Making Ideas Happen with Rachel Botsman, Ash Donaldson, Jodie Fox, Seb Chan & Tim Longhurst
On Wednesday night, uncluttered white spaces hosted our 6th quarterly IF talk in Sydney at the Hotel CBD.
Our panel of experts, curated by 6.2 and uncluttered white spaces included author and the illustrious leader of the movement collaborative consumption Rachel Botsman. Human centred design and business expert Ash Donaldson, a late entry, the forward thinking and innovative business founder of Shoes of Prey Jodie Fox. The inspiring mind of Seb Chan, a music loving father and innovation and technology expert from the PowerHouse Museum in Sydney and inspirational futurist Tim Longhurst, an honest, open and inspiring speaker who had the room engrossed in tales of true life experiences on failure, success and the idea that we have all we ever need on our person to effect meaningful change now.
The theme of the night was “Making Ideas Happen” with the goal to discuss the shift from inspiration to action. IF talks are in a forum setting and we urge the audience to engage as often and as often as possible. Historically, this has always been the case, whilst this talk had great audience participation, it certainly was not required, our panel delved deep into topics around behaviours, discipline, true stories of failure and success and detailed discussions around the leadership and skills required to make ideas happen.
The world is now and rightly so obsessed with innovation and we are all very good at falling in love with ideas. But how do we make them happen, all too often people have great ideas and we do not always see them come to life.
In 2010, 6.2 conducted research with 1000 businesses people around this question of making ideas happen. As we know, society is very good at placing people into boxes, in the case of our research, we found that people believed themselves either right-brained or left brained people. Of course organisations and society at large supports this type of thinking. Our research indicated that most organisations have the view that both right and left brained thinking can not co-exist in the one person, that you are either right or left. Of course we disagree.
What we found was that people in marketing, sales and more customer facing roles, or creative roles claimed to be disorganized, over 13% claimed to not even bother with a diary and note taking. Whilst over 40% believed they had good ideas, the companies in which they worked, rarely make them happen.
My view is the real issue lies in how we view ourselves and creating a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. On Wednesday night, Rachel Botsman and the panel aligned to discuss in detail how critical both discipline and organisation are in bringing ideas to life. Interestingly, a lot of entrepreneurs (not all), sales people, designers and ideologists wear the badge of disorganized as almost a sign of honor. There is a fine line between an person who really makes something great, versus a disorganized person who just starts something and battles to keep the idea alive.
The speakers each shared their habits and disciplines, adressing the importance of structure and discipline along with incorporating technology, note taking and developing strict behaviors around capturing ideas when they happen. The main trait that stood out for me was leadership. Each speaker on the night had created something remarkable. History’s made up of great leadership, passionate leaders who are more than conformable with facing fears and risk in the pursuit of what they believe in or want. Our panel are exactly that, great leaders who understand fear and failure.
Ash Donaldson reminded us all to “Measure Everything”, it was a profound comment for me and something I and a lot of us over look to often.
The conversation around play was engaging and to a room full of business and social leaders, it reminded us of the importance of play and and more importantly, how to play. Seb Chan stating, “we haven’t really forgotten how to play, we just don’t value it”. Tim Longhurst reminded us of the StatusQuo Man, an anti-superhero who consistently reminds organisation not to change. Tim “encourages the organisation to discuss what they see and explore solutions together” and “find the person in the organisation who will support the change and lead”.
Rachel Botsman, Tim Longhurst and Jodie Fox both shared very personal experiences of failure which we will leave to the IF talk guests to savour, they were personal and certainly not for me to broadcast however they also shared insights into leadership, change and business that have changed and will continue to shape how my company 6.2 operates and hopefully the business leaders in the room think.
The night raised funds for STREAT to help support Homeless Youth and whilst the product for the speakers and audience from 321 Water did not arrive in time (#CityFail), we thank them for their continued support of the IF talks.
Rachel Botsman reminded us, Keith Sawyer wrote in his book Group Genius, “all great inventions emerge from a long sequence of small sparks; the first idea often is not all that good, but thanks to collaboration, it later sparks another idea, or it is reinterpreted in an unexpected way. Collaboration brings small sparks together to generate breakthrough innovation”. Thanks for the reminder Rachel.
Maybe that is exactly what IF talks are, a room full of sparks, discussing pressing issues and through collaboration and conversation, we go back out into the world and bring about small changes that over time amount to great things, one spark at a time. Thank you to all our guests and panel. We hope you were inspired.
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