break, I was talking with a friend who didn’t think there was anything particularly new about it. She had just completed studies in social enterprises. More 101.

So I guess the take-away at a meta level, when launching an innovative service or product, and newness matters, do your research. I know. All bit “101” ; – )

The other presentation that is still niggling at me is Annalie Killian’s presentation. Annalie’s intent (as I understood it) was to provoke with a thesis that suggested that continuous and hyper connectivity reduces creativity. To bolster / re-engage creativity one needs to tap back into a ‘maker’ environment eg make things (craft, cooking, film, music, art, dinner parties).  Again, this is 101 for me. For me, when I am too much “in my head” (which continuous connection can be), I need to circuit break with something physical  and tactile. For me, cooking, and drawing is my creative expression.  And I said as much over drinks afterwards — “no, doesn’t relate to me. I know how to disconnect”.  But an insidious little thought kept creeping in. “That’s what you say, what would your family say? Your friends?”.

In the same way that innovation has an element of perceptual definition, does the hyperconnectivity / creativity paradox have one too? Is there a dimension of perceived creativity eg self measured v peer measured?

As I said, it’s niggling. So while I may not have found the initial thesis provocative — it’s had a slow burn for me. Kudos Annalie.

And what would you know. It’s 9.am on a Sunday morning. I am online and blogging.  Make of that what you will…

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