7 Lessons from Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored

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  • April 28, 2014
  • INK Team

This post comes from INK alumna Rachael Genson.

I’m a big believer in the importance of surrounding yourself with people smarter (and more creative) than yourself. I think it’s one of the best ways to learn, and to kickstart your own brain into thinking differently.  So when I had the opportunity to attend Fast Company’s recent Innovation Uncensored event in New York, I jumped at the chance.

After eight captivating hours of listening to some of the most thought-provoking, interesting, and influential leaders in business (22 in all), I walked away with a wealth of new ideas and inspiration for INK and our clients. I could talk for hours about the things I learned at Innovation Uncensored, but I narrowed it down to seven major takeaways:

  • Innovation comes in all forms – While we commonly associate the word innovation with technology, that’s not always that case. Innovation can happen in any industry and in any form. Perhaps it’s a new TV streaming service set to disrupt the traditional television model (hello, Aereo), or an online platform that funds educational projects through crowdsourcing (DonorsChoose), or maybe it’s a small startup looking to fix global issues through the power of play (Uncharted Play) – all different, yet all incredibly innovative.
  • Mistakes can be good – Innovators should learn to welcome mistakes, as they often indicate that you are trying something new or doing something different. Screwing up shouldn’t be frowned upon so long as you are learning valuable lessons from and building off each and every mistake you make.
  • Open your mind to innovation worldwide – In the US, we tend to maintain a very nationalistic mindset, but when it comes to innovative ideas, it’s important to have a more global view. Some of the most game-changing stuff is coming out of China, requiring us to shift our current thinking that “Made in China” is a bad thing; in all actuality, innovation in China should be studied and used as an example worldwide.
  • Don’t forget about local – Not all change comes directly from the top.  There are incredible microcosms of change happening at a local level, and companies like Etsy (believe it or not) and The Clinton Foundation are working to encourage individuals to solve tough problems by building awareness and engagement from the bottom up…and it’s seeing success globally.
  • Be different – Don’t just follow the group for the sake of fitting in. It’s OK to be an outsider with an interesting point of view – in fact; it’s probably one of the best ways to enable your own creativity and innovation. Just ask Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso.
  • Authenticity is key – Being successful isn’t about being perfect – people don’t always like perfection. It’s about always being authentic in every aspect, and continuing to support the people (both internally and externally) that get what that authentic self is.
  • Experience, experience, experience – Whether it’s a physical experience, in-store, or online, experiences are the new form of luxury goods. And, according to Tough Mudder CEO Will Dean, one of the most important things you can do for customers – “an experience is something that will appreciate in value over time, unlike goods which will only depreciate.”

Did you get the chance to attend Innovation Uncensored? What was most memorable to you?