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Gurupalooza 2--The Rotman Innovation Conference Rocked.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on November 20, 2006

Larry Keeley of the Doblin Group coined the term “Gurupalooza” to describe the first gathering at a Toronoto conference of the “7 gurus” of innovation described in my cover on Creativity. That was put on by Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management in Toronto, last October. The second gathering happened last week in NYC and it was even better. Small, 150-200 people, friendly with very, very detailed presentations on innovation by the seven gurus. I like big conferences but these smaller ones accomplish much more. You meet the “teachers,” network and really learn.

Let me quote from Doblin’s Keeley and his incredible presention. It was among several that left the audience in awe.

First, his Four Big Ideas in 40 minutes:
1- “Sometimes things change—Leaders must sense when the business fundamentally shifts.
2- A fresh look at innovation fundamentals—To innovate, it helps to understand what it is—and isn’t.

3- The building blocks of effective innovation—What to stop and what to start to innovate reliably.

4- Platforms rule—In an interconnected world, platforms matter most.”

This is a great beginning to a speech on innovation. Then Keeley went on to say that a discipline—a discipline—of innovation is emerging. It will take 2-4 years to develop. Why? Operational excellence doesn’t give you competitive advantage any more. All good companies are good at it. You need innovation. And there are at least 10 types of innovation. Apple combined 8 in the iPod.

I won’t go into Keeley’s amazing innovation landscapes, which he presented at the conference. If you haven’t seen them, you have to check them out. They are powerful tools for innovation.

For me, the new insight came from Keeley’s focus on platforms. He said “all the important stuff now cuts across companies and markets.” Think about that. Competition is now among platforms.

Keeley ended with a short summary of how to boost your innovation success rate from the lowly average of 4% to 35-70%.
1- “Know the fundamentals—Get beyond products. Use many types of innovation. Use diagnostics to help.

2- Have an innovation goal— Make customer discoveries.

3—Build fewer, bolder concepts—Use innovation toolkits. Use teams to build platforms.

4—Implement clearly and swiftly—use prototypes, not spreadsheets.”

There’s more from the conference…Later.

Reader Comments

niti bhan

November 21, 2006 3:36 AM

Thank you for sharing Larry's thoughts, Bruce. He truly is a guru,

~one of his chelas

Chris Flanagan

November 29, 2006 4:29 PM

Without a doubt, Larry is one of the most intelligent people I've met. He spoke at our Collaborative Innovation Summit last month. I had the opportunity to interview him for the program guide and he truly is the 'thought-leader's thought leader.'

For anyone interested, we posted his video here:

Larry shared a great story about the importance of regional innovation with an example of the Helsinki Municipal Lighting project.

Best, Chris

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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