UTSpeaks: Shapeshifters - the New Creatives (Part 2: Jochen Schweitzer)


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Is the global innovation movement challenging us to re-discover the innate creativity in all of us?

Hael Kobayashi, Proffessor Kees Dorst, Doctor Jochen Schweitzer, Doctor Joanne Jackovich -- 6 March 2012

Use the hashtag #utspeaks to further the discussion on Twitter.

UTSpeaks is an annual free public lecture series presented by UTS experts discussing a range of important issues confronting contemporary Australia.

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  • Good evening ladies and gentlemenTonight I’d like to share with you 3 stories and one experiment.
  • Here is the first story This is my friend David. David is a Serial-Entrepreneur from Vancouver.He loves to build companies, come up with new business ideas, find venture capital and work with other people who are equally enthusiastic about that idea. He has an impressive track record of building businesses. Some successful and some not so successful.But this story is not about David’s businesses, its about his attitude towards building them. Our recent dinner conversation was about being an entrepreneur and being an employee. David said that he dreads the moment when he has to start employing people for his ventures. He usually employs a lot of business school graduates because they have the skills to execute a strategy. But what he finds is that they are often lacking is the ability to develop strategy. He sais, employees are for running the business – not for inventing or re-inventing the business. Entrepreneurs like him - who invent businesses – often don’t enjoy running them.Obviously we need both. Entrepreneurs and Employees. And David know that too. But he also realizes that the people he employs have different skill sets and abilities, networks and motivation compared to his own.Now, when I ask my students what their professional plans are, about 70 percent want to get a safe job in some larger corporation, about 10 percent are planning to work in their family business and 10 percent don’t know what to do with their degree. If we are lucky there are 10 percent left that are keen to start their own business.Business school focus too much on producing employees, i.e. people who run businesses. I think we need to grow the number of people who want to be entrepreneurs. We need to encourage young people in our schools, colleges and universities to re-invent, explore and challenge the status quo. We need to develop the professional practices of our graduates so they feel enable to start-up their own businesses. We need to provide students with opportunities to test their ideas
  • My second story is a about developing a professional practiceIt starts with my father. My dad is an engineer - turned salesman – turned business owner. I not only look like him - but like many of us I followed in my fathers footsteps. I became an engineer.
  • My first professional experiences was in the Automobile industry.I worked for companies that build steering systems like these Such front and rear axles are fascinating, high tech, high quality products. They almost never fail throughout the life of a car.In those years I learned a lot about design, extremely high quality standards, and technological possibilities
  • Then I worked for a language school and cultural institute as a program coordinator.I organized the cultural activities for international students.I learned a lot about cultures, providing a service, and dealing with people
  • Then I worked for a company that builds cars. For this car I was involved in planning the machinery and tools that were used to produce the doors.I was helping to get them produced at a reasonable cost and in time.I learned a lot about the the economics of production and that resources are not just machines and designs.
  • Resources are most importantly the humans that make everything run smoothly. That’s when I got interested in the human factor. I moved from car production to management consulting.The management of change in large companies was my bread and butter for 6 years.I learned about peoples motivations, fears, ambitions and the willingness to change.
  • From looking at the human factor as a resource I started to be more interested in understanding humans as customers Or as users of products and services.My interest was in creating strategies for organizations to meet customer needs and user expectations.I was also interested to learn how to surprise people with new and never seen products, services and experiences.I guess that was when I arrived at the creativity and Innovation topic.
  • I now work for a university and I study the role of collaboration, collaborative creativity and leadership for strategic innovation.The types of questions that I am interested in are:What are the necessary skills and behaviors to innovate in dynamic market conditions?What is the role of collaboration and How should collaboration be organized to suit strategic innovation objectives?Now, for a very long time – in fact until very recently – I felt that I have been all over the place with my interests and professional practice.I am sure that many of you feel similar about not yet seeing the common thread that connects all of your professional and non-professional experiences and ambitions. Let me suggest this: Don’t worry about it.It’s good - and in fact essential - to bring a mix of all sorts of professional practices to the table when it comes to innovation. In my experience many organizational innovation efforts are held back by too homogenous groups of people. We need to embrace diversity to enable collaborative creativity.Every experience counts.
  • The third story is about a group of UTS people who went on a trip to Innovationland.We talked to innovation leaders in AustraliaWe went to experience some of the energy of places like Silicon Valley or Berlin and other hothouses for entrepreneurshipWe spend time at Stanford Universities' design school and their sister organization in BerlinAnd we learned about other places like Design Factory at Aalto University,Parsons New School in NYRotman Business School in TorontoAnd many other initiatives that seek to propel innovation in their communities, cities and countries
  • We met with interesting people like David Kelly from IDEOWho gave us good advise on how we could build our own initiative
  • The experiment started with this key to a warehouse space just opposite UTSThe school of Architecture gave us the key and allowed us to use their space for one semester.
  • For the second semester last year we started u.lab. in this warehouse space.The u.lab is our experiment of collaborative innovation.We believe that Innovation occurs between people, not in isolation.We think that how we innovate is the product of opportunistic interactions.
  • So we designed a space that would allow us to bring people together in a playful and open way.At u.lab we seek to expand the capacity of design-thinking into a truly interdisciplinary collaboration between entrepreneurial activity, corporate R&D and academic leadership. We seek radical cross-boundary thinking and doing.Our own backgrounds are in Business, Engineering, Architecture, Design and IT
  • How do we do this? Space is important and from what we had seen we wanted it to feel like a work shed where you can quickly grab a few things and build something.A place that is not pristine but functional.A place where you can easily swap from thinking mode to doing mode and back.
  • We think Innovation is an open process with ambiguous goals and ad-hoc outputs We are inspired by the processes of design thinking but we keep them more in the back of our mind rather than following them rigidly.We encouragedeep understanding that come often from ethnological observation .Culture is important, We seek to create an open, honest culture without fear of sharing thoughts and ideas.
  • We think creative people are curious, humble, lifelong learners Creativity feeds on knowledge – so every experience countsWe look for Different lenses, different patterns which we can only achieve by bringing very different people to the table
  • We encourage failing fast and earlyFast iteration accelerateslearning and makes for better outcomes.
  • We encourage rapid prototyping and testing for quick feedback Why prototyping?It helps developing ideas and common understandingIt helps to define the problem and show hidden issuesPrototyping allows to get early and regular feedback
  • Sharing ideas is key to our approach at u.lab.Sharing with each other Sharing with the customers and users,Sharing with the public
  • This leads me to the last part of my talk.In a recent piece in the SMH Josie Gibson discussed the importance of being innovative for Australian companies.She talks about changing attitude towards risk and embracing opportunities.I like this quote very much because it fits with what Lauri recommended us to do.And also it reflects the journey that we started as a group.Josie Gibson SMH 15.2.2012
  • UTSpeaks: Shapeshifters - the New Creatives (Part 2: Jochen Schweitzer)

    1. 1. UTSpeaks: Shapeshifters – the New Creatives – Part 2Dr. Jochen Schweitzer - 6 March 2012
    2. 2. Jochen Schweitzer
    3. 3. 3 stories1 experiment
    4. 4. David
    5. 5. Without people who invent businesses there is nothing to do for people who run them = Need more opportunities
    6. 6. DadDad
    7. 7. SteeringSystems
    8. 8. CulturalPrograms
    9. 9. Production Planning
    10. 10. Human factorHumanFactor
    11. 11. Human factorCustomers &Users
    12. 12. Strategy &Innovation
    13. 13. A colorful CVis not a bad thing =Need more diversity
    14. 14. Innovationland
    15. 15. Common Language
    16. 16. The practices are herealready, we just need to use them more = Need to use common language
    17. 17. experiment
    18. 18. Space
    19. 19. Process & Culture
    20. 20. People
    21. 21. Iteration
    22. 22. Proto-typing
    23. 23. Sharing
    24. 24. Changing behaviour is a complex, long-term proposition. It is about doing and trying, not just talking.Josie Gibson SMH 15.2.2012