Creative Genius : Interview with Peter Fisk

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Interview with author of the new book on creativity, design and innovation

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Creative Genius : Interview with Peter Fisk

  1. 1. “Creative Genius” by Peter FiskInterview with the authorWhat was the background to you writing Creative Genius?I was astounded by Leonardo da Vinci. From sculpture to geometry, anatomy tomechanics, he embraced the border crossing principles of the Italian Renaissance totransform art and science.400 years before Newton, 200 years before Corpernicus, from helicopters andsubmarines, he saw things differently – placing context above subject, recognising thepower of paradox and parallels, embracing fusion and design. He was a man truly aheadof his time, and with the help of art historian Michael Gelb, I explore the “seven secrets”of da Vinci which are most relevant to business today.We live in what you might call a “VUCA” world – volatile, uncertain, complex andambiguous. Nothing is certain any more. And the strategies, products and businessmodels which have made our businesses great are by no means passports to futuresuccess. We need to think more openly, more discontinuously.But it depends on how you see things … VUCA can also mean vibrant, unreal, crazy andastounding … welcome to a physical and virtual hybrid, where power has fundamentallyshifted, geography is irrelevant, as are most of the other rules of the industrial age. Thisis a world full of technicolour opportunities ready to be exploited by those with sufficientboldness and imagination.Today’s winning companies think differently. They have bigger ambitions, moreinnovative strategies, and take bolder actions. From Apple to Zappos, Air Asia to VirginGalactic, they have embraced a more innovative approach to every aspect of theirbusinesses.The best companies see things differently, and think different things.  These companies understand the wider impact they can have, on customers and society more generally … how they can enable people to do more, and ultimately make life better.  They recognise that competitive advantage is about being different, not just through stronger brands and better products, but by understanding the future better than others.  They value ideas and innovation as the essence of business … shaping markets in their own vision, rather than living in the shadow of others.For me, innovation is my first love, and so the book I have always wanted to write. Fromnuclear physics to managing the Concorde brand, I have had a yin-yang businesscareer, working with some of the world’s biggest and most entrepreneurial businesses.Each experience offers something new, and it is the fusion of these insights and ideaswhich is most inspiring.Creative Genius is the fourth “genius” book that I have written – a series which I hopepeople find more inspiring than your average business book … Stretching andchallenging for organisations and individually, alongside brilliant stories from www.theGeniusWorks.com
  2. 2. businesses around the world, and practical tools and processes to make new ideashappen. This for me, is the last and best of my “genius” books.Business Genius challenged business leaders to lead with their heads up in a changingworld, making sense of change, and inspiring their people to think differently; CustomerGenius urges them to work from the outside in, fundamentally on customer’s terms;Marketing Genius explored the left- and right-brain challenge of competitive andcommercial success. Each book has around 50 case studies, and around as manypractical tools.You can find a more detailed summary, key principles, case studies and toolkits for eachof the books from my website www.theGeniusWorks.comWho should read it, and why?Creative Genius sets out to be “the essential innovation for business leaders, bordercrossers and game changers”. It’s for people who want to do more – to take theirbusiness to a new level, to develop ideas beyond our current imagination, and to makethings happen, that have never been done before.Big ambitions, I know … But why else do we lead a business, embark on new projects, orstudy to improve ourselves?The book is intellectually stretching and stimulating – it doesn’t try to be too academic ortechnical, but it does explore the most detailed approaches – the creative journeys ofJobs to iPad and Branson to space travel, the intriguing principles of Christensen’sdisruption and Maeda’s simplicity, juxtaposed with the disciplined processes from NASAto 3M, and the rigorous demands of venture capitalists and stock markets.Creative Genius is for  Leaders who seek a new perspective, have bolder ambitions, and want to create step-changes in their business performance.  Managers who want to drive innovation in every aspect of what they do, to embrace creativity, design and accelerate ideas to market.  Entrepreneurs who seek inspiration and direction, into a how the business world is not just about money, but a fantastically exciting voyage of discovery.What surprised you the most when researching it?Whilst innovation is so often called the lifeblood of organisations, the top priority whentalking to investors, the rallying call of leaders … then inside the vast majority oforganisations it goes little beyond the brainstorm. What amazed me of many of thecompanies I visited was the lack of disciplined innovation strategy, process and co-ordination. Too often it is still seen as focused only on products, a subordinate activity ofmarketing, a nice to have.People are confused between creativity, and design, and innovation. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  3. 3. What surprised me even more is the speed of change in the outside world. Whilst Cokeis tinkering with its flavours, Microsoft preparing for its next release, even Apple on itsrelentless gravy-train of fantastic devices, the world is moving even faster.Small companies understand the scale and direction of the changing world better thanlarge companies, particularly in the emerging markets of Asia and South America wherenetworks and technologies enable the tiniest business, with the brightest brains, to out-think and out-manoeuvre the lumbering supertanker of the last century who are caughtbetween old and new markets, legacy capabilities and future opportunities.But perhaps the biggest surprise was how much business can learn from other places.Lady Gaga might seem a youthful irrelevance to many business leaders – but considerhow she came from nowhere to global dominance in 24 months. On the very week thatLehman Brothers crashed amidst financial crisis, Stefani Gremanotta, and her mentorAkon, were launching The Fame Monster. Bold and provocative, maybe even mindbending, she harnessed the world of social media and digital downloads to make herselfa global superstar. What could your business learn from her?Add many others to this. What could you learn from Damian Hirst about contextualpricing? How can you resolve a paradox like rocket man Burt Rutan? And when sciencesays no, like it did to Zaha Hadid when designing the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, howcan you overcome the challenge? What is the secret of fusion according to Paul Smith?And when it comes to social impact, look east to the fabulous business model of AravindEye Care, or west to the social renaissance inspired by the Guggenheim.These are just some of the more inspiring stories I came across.You say, “Reductionism, incrementalism and efficiency: the enemies of effectiveinnovation in business today”. Can you expand on this for us?Markets are changing at such incredible pace, with fundamental shifts in culture andtechnology, attitudes and expectations. Consumers are in control, and it’s not how bigyou are, but who has the best ideas. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  4. 4. From west to east, big to small, business to consumer … the hot fashions are in BuenosAires, the best green tech is in Shanghai, the top web designers in Mumbai, and the mostventure capital in Shenzhen.Are you focused on the big opportunities? Over the next 5 years, female consumers willgrow faster than China … by 2020 there will be 50 billion devices, creating an intelligentcloud accessible to everyone anytime. By 2025, the economies of the E7 will be biggerthan the G7, renting will replace buying, water will be the new gold … and on …Too often, we have our heads down in our spread sheets – trying to optimise what we do,reducing the costs, improving the margins, enhancing the product or service levels.Doing things right, but are we doing the right things? As a scientist I appreciate the questfor optimisation … the precision of segmentation, the productivity of supply chains,balancing portfolios and scorecards, budgets and service levels, net promoter scoresand stock prices.Working harder rather than working smarter. Extending life rather than creating new.Imitating others rather than thinking different … We have become too left-brained forour own good – analytical, logical, reductionist. We need to reengage our right brainstoo – intuitive, holistic and exploratory.Why should we “embrace paradox”?Paradoxes throw up some of the best opportunities for innovation. They emerge whensomething currently seems contradictory, incompatible, not possible.  Nintendo Wii resolved the paradox of playing computer games (geeky, unhealthy, antisocial) and being good for you (socialising, healthy, sporty).  Swatch resolved the paradox of having a cool, high-quality, designer watch, but still be so affordable that you can buy a new one every year.  Tesla is resolving the paradox of how to have an environmentally friendly, electric or hybrid car, but still have the speed and styling of a Ferrari.Setting out to resolve a paradox requires new thinking, to challenge the conventions thatled to its inherent conflict, and to explore how a positive combination of two oppositescould be valuable.What, for you, are the five factors that will define the future of businesses?Success in the 20th century was characterised by size and scale, in the 21st century it isdefined by ideas and impact. The five factors that will define the future of business are 1. Ideas. The new currency of success – individual and collective imagination is determined by how well a business seeks and stimulates them from many different sources, including customers and partners, how well a business connects them together into richer concepts, and then is able to turn them into distinctive realities that are practical and profitable. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  5. 5. 2. Purpose. In a world of infinite possibilities, any business can do anything. Capabilities can easily be sourced, and any audience reached. Therefore rather than being defined by what you do, a business needs a better sense of being – a more inspiring purpose. Beyond the pursuit of profits, what is the distinctive way in which the business seeks to make life better? 3. Networks. The ability to connect markets with infinite reach, to connect people with people rather than just with companies, enabling collaboration like never before - enabling audience and content, interaction and involvement. The most authentic content is user-generated, the best marketing is word of mouth – digital and physical, low cost and more trust, fast and global. 4. Enablement. Brands are not about what business does, but what customers aspire to achieve. Products and service are not about sales transactions, but about what they enable the customer to do, which they were never able to do before. Build your own house, design your own website, run faster, enjoy life more. It’s all about enabling people to do more. 5. Innovation. Relentless, significant, and holistic. The ability to continually renew itself will be the ability of a future business – to anticipate and respond to accelerating change, to embrace new technologies and behaviours, to collaborate with partners and customers, and to balance development with delivery, ideas with impact, purpose with profit.Can you define your concepts of „future back‟ and „now forward‟?Start with the impossible than work out how to make it possible. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  6. 6. “Future back” is about leaping into the future, to imagine more clearly what it might belike, without the prejudices and limitations of today, and then work backwards to connectit to the present world.“Now forward” is about taking decisions, investments and innovative actions that areguided by a better view of their implications and what will happen next, and innovateless restricted by what we currently know, think and do.This was the real genius of da Vinci, but can equally be seen in the bagless vacuumcleaner of James Dyson, the Virgin Galactic space ship designs of Burt Rutan, or theelectric charging networks of Better Place. Dyson was relentless in his experimentingand prototyping until he broke all the rules of his market. Rutan played with paperaeroplanes to perfect his idea of a mothership launch pad, whilst Shai Agassi has a visionwhere electric cars will be the norm, and the person who runs the charging network willdominate the market … the iTunes of the car industry, and more, in the making.You quote an interesting statistic in the book, “3M estimates that it needs around3000 clearly specified ideas, from which emerge around 300 prototypes, fromwhich they get 30 strong concepts, which are eventually whittled down to threemarket entries, in order to get one successful innovation”. Why do so many ideasfail?Many ideas fail because 1. They are not relevant – they are driven by technological possibility, rather than potential consumer demand, they are designed by scientifically rather than ergonomically, they are focused on their function not their differentiation, on the product not what it enables. Innovation starts with the customer, not always what they need or can even articulate, but with a clearly defined way in which they will add practical, relevant value to people’s lives. 2. They were not big enough – ideas need to be big enough to withstand the inevitable practical and commercial filters put on them, to outweigh the risks and uncertainties which they inevitably bring, and to stand out from the crowd and support and price premium. Bigger ideas emerge from the fusion of smaller ideas, so the real story is not always about eliminating the ideas, but about connecting them like molecules to create something better and stronger. 3. Market entry is seen as the end point – all the brain power and resources goes into getting the new idea to market, to launching it. But that is just the starting point. More important to the success is how it penetrates the market, moves from early adopters to mainstream, how people use it rather than just buy it, what they say together and how reputation spreads. Sustaining an innovation in its first year is perhaps the most important, and most neglected phase. 4. Creating a profitable business model – most creative effort still goes into the product, less into the service, even less into the channel and broader customer experience, and hardly any thinking goes into the business model. The old make and sell model is increasingly irrelevant. Leasing, subscription, replacement are www.theGeniusWorks.com
  7. 7. all increasingly popular models – why buy a car when there is Zipcars, why buy a magazine when I can subscribe online, and so on. There is an inverse relationship between the types of innovation, and the impact they can have.But having said all that, 3M has a good, disciplined innovation process. Imagine if youhad a less good one – even more failures. The reality is that you need an awful lot ofideas in order to find success. James Dyson had well over 5000 prototypes before findingthe right solution.Most people just don’t spend enough time generating enough ideas – a quick brainstormwith 20 random ideas in 30 minutes is certainly not enough. A one-day team workshop isnot enough either. The ideas are just starting to flow when everyone goes home.Innovation is serious business. It needs real effort, hard work, time, and lots and lots ofideas, together with a disciplined process to make them happen.What are the „opening up and closing down‟ processes?“Opening up” is the creative process of generating as many ideas as possible.The phase inevitably, and quite acceptably, starts with a bit of fuzziness. This is becausethe first creative challenge is to define the question – the problem or opportunity to beaddressed. Whilst a leader, or sponsor, might state it upfront, it is often what sits behindthat is more interesting. Therefore spending a bit of time exploring, shaping, evenredefining the question is good.Once we have a clear starting point, then it’s about opening up as far as possible on this.A wide range of creative techniques exist to explore the obvious possibilities, and thenthe less obvious ones. A quick brainstorm is certainly not enough. The challenge is to bedivergent. Learn from the margins not the mainstream, from parallel markets that havesimilar situations, from nature, or sport, or the arts. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  8. 8. “Closing down” is when we start focusing in on the best ideas. This is achieved in twoprinciple ways – by fusing together ideas into stronger concepts, and through filteringthese concepts. A range of different evaluation filters should be used to find the strongestideas, but care should be taken to ensure that old-mindset filters don’t block out newpossibilitiesFor example, a concept might never be a big revenue driver, but maybe given away freeand with the support of a business model based around advertising, it could be verysuccessful - online gaming for example, refillable cartridges, or razor blades.Innovation is about making ideas happen profitably, creative and commercial, and istherefore an opening up and closing down process.What are the “three levels of innovation intensity”?The intensity of innovation relates to how ambitious it is - how much time and resource,cost and risk it embraces – and how greater impact we seek in the market and bottomline as a result. There are three levels of innovation intensity  Incremental: innovation as improvement, keeping pace with change and expectation, adapting designs and applications to evolving needs. In the car market we see a new version of the same car emerging frequently, maybe with slightly enhanced features.  Next generation: innovation as change, moving ahead of the competition to define a new level of performance, tapping into emerging needs and exceeding expectations. In the car market, this is a significantly new model, launched every few years, with a new brand name.  Breakthrough: innovation as revolution, changing the rules of the market, challenging the behaviours of customers, maybe redefining the market altogether – “game-changing”. In the car market, this is the SUV or the hybrid engine, creating a new genre, a new category.You need all of these innovations – a balanced portfolio of innovation projects at eachlevel being developed simultaneously. Incremental innovations keep you in the market,little noticed and quickly imitated. Next generations get you ahead for a short-time,maybe opening up a new revenue stream. Breakthroughs are what make you famous,shaping your markets. They inspire customers, attract investors, and deliver leaps invalue creation.What is the „Genius Lab‟?When I work with organisations today, I focus on facilitating and accelerating theirinnovation process We use a process of three intensive two-day workshops. During eachworkshop, with a cross-functional team of their most interesting people and someoutsiders too, we focus on what matters, what’s possible, and what extra-ordinary (yes,anything but ordinary) things they can do, in extra-ordinary ways. We capture theinsights and ideas, decisions and plans in words and pictures, photos and movies,leaving the teams to do their specific tasks, before we meet again. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  9. 9. The ideas factory The design Studio The impact zoneThe three phases of “The Genius Lab” defines the majority of the Creative Genius book –the Ideas Factory, the Design Studio and the Impact Zone. An apparently simple process,but with much underneath – taking ideas from the future back, as well as the inside outand outside in, using left- and right-brain approaches, creativity and innovation, in orderto make the best ideas happen “now forward” and to deliver extraordinary results.  Phase 1: The Ideas Factory This is about insights and ideas – from the future, in partnerships with customers and experts, and our own imagination – from which we develop understanding and inspiration, direction and hypothesises. We explore the possibilities, based on future scenarios, customer immersion, parallel worlds, emerging trends and creative ideas. Insights emerge out of the collation of knowledge from different perspectives - “flashes of inspiration” or “penetrating discoveries” – which are then fused with creative thinking. Insights are much more than information, and create new platforms from which to generate stronger ideas. Ideas are much more than actions, but concepts for making life better. By understanding the problem or opportunity better, we have more chance of creating successful solutions. By focusing on real insights, we develop better ideas that are distinctive and powerful.  Phase 2: The Design Studio This is about creativity and design – shaping the best ideas into more concepts that are compelling, practical and profitable – articulating, testing and evaluating each of the best concepts. We work at the best ideas and hypothesises – reframing the context in which they are positioned, fusing ideas together into richer molecular structures, considering the function and form of these bigger ideas, enhancing their practical usability and aesthetic appeal. Concepts work beyond products and services - they emerge as propositions, solutions and experiences, perhaps requiring new business and market models. It is then about evaluating each of the best concepts for their value potential for customers and business, how they will make people’s lives better, and how we can make them happen distinctively and profitably.  Phase 3: The Impact Zone www.theGeniusWorks.com
  10. 10. This is about development and commercialisation – making the ideas happen, launching them into the right markets, making them contagious and sticky, and ensuring they deliver sustained results. We creatively focus on the opportunities that will deliver the most return, the best markets, customers, and solutions. Don’t try to do everything for everyone, do things which are significantly different and better. And we don’t stop at market entry - that is the starting point for bringing ideas to life, changing people’s attitudes, encouraging new behaviours. Delivering sustained results is about finding space in the market that you can make your own, defend and grow. That is achieved by telling your story, in ways that are compelling and contagious, and shaping markets in your own mind rather than being a slave to somebody else’s vision, stretching and evolving ideas so that can have even more impact, and stay a step or two ahead.You explore eight „worldviews‟ to give us new perspectives on age-old problemsand opportunities. What are they, and how can we apply them?Innovation requires new perspectives - finding new insights, better ideas and the bestopportunities. Whilst the future offers most stretch forwards, there are many otherperspectives, or worldviews, worth considering – separately and then collectivelyconsidering the viewpoints of customers, business, competitors, parallel markets,technology, responsibility, finance and the future.The eight “worldviews” to help us see problems and opportunities in broader, richerand new perspectives are  Future world – exploring future scenarios based on emerging trends, pattern recognition and random possibilities that might be driven from science or sci-fi.  Customer world – exploring the needs and wants of diverse individuals, their experience of you and your competitors, their frustrations and aspirations, trust and loyalty.  Business world – exploring the drivers of business performance, key issues and opportunities, assets and capabilities, assumptions and employee ideas.  Competitor world – exploring the strengths and weaknesses, postures and differences, strategies and potential actions of direct and indirect competitors.  Parallel world – exploring how companies in different markets address, or have addressed similar issues; who won and who lost, and what did they do; and even extreme situations.  Technological world – exploring the emerging fields such as networking technologies, computing, mobile technologies, artificial intelligence, biotech and nanotech.  Responsible world – exploring the increasingly vital issues of environment, ethical practices, fair trading, human rights, local communities, well-being and transparency. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  11. 11.  Commercial world – exploring the consequences of changing price, costs, profits, market share and the wider implications of changing regulation, governance and competition.These perspectives provide a wealth of discontinuous and complementary insights.They can also be fused with existing knowledge – customer behaviour, market research,employee surveys, boardroom thinking, business performance, industry reports,technological insights, analyst reports, and catalytic thinkers.What is „getting out there‟, and why is it important for the innovation process?“Getting out there” means rolling up your sleeves and spending time in the market,watching and talking with real people to understand the issues and opportunities in moredetail. It might include  Customer immersion – spending time (a day, a week, even longer) with real customers, and non-customers, not just asking them what they think of you, or want – but observing how they live and work, talking about their motives and influences, understanding their issues and aspirations. This is much more insightful than superficial average-seeking market research.  Business partners – likewise spending time with suppliers, distributors, existing and potential product and service partners who currently or could serve the same customers.  Specialist experts – likewise learning from academics, technologists, extreme users and others  Parallel markets – likewise learning from companies in other markets, geographies or sectors, which have similar issues or been through the same change. Banks learning from retailers, telecoms learning from energy. Ask to meet with you peers in non-competitive companies from these other markets, to learn what happened, and how to succeed.  Marginal markets – likewise learning from related markets where people have been more deviant, for example they have improvised because of lack of resources, or they are adopters of more advanced or deviant behaviours – m-Pesa in Africa, skateboarders in inner cities, fashion from junk shops.  Random inspiration – sometimes just do something a little less normal. Get the perspective of somebody completely different, read a magazine you’ve never read before.You talk of the hidden patterns that are all around us, and of blinkered, reactionarythinking, that blinds people to subtle shifts in the zeitgeist. Can we train our mindsto be more open and recognize these patterns and trends?In simple terms, it’s about spending more time with our heads up, rather than headsdown. More time out there in the world where customers live, rather than inside ourbusiness. Think about what you watch on TV, where you shop, what you read. And bemore observant, more curious.I am intensely curious. Yes, I can travel to places all around the world, talk to an eclecticrange of people, and wonder the towns and cities with eyes open. But it can also be close www.theGeniusWorks.com
  12. 12. to home. Watch the Simpsons or Al Jazeera news, read New Scientist or a range of onlineblogs, download some TED Talks or some interesting looking apps.Jeff Bezos, Ratan Tata, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson … they all say that their secret is to beintensely curious. They deliberately take themselves out of their normal spaces, to meetnew people, to be inspired by new environments. They take a notebook everywherethey go, they draw pictures rather than write words, they talk and think, and try to makesense of change.More tangibly, a range of future scoping and pattern recognition tools helps to makesense of weak and strong signals – bringing together all the little behaviours and fads tointerpret fashions, and likewise looking at the broader direction of fashions tounderstand trends.A whole industry exists on trying to decode such patterns – from the Institute for theFuture, to Trendwatching, Now and Next to The Future Exploration Network. Of course,the challenge is not just to observe a whole range of behaviours, adding fun names, butto find real insight, implications and opportunities.How can scenario planning support managers?Scenario planning is built on systems thinking, the recognition that many factors maycombine in complex ways to create surprising futures due to the non-linear “feedbackloops” of causes and effects. Rather than just simulating futures based on today’s factors,scenarios can also embrace new factors – new technologies, deep shifts in social values,new regulation or disruptive innovations. Systems thinking used in conjunction withscenario planning leads to plausible “stories” based on relationships between the manyfactors.The process starts with two types of knowledge - things we believe we know somethingabout, and things we don’t. The first type of knowledge, typically in the form of trends, is www.theGeniusWorks.com
  13. 13. based on projecting the past into the future – demographic shifts, emergingtechnologies. The second type of knowledge, the uncertainties include factors such asinterest rates, fads and fashions, and politics. The art of scenario development is inblending of known and unknown knowledge into a limited number of views of the futurethat together embrace a very wide range of possibilities.The process helps managers to make better decisions  Where are the biggest challenges and opportunities likely to emerge, and what factors will be most important in shaping them?  What are the risks and rewards of seeking a particular direction, how can I mitigate these risks and what other options exist?  Which scenarios do I like best, do I want to make happen, and how can I shape it to my advantage through actions and investments today?I want to take a „deep dive‟ into a „blue ocean‟ – should I pack scuba gear? Do Ineed to be wary of sharks if I go swimming in a „red ocean‟?Yes! Business is full of language that seeks to capture new ideas … but let’s unpack thisone for you, before you start pulling on your swimming gear …  “Blue oceans” are the new or unexploited marketspaces that lie beyond the conventional domains. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne have created a whole industry out of getting companies to look beyond the red oceans, the hyper- competitive battle grounds of today, to find new customer needs and wants. Computer games that allow interaction, wines that are simple to understand. Nice concept, but companies struggle to make it happen without two more ideas …  “Deep diving” is a research approach that immerses yourself (and team of dreamers, decision makers, and doers) into the new spaces, to understand them more deeply – what people really want, why and how. Conventional research is not enough because people cannot rationalise the unrealised. Tesco’s leaders, for example, spent three months living with families in North America to understand the unique family lifestyles, influences and culture, before attempting to open a new range of supermarkets called Fresh n Easy.  “Sharks” are the big companies who want to reach these new waters. But they often need help, from smaller specialist companies who are local or know the uncharted territories better. Rather than the huge time, risk and costs of entering new markets in total, better is to find yourself a “pilot fish”, one of these companies who can do things you can’t, but work with you. Likewise for small businesses, finding your partner shark is a great way to reach places you couldn’t ever get to otherwise. Think about Intel, YKK, Hella, Lycra and more.What is your view on „open innovation‟ and „co-creation‟?Open innovation is a popular theme, every company is talking about it, even more everyacademic. It isn’t that magical, or that difficult – but it can deliver more interesting results– and should be an essential part of any innovation programme. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  14. 14. It is simply about open your mind, and opening your doors, to ideas and capabilitiesfrom other places – from customers, from suppliers, from partners, from academics, fromentrepreneurs. The mental shift is that you don’t know best, and it’s just possible thathaving lived and breathed your market, you might actually be less able to innovatewithin it than somebody who brings new experiences and perspectives. As well ascollaborative creativity and development, it’s also about shared risk and reward.Co-creation is one component of open innovation.Lego Factory is a co-creation facility, physical and online, where consumers work withothers, and the building-block designers to build future products. Ducati’s Tech Cafe iswhere bikers hang out and design the next generation of superbikes. IBM’s InnovationCentres are where clients run facilitated innovation programmes, and Samsung has aVirtual Product Launch Center where you can find the coolest newest devices.Whilst some companies have hi-jacked the “co-creation” word to redefine customerresearch techniques such as focus groups and immersion, others recognise that it is abigger approach, engaging customers as partners in a journey from ideas toimplementation  Co-thinking. Working with customers to understand their needs and wants, but also to develop new ideas and possibilities, using collaborative creativity techniques. This is similar to “crowdsourcing”, but more personal. P&G take consumers away to hotels for weekends, or go to their kitchens, to explore better ways to do washing or cleaning.  Co-designing. Problem-solving together, by better defining the issues and potential solutions, maybe encouraging people to submit new designs both in terms of the business, and the style of products in the way Threadless rewards the best submitted t-shirt designs, or Jones Soda prints your photos on their bottle labels.  Co-evaluating. Testing ideas with customers, building advance customer networks, getting their feedback for improvement whilst also turning them into lead-user ambassadors. This might involve extreme users, for example Nike working with elite athletes to evaluate new shoes designs, or Gore working on new fabrics with emergency services.  Co-developing. Customers can be as skilled and fanatical as your own technicians in being able to develop better products, or specify better services. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was developed in partnership with customers, Nike ID design studio is at the heart of Niketown, and IKEA “allow” you to find your products in the warehouse, and build them yourself.  Co-communicating. Customers can be your best, and more trusted, advocates. They might write reviews on your website, or on other directory sites such as hotel customers on Tripadvisor. They might even develop user-generated advertising for you, like made possible with Scrmblr, and demonstrated by Converse’s social ads campaigns.  Co-selling. People are much more likely to buy from friends and others like them, rather than some anonymous salesman. “Customer get customer” in return www.theGeniusWorks.com
  15. 15. for a case of wine or iPod is familiar to us all, as is the pyramid selling models championed by Avon and Oriflame, which has even turned some of their most active customers into millionaires.  Co-supporting. When something goes wrong, particularly when trying to use technological devices, you need help and fast. User guides are gobbledegook, so you get online and ask other users for help. Apple have utilised user communities to great effect, ensuring that you get an answer to your question in minutes and in language which you actually understand.Co-creation is a creative process, tapping into a diversity of customer backgrounds andutilising a range of innovation techniques. It also needs to be carefully facilitated as itopens your business to customers in a way they have never seen before, soprofessionalism and reputation still need to be managed. It also helps you buildrelationships that no longer depend on direct mail or loyalty cards.Can you define „Koinonia‟ for us?“Koinonia” is about mutuality, intimacy and participation, and about achieving moretogether.Choosing the right partners for development or distribution gives you the flexibility andreach, capabilities and courage to thrive in fast changing markets. Partners might offersome specialist component to your solution, essential to your success – the high-speed,ever-smaller microprocessor from Intel, for example. Or they might complement whatyou do in some way – such as Rolls Royce engines being an essential part of the Boeingdesign and manufacturing process.Partners might improve your access to the market – such as iPhone working withexclusive network partners such as AT&T and O2 for the first few years after launch. Orthey might make your brand more compelling and relevant to your target audience -such as famous designers working with H&M to improve their designs, but also to hugelyenhance your brand kudos.Few companies can survive, and even fewer thrive, without partners today. Suchpartnerships are rarely formalised as companies, not even joint ventures which theytended to be in the past. Increasing confidence in working with others, means that mostcompanies are now happy to work contractually but not structurally together.Licensing and franchising, brand alliances and affinity brands, endorsement andingredient brands, exclusive distributors and guest designers, these are the new modelsof partnership which we explore and compare in Creative Genius.What is the „hype cycle‟?The “hype cycle” was developed by Gartner to reflect the evolution and adaption ofspecific technologies. Since 1995, it has been used to characterise the typical over-enthusiasm or "hype" and subsequent disappointment that typically happens with theintroduction of new technologies. The real purpose of the cycle, however is to separatethe hype from the technology’s more useful reality. The curves also show how and whentechnologies move beyond the hype, moving from abstract possibilities into relevantinnovations, offering practical benefits and become much more widely accepted. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  16. 16. In Creative Genius explore the five phases to Gartner’s hype cycle: 1. Technology trigger - the first phase after technological breakthrough, product launch or other events that generates significant press and interest. 2. Peak of inflated expectations - a frenzy of publicity typically generates over- enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations, perhaps with a few successful applications. 3. Trough of disillusionment - technologies lose their shine, they fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable, and the press usually abandon them. 4. Slope of enlightenment- whilst the hype has blown over, some businesses continue to explore the technology, to understand the benefits and practical applications. 5. Plateau of productivity – the technology becomes robust and accepted, evolving into second and third generations, the height depending on whether it has broad or niche application.Your book contains many examples of hand-drawn-style diagrams that describeprocesses and concepts. Do you advocate a move away from PowerPoint decks andwritten reports?Yes please!Every business case at P&G must be express on one page. Words are not enough. Andtherefore posters become the new media to convey ideas – visions, diagrams, mindmaps, flow charts, business models and more.We talked about blinkered, “heads down” thinking, about being unable to escape theconventions of today, and death by incrementalism … long written reports, andmonotonous bullet pointed slides are symptoms of this world.Forget flipcharts and use Lego for a creative break. Get people to build models thatreflect the problem they are trying to solve, or the idea they want to express. The modelswill be bad, and funny. But that lightens the spirit and loosens people up. It’s what theysay, and how it helps the team think, that matters more.Time to express yourself, your ideas, your passions, your creativity … think carefullyabout the words and images you use, because they matter. But most of all, focus on theidea and how you can shape it, own it and make it happen.“And finally” as Steve Jobs loves to say, any last thoughts?I love this book. I loved researching, writing and rereading every page of it.There are hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs and innovators out there, each with agreat story, and something we can learn from them.From disruption and provocation of Lady Gaga to the user-generated T-shirts ofThreadless, From Skype’s Niklas Zennstrom, to China’s firework artist Caio Gio-Qiang, Iloved bringing together 50 great stories to inspire you. www.theGeniusWorks.com
  17. 17. But more than anything, my inspiration came from a man truly ahead of his time. Intoday’s ambiguous yet awesome world, we can learn much from the 7 secrets of thecreator of the Mona Lisa and the Vitruvian Man.I hope that Creative Genius inspires you to think differently, to use your imagination withmore confidence - to shape your future, and start making it happen - to deliver betterideas, faster innovations and extraordinary impact.Will you be the Leonardo da Vinci of our times?Be bold. Be brave. Be brilliant.Find out morePeter Fisk is a best-selling author and inspirational speaker, an advisor to leadingcompanies large and small, and himself an experienced business leader. He is an experton strategy and innovation, brands and marketing, and has worked with companiesincluding Coca Cola and Microsoft, Red Bull and Virgin.He leads the GeniusWorks, a business dedicated to inspiring business leaders to thinkdifferently, and was also the transforming CEO of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.He was recently described by Business Strategy Review as “one of the best new businessthinkers.”He is the author of five bestselling books, which have been translated into 32 languages.His new book “Creative Genius” describes a process of accelerated innovation, bringingtogether rockstars and rocket scientists, entrepreneurs and designers to understand howto make better ideas happen faster.Find out more at www.theGeniusWorks.comand at www.CreativeGeniusLive.comor email him at peterfisk@peterfisk.com www.theGeniusWorks.com

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