Posted by: Charlie | October 13, 2009

Business Innovation Factory 5 Recap

bif5-home-logoStory telling is the centerpiece of building communities. Last week leaders in business, media, policy, and education gathered at BIF5, to tell stories. I had to ask myself, why would impact oriented individuals be willing to give up two days to simply tell stories. Stories are not quantifiable, they are not deliverables to file away in work reports. So whats the big deal about stories? Well for one they inspire thought provoking dialogue and innovation. This is especially true at BIF5 where stories are not about historical accomplishments, but rather future projections.

Don Tapscott, author of Grown Up Digital and Wikinomics took the stage late morning. He connected to the audience with a story about how his children, more then his colleagues taught him  about technology and innovation. For the first time in history, a younger generation are the experts on technology. However, I believe that this may be shifting. Social Media may have started in college communities, but in my experience students have been slow to use these tools effectively.

However work isn’t just being redefined by a generation, it is being formed by everyone. Helmut Traitler from Netsle shared his latest challenge: develop an ice-cream that ships warm. But his R&D team has decided to open this challenge to the world. While his incentives may be purely profit driven (no more expensive freezer trucks), engineers are fascinated by the potential to make serious global supply chain energy savings. A win-win.

While the speakers inspired thought, the room was “atwitter” in dialogue. The innovation editor at Business Week argued that no one knows how to use social media, that we are all figuring it out. I am continually amazed at how social media changes an event space. I met five new people during the talk, and met up with two in the break time. Would we have run into each other had we not been telling our own stories about Traitler’s via Twitter? Only maybe.

What do all these stories have in common? Continue learning, discover new possibilities, find ways to collaboration, make the world better. Perhaps we can take a hint from BIF5 and pre-schools around the world – take a time out for story time.

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