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by Steve Todd | June 23, 2010


On June 8th and 9th some of theworld’s leading experts on innovation gathered at the Nokia Theater in New YorkCity for the 2010 World Innovation Forum (Twitter hashtag #WIF10).

The list of speakers was impressive, and WIF10 blogger StuMiniman wrote anexcellent post summarizing the speakers and their backgrounds.

I also attended the conference (as a blogger) and wroteabout my motivations for attending in an introductoryblog post. My hope was to hear some of the latest trends andtechniques for innovation at large corporations.

For those of you interested in pursuing a career ininnovation, I’ve created the following list of advice, with links to thespeakers included. Keep in mind that my definition of innovation is “innovation= idea + implementation”, with a strong emphasis on the implementation piece (howto build and deliver new ideas).

Here is a summary of the career advice presented at theconference:

    • Innovation is not limitedto engineers. Bringing great ideas to market can best happen when every personin the process becomes a designer. Whether your job is engineering, customersupport, testing, or marketing, every stage of the process requires peopleusing strong design skills. This advice was given by one of the top technologydesigners in the world: RobertBrunner.
    • When it comes to findinginnovative jobs, the place to go looking is for corporations that are producinggreen (or sustainable) products and services. Corporations are looking forindividuals that can generate (and deliver) energy-saving andenvironmentally-friendly ideas. JoelMakower highlighted several such corporations in his talk,including Coke, Waste Management, and UPS.
    • UrsulaBurns of Xerox related that employees who know how to “dream withcustomers” are highly valued. Thebest source of ideas is often birthed through conversations with customersabout their needs.
    • The most valued employeesof the current decade will be artisans, and the most successful companies ofthe current decade will be the businesses that allow their employees thefreedom to innovate. SethGodin encouraged employees to take risks in their job by morphingtheir work habits to be more artistic: give gifts, do work that matters, andmake a difference.
    • One of the more criticalinnovation skills for an employee is the ability to be a change agent. ChipHeath described the psychology of change and presented some stepsfor introducing change into an organization.
    • One of the final pieces ofadvice for an employee was given by AndreasWeigend. Andreas claimed that the most successful businesses willbe those companies that know how to leverage communities of people (and thedata that they create). It is critical for employees to involve themselves insocial media and social media data mining.


    • Health care and education were also discussed as criticalareas needing continued innovation focus (excellent career opportunities). Formore information on these areas, refer to MichaelHowe’s discussion of the rise of MinuteClinic, and WendyKopp’s presentation on Teach for America.

Twitter: @SteveTodd
EMC Intrapreneur

Extra Insight: Checkout Vault's coverage from the World Innovation Forum


Filed Under: Technology

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