“150 innovation leaders from both start-ups and multinationals - this is how we create the Swedish jobs of tomorrow”, tweeted magnusswede, one of the participants of Innovation in Action 2011.
Innovation Pioneers’ annual conference was an interactive and hands-on experience where cutting edge thinking met high-level inspiration. The two days conference at Arlanda Conference & Business Center was filled with exciting activities and workshops organized by companies such as Electrolux, SCA, Microsoft, Logica, Googol, AstraZeneca and Alfa Laval.
“You could hear cheers and applause from all rooms and people coming out of the rooms full of new ideas, already on the move to act on them”, wrote Johan Gentzell from Microsoft in his blog.
Sustainability and Innovation was on top of people minds when it came to defining the most important topics in innovation right now. That was discovered from a 90 second crowd sourcing exercise were all the participants wrote their answer on post-it notes, and then word-cloud technology was applied to find out the crowds’ most frequent answers. On the question, “what is the most important topic of innovation in the future”, the answer was also Sustainability and Innovation.
“As we move forward to the future it's important to remember that we're people, NOT consumers. Taken from #ikea #workshop #ipio”, tweeted Per Brickstad. Bo Olsson from AstraZeneca was also talking about people in his speech. “All innovation starts with a challenge that engage people, and that lets the people come up with the ideas”.
The setting at the conference was informal and radiated a family like feeling that made everyone comfortable in sharing both their failures and successes. Dariush Ghatan, founding initiator of Innovation Pioneers and founding partner at Googol, set the tone in his introduction talk, encouraging everyone to make mistakes. “Failure is a part of the process. So go out there and make mistakes,” said Dariush Ghatan. Sara Modig from the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise talked about Sweden’s new innovation strategy and how we needed a broader perspective on what innovation was. It is not only technology – or service innovations, but also developing excellent offers. The number of post-it notes consumed and business cards that changed hands increased exponentially over the course of the event. So did the number of tweets: “Still filled with energy after yesterday’s innovation day at #Arlanda. #ipio”, tweeted by HumairaHussain after the conference.
There were several parallel activities going on and everyone chose to participate in the activities that they found the most interesting. IKEA organized an open challenge where the participants brainstormed ideas that could improve the lives of people with limited resources on a large scale. AstraZeneca talked about "Inspire to enhance innovation capability" and used a board game-like mat to make the workshop interactive.
“Build your innovation process with Collaboration, Creativity, Courage and Culture #ipio”, tweeted by matkar during the AstraZeneca workshop. Microsoft and Logicas workshop about social media and innovation interested a lot of the participants and ran full house both sessions. “The human need to connect and the human need to share”. That’s two reasons why social media is so popular, according to Johan Gentzell from Microsoft.
The way the conference was organized was innovative itself. Picture this scene: People sitting in the corridor speed dating with customers using video conference and the illustrator Karin Grönberg making graphical recordings – an innovative way of document a meeting by colorful illustrations and keywords. At the same time in another room, SCA and Chalmers were giving the participants in their workshop an exercise in innovating business models and by the main stage the crew of Innovation Pioneers prepared for the closing speeches by organizing post-it notes and preparing for a live Skype call.
The conference ended with a speech from Johan Ernst Nilsson, a Swedish explorer, reporting live from the field in Honduras. He was in the middle of an expedition travelling from pole to pole using only renewable power. He had biked all the way from Canada, after getting there from the North Pole on ski’s, dog sleight and on a sailboat. He told his story to the audience and encouraged everyone to find their own personal Mount Everests to climb. “You can prove that the impossible is possible by thinking different,” said Johan Ernst Nilsson.
Article by Lisa Renander, Co-founder & CEO, Go Enterprise AB
Activity: Innovation In Action
Date: 19th - 20th of October 2011
Place: Sky City Conference at Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Profile of participants: Innovation practitioners
Hosted by: Innovation Pioneers
Partners of IIA 2011: Swedavia, Microsoft, Logica, Vinnova, Maxibit, Bergenstråhle & Lindvall, SISP and Baker & McKinzie.
The initiating companies of Innovation Pioneers:
Astra Zeneca, Alfa Laval, Electrolux, Volvo IT, Atria,The Absolut Company (Pernod Ricard), Ergonomidesign, Ericsson, Googol, Hjälpmedelsinstitutet, IKEA, Innventia, SCA, Stora Enso, Tetra Pak and Uponor.