Gordon Brown at NESTA – The Innovation Edge
I’m typing from The NESTA Innovation Edge event today. Innovation has been, unsurprisingly, the key theme. I’ll post more on my notes from the sessions over the next few days – Tim Berners-Lee spoke, and as a surprise (for me at least), Gordon Brown also spoke briefly at the event. He said he was sending a message (and he was by speaking at the event) about how key innovation is to Britain – the ability to innovate and invent, based on the creative talents of our people, is key to the continued growth of the country…
“The most important thing you have is you – your creative talents and ability to lead for the future”
“We are in a global economy where the country that drives innovation will win”
Countries will succeed because they have the creative ideas, not just the capital or resources. Gordon said that he wants to break down every barrier in front of people with creative ideas and innovative businesses. In my view that is going to mean some big changes in regulation and tax, and he did mention those. There are many barriers to setting up a business.
Innovation is very much on the popular agenda these days. A shift to a knowledge economy places an increased emphasis on thinking things (innovating), rather than just making things. The big challenge is that no-one really seems sure what innovation actual is.
What does innovation mean to you?
Poor Gordon – I actually do believe he means every word (unlike some politicians one might mention) but I’ll be surprised if he gets the chance to put it all into practice. In any case, the real need for innovation seems to be social rather than technical – we’ve got technical innovation coming out of our ears in the West but (as Sir Bob said), we’re too scared to really take risks with it.
Innovation is creating new things? Solving problems? Are innovation and invention the same thing?
Necessity is the mother of invention. I think one of the speakers quoted that – it might have been Bob Geldof that did.
Innovation is what happens when you have a great idea and not quit enough time to do it…
That was a much needed eye opener for me – as a life-long technologist/geek, it was good for me to hear that innovation applies to other areas too.
That said, technology and sociology seem to be set to invade each others space – social media is changing society and society is changing technology. A ‘Medici effect’ moment maybe? As some else said, innovation always happens at the margins (I think Tim Berners-Lee talked about it “falling between two stools”).
Maybe innovation is old ideas in a fresh set of clothes and a new room?
Here are some pictures from the day
GORDON BROWN AND THE GHOSTS OF INNVOATION
James Heartfield reports from yesterday’s NESTA conference in London on the flailing PM’s vampiric relationship with the ‘innovation economy’.
I loved that Sir Bob used to get letters addressed “Bob Geldof – England”. It’s like becoming Santa Claus.
Yes, that and the comment about late night whiskey at Number 10. It’s all about relationships and communication! I hope to write up some more of my notes tomorrow.
For me innovation is about inspiration and vice versa. The Innovation Edge was a great example of this. Only time will tell how many great innovations and transformations resulted thanks to the conversations had on Tuesday and the subsequent relationships that are forming as we speak.
To quote a fantastic book The Way of Nowhere http://is.gd/k98 :
“Co-creation sits in the space between freedom and constraint. Indeed it is the creative tension that these two polarities generate that ultimately gives rise to a new insight or breakthrough.
Moreover, in that moment of co-creative breakthrough two things happen: we create something other than ourselves (innovation) while simultaneously becoming more than ourselves (transformation), so that we can no longer be who we were before.”
[…] in a short series of posts, as I digest the talks from The Innovation Edge 08. Yesterday covered Gordon Brown (I’m enjoying the comments). Today is focused on Jonathan Freedland’s interview with Sir […]
Sam Petrodi’s comments were a really helpful contribution for me too, and fit in some ways with a lot of the conversations that have been stimulated by Clay Shirky’s book. The web has been a huge technical innovation, but what we do with it is also a space for innovation in the sense of changing things and (hopefully) making them better.
I keep having conversations with clients and potential clients where they ask “can we do this?” and every time I seem to find myself pointing out that the real challenges aren’t technical–it’s very rare to find a web project that involves real technical innovation–they’re about the concept, the user experience and all of those softer areas.
In that sense the current “social media” world seems to be part of the maturation process of the web. Uploading and displaying photos and video is something we’ve been able to do since the early nineties, but flickr et al have innovated in the design and social spaces, as well as around the edges in considering how we scale this stuff.
In that respect the key innovations on the web in the next few years are likely to resemble those Sam Petrodi referenced. They won’t be big technical shifts (I hope we see that effort going into our energy production, and transport, rather than extensions to HTTP) they’ll be adaptations to how we related to one another and how we use existing tools.
Good thoughts James. I’m looking forward to writing up my notes on what Sam said – I agree with some, but not with others. He had an interesting perspective.
A decade ago we were limited by what technology was able to do for people. Now we are limited by what people are able to do with technology. Creating better user experiences and more experienced users is the next wave of innovation.
[…] of the month was attending NESTA’s Innovation Edge 08event, as you can see from the posts (Gordon Brown attracted lots of comments, as did Tim […]