Innovating the Corporate through the Canvas

During a recent business project I came across an innovations manager in a leading Australian telco company. It was the first time I had direct contact with someone in this position. When I made overtures about it to my colleagues, they were not surprised at all.

Apparently, it’s all the rage to have an innovations manager. I began to wonder – what were the core skills of this position? What were the responsibilities? What experience did you need?

A recent job description by Shell unsheathed the shroud of mystery:

“This position is built around a team of unconventional people who find exciting concepts …”

“This individual will need to navigate through a land for which there is not yet a map… “This requires a curiosity to pursue the interesting.” And among its accountabilities: “Ask insightful questions and recognize and stimulate unusual ideas that could have high potential impact.”

At the very bottom of this endless job description I finally embarked on the academic requirements: A Masters degree or Ph.D. in Engineering.

I don’t know about you, but I am surrounded almost daily by extremely talented engineers and IT people. If I handed to them this job description they would probably think I came back from a visit to the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.

Alice (source:“The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: At last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice. Who are You?”

In preparation for brand workshops I have researched and racked my brains in search of tools, exercises and techniques that could extract creative thought, unusual ideas and thought processes from my clients, from meditation and Mandalas, to role playing and masks.

The responses? Well… You can find a lot of them in chapter five in Alice in Wonderland.

In time I recognized the importance of creativity to innovation – to marketing and the future of business. In time it became a mission – to link the art world to the corporate work place. It just made sense – the more you are exposed to creativity – the more creative you become. The more creative you are – the more likely you are to develop innovative ideas and drive change.

Next month (April 5 – 9), Tel Aviv will be hosting once again the Fresh Paint Contemporary Art Fair. The fair is the biggest, most influential annual art event in Israel, with over 35,000 visitors every year. It is dedicated to promoting the raw and emerging contemporary Israeli art scene. Many young up and coming independent artists will be exhibiting their works through paintings, videos and installations.

Fresh Paint is a wonderful starting point for exposure to the local art world.

A fun, original side to Fresh Paint is the Secret Postcard Project. Modeled after London’s Royal College of Art’s RCA Secret Postcard exhibition, the project displays original postcard-sized art by art students, emerging artists and established artists. The catch: The works are unsigned, so you’re buying them not on name value but on artistic merit alone.

If you are looking for ideas and inspiration I urge you to visit Fresh Paint. Eventually you too may want to apply for the next innovations manager position.