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Putting People First

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May 2006
1 May 2006

Innovation and creativity workshops at Davos World Economic Forum

Davos CEO workshops
Somewhat belatedly, I discovered John Thornhill’s summaries (published in the Financial Times) of the CEO workshops at January’s Davos World Economic Forum.

Building a culture of innovation
“The participants in this workshop [were] asked to apply design thinking to a practical problem: design a new company that encourages collaborative and creative thinking and makes its teams work well.” They were also “given a methodology to go about their task. First, they must come up with ideas (Inspiration). Second, they must think of ways of making these ideas tangible (Ideation – a term surely invented by Martin Lukes). Third, they must think of ways of turning these ideas into practice (Experimentation).”

Who’s choosing whom?
“The theme of the first Saturday morning workshop is: what makes people happy? This might seem like an insensitive topic for chief executives to consider as they nurse their heads after a night of partying. But, according to Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at Toronto University, it is a vital question to ask if you want to attract and retain the best talent, […] the 150m members of the world’s “creative class” – as the author Richard Florida described them.”

Nurturing a culture of creativity
“The object of the exercise was for self-forming teams of three to go round the room collecting intellectual “seashells” from all the material pasted on the walls [from the previous workshops]. The teams had to choose three ideas that appealed to them and which they believed would become the new best practices of tomorrow. Inspired by these ideas, they had to create an imaginary company and pitch it to potential investors. Truth be told, all the ideas were hyper ventilated. But the freewheeling discussion that followed raised some thought provoking questions about how to nurture a culture of creativity.”

(via The World Economic Forum’s WorkSpace website and Niti Bahn’s Core77 Design Directory newsletter)