Friday, November 23, 2007

In Praise of Mavericks

I had the great pleasure of hearing John Kearon, Chief Juicer at Brainjuicer, talking about innovation at The Persuaders Pudding Club in Dublin last night. John's (very funny) comments on the anti-creative practice that is brainstorming, and the oxymoron that is 'centralised innovation', certainly struck a chord with the audience.

I also found John's message surprisingly encouraging, i.e.: that real innovation 'happens at the edge', and is usually the result of mavericks working outside the system. I have written about innovation in a previous post, and I find myself in complete agreement with John. Certainly everything Brainjuicer are discovering about creativity, innovation and the true nature of genius supports the idea that - once you try to control or formalise innovation - you kill it.

Which is why I worry about our national approach to innovation: more 'command and control' than 'organic and fluid'. I think the recent initiative by eircom to provide seed capital for a range of potential web businesses may well deliver more value to the country in the long run.

Do check out the Brainjuicer Lab's for some great case studies and downloads on the subject - and do make sure you get along to the next Pudding Club: Irish marketing's real innovative edge.

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