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November 16, 2005

Innovation research may not be what they teach you to think 

10 years ago I used the worldwide web to research innovation for a year- I was lucky it was still a new playground . Before egroups were ten a cent automated spam infested spaces, I connected some directors of world's biggest creative companies. We had 2 rules
  • - no ad agencies, we mean companies -in search of inventing real stuff that improves makind's lot not just some trendy nagging fad that adds costs to markets dominated by me-too corps.
  • Minority of academics.

The first thing we learnt was Organising Creativity is a conflict in terms- the bigger an organisation gets the more it suffocates creativity assuming its already knows how to formalise world best (that's how it got biggest -sic!). The next think we learnt is innovation is richly context specific- which is why academic standard frameworks seldom export far beyond the application the academic studied first, even if Harvard has endorsed them as global manager flavour of the year in its Business Review.

Over recent years I travelled across odd facilitation networks until I came to open space whose alumni leader for 25 years Harrison Owen explained in a personal interview- how all the world's greatest people innovations involve taking people on different warring sides simultaneously through the conflict barrier that's separated them. And if you don't know how many wars go on between departments in a large organisation , you have either never been in one or you are lucky enough to live in one whose leaders audit conflicts ahead of time with far more everyday attention than spreadsheeting numbers. Trouble is open space takes 3 days to do wholly

In my deliberately impatient way, I have been asking why can’t we host 1-hour cafes to do the most vital start that an innovative project network needs. Club of City friends have been rehearsing that in 50 cultures , and the rehearsals remind me of amazing grace.

CafeSocial: I have started a weblog here to share some stories of what our experiments have been leading to

One bottom line most relevant to economists and those who practice the personal branding genre:we'd vote for a fourth great value multiplier of human productivity - openly training everyone to progressively rehearse their own stories, and most meaningful future histories 1 2 3 . If the networked age is to truly sustain the world's people, why shouldn't very being lovingly rejoice in being their own medium for collaborative reality-making?

Chris Macrae DC tel centre 301 881 1655
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