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"Be bold and great forces will come to your aid!"
I am originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland, where I studied Aeronautical Engineering. I spent the first part of my career at Bombardier Aerospace as a designer creating new products and opportunities, spending much of my time working closely with customers.
In the year 2000 we had just put a new product into service on a Bombardier aircraft when I was approached by one of our marketing managers who suggested that we enter the MacRobert Award for Innovation in Engineering (awarded annually by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK).
My response was simply "why would we do that???". In the 5 years my team and I had spent developing the product I don't think the word innovation had been used even once, and I was not of the opinion that we had produced anything particularly novel....although we were certainly proud of what we had done and the customer was happy (you can see where this is going :-)
A few months later I was receiving a certificate in London from Prince Phillip the Duke of Edinburgh confirming us as one of three finalists in the 2001 prize. Unfortunately we didn't win, we were runners-up.
But I was left thinking “how the heck did that happen???”
Fast forward a few years and I had learned how innovation can be taught, enabled and systemised, and I was leading the innovation transformation programme at Bombardier Aerospace. We established the strategy, created a working innovation ecosystem, and put infrastructure in place to sustain it. This journey included negotiating a number of obstacles, such as changing the mindset that innovation is just for the elite chosen few and attaining senior level buy-in.
In May 2011 I moved to Switzerland to take up the position of Innovation Manager at Swisslog (Warehouse & Distribution Solutions). I now do the same job but from Sweden.
Sometimes when a child has a task to do or a report to compile make it clear that they can be creative in how they deliver the result. Facilitate this by giving them a range of possibilities accompanied with the message "anything goes!"
This summer I experimented with my kids by removing all the "time killers" from their lives for a few weeks. The results were significant, but will not be surprising to most of us. The problem is how to make the effect last considering peer pressures
I noticed this comic strip this morning and thought it was quite relevant to this challenge. The point it makes is that great role models can actually be constraining rather than inspiring; perhaps they are too much to live up to.
I really like this idea! In particular, assuming the constraint of "no Apps" appeals to me as too often the proposals I evaluate revolve around creating an App or web platform. The one area I think could have been developed a bit further is around the sponsor companies and specifically how they could act as the 'lanchpad' to get the veterans engaged. In my mind that could involve the Superhero Saturday taking place at a local supermarket (i.e. somewhere seniors/veterans go often) and have a zone where the sidekicks teach them about online shopping on that store's website. At the same time they advertise the other sidekick offerings....
I think this would be an attractive idea if the web was not already cluttered with a multitude of (dominant) social networking options. I'm just not convinced that young people would choose to spend their time on Virtual Buddies rather than Facebook or Pinterest. Some of the proposed functionality such as curated content and 'safe' groups can be done already with either Facebook pages or groups and I wonder if a better proposal might have been to do that rather than create a new platform?