Age is no barrier in the frontier of innovation

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This slide pack was prepared for, and presented at, The Young Innovators Forum held in Jaipur, India on September 15, 2013. Though unable to attend in person this year, I was very happy to be able to present virtually via Skype.

Over the last two years I’ve had the rare opportunity to interview hundreds of international innovators and thought leaders, within a wide range of fields (including business, technology, government and social policy, the arts and advertising, media, medicine and much more).  And, throughout my presentation, I look forward to sharing some of the insights, experiences and expertise these thought leaders shared with me for my new book.

Though the title of my presentation is, like the title of my book, !nnovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World - there is a subtitle to my talk today; and that is:
Age is no barrier in the frontier of innovation.

Noting that many of you who are attending today’s forum are students, or have only recently left your studies, I felt it important to point out that, as I’m sure you well know, innovation and innovative thinking have no age barrier. Innovation knows no borders or boundaries - and to underline that, I’m going to introduce you to some successful young people who, to me, represent this fact - and who I’d like you to keep in mind whenever someone ‘older’ attempts to tell you that you’re too young to make a difference.

Of course, regardless of your age, or where you’re located in the world, there are no guarantees that your innovative idea or insight will be successful. However, in interviewing such a wide range of innovators, and exploring how innovators think, act and change our world, I was able to gather some key insights, which I think can assist you in translating your innovative concept into a profitable outcome.

Additionally, with the new transformational technologies that are available to anyone able to access them through a connection to the web, there is no more advantageous time to start a company with global reach. With minimal costs you can have a major impact as a mini-multinational - regardless of where you’re located OR how old you are.

I will leave you with these thoughts on innovation, which are the core axioms, which infuse the book project !nnovation: How Innovators Think, Act, and Change Our World:

1. Innovation drives change –culturally, societally and economically
2. Innovation touches each of us, as individuals, communities and societies as a whole; and
3. Innovators deserve recognition, celebration and applause - and saying that, I hope you give each other the recognition, support and celebration, that you all deserve!

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Age is no barrier in the frontier of innovation

  1. 1. Presentation to: The Young Innovators Forum (Jaipur)
  2. 2. AGE IS NO BARRIER IN THE FRONTIER OF INNOVATION “ Innovation knows no borders, no boundaries, and no barriers”
  3. 3. While researching !nnovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World, I picked up a few key insights that, regardless of your age, can assist you in translating your innovative concept into a commercially profitable outcome.
  4. 4. “For innovation to flourish, one needs to recognise that it is important to fail. Failure is what drives innovation and is the necessary part of the ‘Innovation Process’. Learning, iteration, adaptation and developing models are all manifestations of failure and innovation is the ability to learn and build upon these failures.” - William Saito (@whsaito) Author, Entrepreneur and Founder/CEO at Intercur, K.K
  5. 5. “You can have a fantastic innovation; but, unless you tell a good story about it, it’s never going to get anywhere. The start of the traction for innovation is being able to communicate it succinctly in an emotionally engaging way.” Bill Liao (@liaonet) Internationally renowned Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Diplomat, Speaker and Author
  6. 6. “Leaders who understand the imperative of innovation not only encourage employees to innovate, they protect them, and also set aside funds to enable employees with the insight, perspicacity and courage to innovate.” Abby Bloom Co-Founder and CEO of Acu Rate, Thought Leader in Innovation in Healthcare and Medical Devices
  7. 7. “I think if you look at the great ideas, they often come about because a very small group of people had a ton of trust with each other and decided to (you know) carry on despite a lot of discouraging feedback from the outside world.” Matt Flannery (@mattflanney) Founder and CEO of Kiva
  8. 8. “If I had to pick the most innovative country in the world right now, it would be... in South Eastern Africa. The social structure has men going off and doing whatever they feel like while the women have to find ways to feed their families on 30 cents a day. They are amazingly clever and resourceful because they have to be to feed their families.” David Pensak World Renowned Innovator, Entrepreneur and Inventor of the World’s First Business Firewall
  9. 9. Whenever someone ‘older’ attempts to tell you that you’re too young to make a difference, remember: AGE IS NO BARRIER IN THE INNOVATION FRONTIER
  10. 10. “...when your invention breaks, making sure you have the persistence to pick yourself up and keep researching, creating, inventing.” - Ethan Butson Prize-winning sixteen year old Grammar School student who was won second place in the Materials and Bioengineering category of the 2012 INTEL International Science Fair , and first prize in the 2010 Australian National Science Awards, for his work with radiochromic film and UV radiation protection.
  11. 11. “Currently I am working on the “SPOONGE”, a new invention to accurately delivery medicine to patients. It combines the best delivery methods of a spoon with the volumetric measuring accuracy of syringes, producing the SPOONGE. I hope it helps deliver medicine to children more accurately in the future.” - Macinley Butson Ethan’s 11 year old sister who is an award winner in her own right, having won the Primary category of the BHP Billiton Science Awards. (Ethan and Macinley are the first brother and sister to win the two first place awards in Australia’s most prestigious student science competition.
  12. 12. “I left school very early... so I discovered how business worked through observation, rather than instruction... I feel as though it was this filterless introduction to business that allows me to see opportunities others do not” Reuben Metcalfe (@ReubenMetcalfe) Founder of the I Dream of Space initiative, which is taking on the challenge of democratising space travel
  13. 13. “To have the best chance of success an innovation has to have a real world application that can affect many different problems.... Right now I’m starting the baby steps to begin working on the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize.“ - Jack Andraka (@jackandraka) 15-year-old Maryland high school student and inventor of an inexpensive sensor for the rapid and early detection of pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers. Winner of the 2012 International Science Fair, Jack is the youngest ever Advisory Board Member of Frost & Sullivan’s Global Community of Growth, Innovation and Leadership and a Board Member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival.
  14. 14. “The greatest barrier to success for me has been breaking stereotypes. I invented the Pain Free Socket at age 16, so people saw me as a child and didn’t take me as seriously as they would have a medical professional. I’ve spent the past five years convincing the medical world that I have a valid solution to a widespread problem... In my opinion, breaking stereotypes epitomises innovation.” Katherine Bomkamp(@kbomkamp) At the age of 16 Katherine invented a prosthetic device that has the potential to eliminate phantom limb pain in amputees. A two-time Intel International Science and Engineering Fair winner, one of Glamour Magazine’s “Amazing Young Women”, a Popular Mechanics Magazine Breakthrough Award winner and the CEO of Katherine Bomkamp International. Katherine is currently a senior at West Virginia University.
  15. 15. “The book is a gallery of bright and brilliant innovation stories in our GDE-Global Digital Economy and Me- conomics!” - Leif Edvinsson, World's First Professor on Intellectual Capital; Brain of the Year 1998 for pioneering Intellectual Capital Navigation; Open Innovation Luminary Awardee 2013 “... in the end it boils down to people. Some famous, some not. Some whose efforts shift the world, some whose seismic impacts are on the micro scale. What unites them is the gift to see round corners and press on when more rational (ahem) persons hold back. Here are sharply-focused interviews with these doers and some keen observers. I've read them to my profit, and so will you.”- Nigel Cameron Strategic Adviser, President of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies (C-PET) in Washington, DC, and a Principal of C-PET Futures Platform "Kim Chandler McDonald offers fresh (and brash) voices of unexpected innovators who will delight and inspire people everywhere to find their own creative spark in a "me-conomy" of new possibilities." - Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School Professor and bestselling author of Confidence and SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good
  16. 16. www.innovationinterviews.com bookinfo@kimmic.com All quotes courtesy of !nnovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World Copyright Kim Chandler McDonald 2013 - All Rights Reserved

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