Monday, September 8, 2008

Innovation networks - can they grow across boundaries?

Today something interesting happened: a long held back idea got a chance to get back into the water of thinking!

Years ago while working on a container-tracking-solution and bringing it to potential customers (of course they didn't quite know what to with it as they had used their phones normally for getting the necessary information) I was inspired what benefit such information could bring to the whole system (faster information, resource saving, quality enhancement, transparency, connecting people (solving issues on the underlying processes - as the tracking-tool was used as an commonly understood artefact).

Then a few years past, changed the company, and again the topic with information came up: couldn't be certain interior parts of a product (such as a car) marked with RFID, barcode or similar to be traceable?

Sounds like a great idea - but as you may suspect there is always something in the way: the money:-((

So the thought long-term and lean orientated solution (no looking up in a microfiche, easy traceability for customer service of parts built time, quality management (checking the exact charge of a specific part at the supplier), etc.) sounded great and yet no start to do.

....quite some time passed, the innovation is waiting on hold.

Then at a rainy day south of Brussels, the surprise journey starts off which lead back into the innovation of logistics.

To make the story short, while at a job interview in Belgium (currently I am seeking a new job - innovation in the "broader sense" logistics would be just perfect!) I got an invitation to join the "Arrival of the Penguins" (=new students) at TEAM ACADEMY (for me at least - and I guess quite a few other folks) the most famous university for Team Entrepreneurship up in Finland (by the way, Finland finished best at the PISA Study a few years back - guess why?), became part of the TEAM WIEN at TEAM ACADEMY and I got even invited to co-do a presentation with them in Germany at a conference on innovations in logistics.

Sometime in your lifetime your dreams become true (even after years and various drawbacks) and so while in Finland about two weeks ago I learned about an innovation project SEMPROM, which focuses also on the idea (not yet an innovation;-)) I had a few years ago.

What have I learned and you could perhaps take away:

1. If you have a great idea and everybody tells you that is not doable and crazy you know you are on the right track

2. Keep the idea in your head (present unconsciously!) and find the more general use

3.  Tell the story of your idea when you sense that people get the idea around i

4. Talk to diverse parties in different countries, connect to other innovators or creative people with lots of ideas in their minds - two sparks can ignite a real sustainable fire:-))

5. If it hasn't worked by now get back to No. 2 (in the meanwhile you will get feedback, new insight, new learning, having done a lot of mistakes, reframing the idea in your mind)

6. Innovate! (or die) - that is the slogan of one of the Team Entrepreneur Companies at Team Academy

Good luck in your own journey:-))

What is your story?

Cheers, 

Ralf
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