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Creativity and Innovation Management Conference

| On 28, Oct 2007

Praveen Gupta

DePaul University’s Center for Creativity and Innovation held its first annual conference on October 26, 2007. The conference had Matthew Wise, CEO of Q Interactive, Tom Stat, Associate Partner at IDEO, and many other speakers on topics ranging from harnessing innovation, excellence in idea management, managing innovation, innovation in healthcare, innovation mindset, innovation work culture, and applied creativity. I thought it was a well organized, compact and powerful conference. Prof. Lisa Gundry, Director and Laurel Ofstein, Assistant Director of The Center for Creativity and Innovation welcomed participants to the conference.

Matt Wise, the keynote speaker suggested that everyone must find the right structure to create perfect mess. Trying to perfect a solution or getting carried away with the process can strangle innovation. His explanation of the team’s role in promoting innovation was interesting. Accordingly, “Team creates an opportunity for individuals to pile on ideas and innovate. Team must inspire individuals to innovate.” Eventually, individuals drive economy, drive innovation. Thus corporations must create an environment for individuals to do great. Matt’s company, Q Interactive, has several non-financial awards for innovation such as Cheers for Peers, or Q Rock, a large Styrofoam rock that is passed around among employees for their innovation.

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Matt Wise, CEO, Q Interactive

 Tom Stat from IDEO gave examples of how so many companies miss opportunities for innovation. For example IBM missed Microsoft, Blockbuster missed Netflix, UPS missed FedEx, Barnes and Noble missed Amazon, Sony missed iPod, and Maxwell Coffee House missed Starbucks. One of the key points was that nobody was demanding Starbucks’ coffee, or Apple’s iPod. These innovations created the demand. He highlighted seven habits of highly effective people:


  1. Embrace diversity

  2. Celebrate failures

  3. Suspend thinking

  4. Cherish ignorance

  5. Defer solutions

  6. Lose your way

  7. Fuel the passion 

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Tom Stat, Associate Partner, IDEO

It was interesting to note that how Matt and Tom differed in their approaches. Matt promoted concepts of individuals innovating big things, while Tom recommended teams focusing on developing the next big thing. Tom mentioned that at IDEO teams work on one project at a time. Good to hear both perspectives!

What is your take on individual or team for innovation?