At the Back End of Innovation Conference (BEI) last week in Santa Clara, we had two kinds of innovation cocktails — libations curated for the conference by Greg Waldron and his mixology team at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and courtesy of Tito’s Vodka: Da Vinci’s Flight (see recipe below) and The Spirit of Innovation. This Innovation Cocktail Party was made possible by those people who care about our eyesight at Vision Services Program. That was one of two formal cocktail parties — the first night’s was hosted by Roche and featured Vivek Wadha who talked about why he’s edited his upcoming book on Innovating Women. Both evenings rocked and ended too soon.
Then we had each other. There were 250+ from all over the world; extraordinary people united by a common interest in implementing innovation inside enterprises — in the how, the doing, the heavy lifting, the bringing ideas across the finish line into new business models, products, services and cultures. If Innovation is code for hope, for growth, for finding your voice and for making change happen, then this was by all measures an extremely, high on the growth curve, vibrant crowd. So we talked. And drank. And talked some more. Three great innovators: Tito’s Vodka, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, and Vision Services Program brought Da Vinci’s flight and others to the table:
Between the practitioners, speakers, storytellers, experience-creators, experts in their various domains, and the regular creative people that assembled, it was as good a 3 day dry cocktail party as I’ve been to in a long time. But then, good conferences are like good cocktail parties. They’re social. There is a perceptible sense of fun and conviviality. There are more people you don’t know than know, and it’s about meeting people, just usually without a bar nearby.
We had a vision for BEI. It was to celebrate the idea that Innovation has become a full-fledged profession. The collective we spent 3 days sharing experiences, lessons learned, intense questions and curiosities about HOW it works ‘over there?’
While this is NOT a complete summary here are some of our favorite one-liners from this 3 day tribal gathering:
- “Companies over-emphasize idea generation and under-emphasize idea execution when it comes to innovation” – Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth
- Embracing polarity and accepting discordance are critical in the #innovation process. @pathfw
- “So true Mick Simonelli, the Back End of Innovation is harder to realize.” – Dawn Mortimer
- @Smartorginc CEO – “Mediocrity is biggest threat. Most companies are looking too small or or no risk.” – @mobilepointview
- Entrepreneurs bet everything on big ideas – managers watch closely that the train is on time #BEI13 – Lea Carey, TheHealthMaven
- “True innovation is nothing more and nothing less-than a creative combination of existing ideas.” – Ken Favaro, Booz & Co (and a shout out to your visuals!)
- “Strategy is really about how you create your future while you are managing the present.” – Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth
- “Don’t take a no from someone who cannot give you a yes.” – Michele Weslander-Quaid, Google
- “Recognize and fight the 2 antibodies that will kill innovation: corporate antibodies and personal antibodies.” – Unknown
- “Be Daring, Be Different, Be Impractical — anything that will assert integrity of purpose & imaginative vision against the play-it-safers.” – Cecil Beaton, Fashion Photographer brought to life by Lisa Marchese
- “I knew I wanted to design robots after I saw my first Star Wars movie.” – Dr. Dennis Hong (and his adorable throw the bigger ball at the robot son)
- “Everyone at Intuit is trained on Designing for Delight.” – Unknown
- “When we introduced Design for Delight as a process, it didn’t work. Making it 3 simple principles did. “ #BEI13 Intuit field trip
- “We get locked into views because we refuse to continuously transform.”- @robertsgolden
- “Show the creative twice. I always show it twice.” – Lisa Marchese, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, after showing Just the Right Amount of Wrong commercial for the first time.
- “Online community members see themselves as consultants to the brand” – Thomas Finkle, Passenger
- “A lot of innovation just falls off or dies when it reaches the Marketing suite.” – Lisa Marchese
- “I have pissed a lot of people in the valley off by asking why are there no women on Twitter’s senior management team?” – Vivek Wadwha, Singularity University
- “Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Unknown
- “Come visit us on either coast.” – Jay Sales, Leslie Muller, Vision Services Program
- “(With this certification) we’re trying to create resonance out of dissonance.” – Ron Jonash, Hult International School of Business and IXL Center
- “A warrior is not afraid to be afraid.” – Stuart Heller, Walk Your Talk
- “I want to come back!” – Unknown
And. So do WE. We raise a glass to all who made the trek and showed up at #BEI13! If you have a favorite line or quote don’t hold back – please share! And for those that didn’t you can find much more at the Back End of Innovation Group on LinkedIn. Now, are you listening? Clink-Clink!
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Julie Anixter is a principal at Think Remarkable and the executive editor and co-founder of Innovation Excellence. She’s co-chaired the Back End of Innovation two years running. She also serves as Chief Innovation Officer of Maga Design, a leading visual information mapping firm.The co-author of three books, she’s working on a fourth on courage and innovation. She worked with Tom Peters for five years on bringing big ideas to big audiences. Now she works with the US Military, Healthcare, Manufacturing and other high test innovation cultures that make a difference.