I'm going to try to blog at regular intervals this week while I'm at CHI in Montreal. They have the student volunteers organized to do this too, so it should be an interesting collection of entries on the official CHI blog site by the end of the conference.
The opening plenary this morning, by Scott Cook of Intuit, was great. Scott is a very genial, affable guy who quickly builds a cnnection with the audience. The official topic for his talk, which he generally stuck to, was "Creating game-changing innovation."
He had many interesting insights into the business of innovation, many cribbed from Peter Drucker (in a good way, with appropriate credit given). Of particular note was his list of five "models of innovation inside a company:
1. the lone genius
2. the boss is the genius
3. copy competitors' innovations
4. cloister the geniuses in a lab
5. make the people the geniuses
and of course he subscribes to the last one.
The heart of his talk, though was about five principles of innovation and invention. His principles:
1. Invention comes from mindset change.
2. Mindset change comes from seeing differently.
3. Savor surprises -- as learning. (and 3a. celebrate your failures for the learning you derive from them)
4. Focus managers on a customer metric
5. Nurture and protect teams that are doing innovative work.
Cook talked a lot about how Intuit has a culture of always starting with the customer need. He gave several examples of how Intuit products were created directly out of customer studies that gave them key insights about how they weren't solving the needs of their customers.
It was a fun and inspiring talk. If you get an opportunity to hear Cook talk, I would strongly encourage you to do so.