“Don’t just ask what the role of the IT department in the Enterprise should be; Ask what the role of Technology should be in the Business of the Enterprise.”
That was the tagline for last week’s sell-out event at the BCS, Chartered Institute for IT, which featured Capgemini’s CTO, Andy Mulholland. Attendees were treated to riveting talk by Andy, in which he described the trends, implications and impact of innovation, especially the evolution (in back-office) and revolution (in front-office) of technology and the enterprise. To further drive home the point, Andy outlined what he calls the top ten game changing technology shifts for enterprises to watch and understand, e.g.: people and social tools, the user experience, big data, user driven IT environments (aka consumerisation), and mobility, to name just a few.
And if that wasn’t enough, the second speaker / session at this event provided a practical hands-on demonstration of what might be described as a prototype for ‘crowd-sourced innovation’ in action. This session, which was led by Destination-Innovation’s Paul Sloane, involved attendees forming into small groups in order to explore painful ‘real life’ problems, and to come up with an innovative approach to resolving one of them. The outcome was then played back to the larger group, and suffice it to say that some of the suggestions were astonishing, and one attendee commented afterwards, saying: “It’s amazing what you can achieve in a short period of time”.
Overall, this event provided a great mix of comprehensive knowledge and innovation foresight, along with some practical application of innovative techniques to address them; resulting in a balanced, demonstrable experience of how challenges posed by technology disruption may be met in turn by an innovative approach designed to harness individual creativity. For an event organised, in their spare time, by a bunch of volunteer committee members / helpers of the BCS, North London Branch, (including yours truly), I think this was an excellent outcome.
What does a BBC Dragon, a Lateral Thinking Guru and our UK CTO & Innovations Czar have in common? Well, a British Computer Society event on Entrepreneurship and Innovation for one thing, and who better to talk about said topics than real practitioners, as I’m sure you’ll agree.
Last night, at the British Computer Society venue in London’s West End, the audience and organizers of this event were treated to a frankly inspiring discourse on what it means to be an entrepreneur and innovator, even in these days of economic woe. The speakers were each able to focus on a specific aspect of the event theme, and by so doing provided good coverage of the topics, specifically:
- Julie Meyer (Venture Capitalist and BBC Dragon), talked about entrepreneurship and what it takes to become successful especially in tough times. Her personal experiences and involvement with early stage start-ups painted a clear picture of the qualities required to grow and thrive as an entrepreneur
- Paul Sloane (Author and Lateral Thinking Guru), came on last minute as a surprise guest speaker, and he delivered an entertaining but insightful look into the mindset of those people that have successfully driven change through innovation and entrepreneurship. He should know – Paul is a successful author on innovation and lateral thinking with over 2 million books sold
- Dave Pepperell (UK CTO and Innovations Czar) delivered a masterclass on Capgemini’s approach to innovation, and he described how to engage and harness the combined creativity of the talented people within the organization, and how clients can accelerate innovatiion via Rapid Design and Visualisation, as previously described on this blog
This excellent cast of speakers touched on the full spectrum of innovation and entrepreneurship, and had something for everyone. It also prompted a key discussion about how individual innovation and entrepreneurship might apply within a corporate environment; especially in a changing business landscape where the people-formerly-known-as-employees are starting to see themselves more as their own brand, (e.g. on Blogs, Facebook and Twitter).
I wonder if this isn’t just a precursor to the next big disruptor of the business world. Who knows, perhaps the next generation of workers might start to demand IP or equity in exchange for their creative labour; now won’t that be something?