Guru to bring innovation message

AN innovation guru will be telling firms at the eastern region's biggest business event later this year that every crisis provides an opportunity to improve.

AN innovation guru will be telling firms at the eastern region's biggest business event later this year that every crisis provides an opportunity to improve.

Max McKeown, who advises the likes of ITV, Monsoon and Microsoft on how to inspire a vibrant culture of innovation within a business, is set to deliver an innovation master class at Destination Growth '09, on 3 November - hosted by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

Mr McKeown, who has been described as “somewhere between Bill Gates and Buddha on the wisdom scale”, said the best way to deal with a recession was to innovate your way out of it.

“As a business you could just cut back on everything, but you will also cut back on the very things that can help you to survive and grow,” he said.


You may also want to watch:


“You could just continue to spend as if there was no recession but you will run out of money and waste opportunities to be innovative.

“Alternatively, if you sit still you'll be left behind - even in a recession. Customers spend longer making choices and looking for increased value from their purchases. They will work harder to buy new and improved goods. If your product is old and unchanged, they may abandon it.”

Most Read

He suggests getting rid of what doesn't work, including unnecessary meetings, procedures and checklists which clog corporate arteries.

“They may even increase in times of uncertainty. To feel in control, managers squeeze their people harder - overloading schedules, undermining efforts to improve. The better way is to build a moderately sized bonfire and work collaboratively to burn red tape,” he said.

His solution is to “question assumption, encourage adventure”.

“Why can't you deliver a product twice as fast? Why can't a product be twice as economic? Toyota started their Hybrid car development during a recession. Can you create a mass market from a luxury or niche product?” he said.

“While your competitors are full of fear, uncertainty and doubt, you can introduce innovations that others cannot easily imitate because they question traditions. They may even look foolhardy or silly and avoid attention.”

He advises engaging with staff.

“One worker complained he lost his job because the company wasn't making money but in 20 years no one had asked him for any ideas to improve,” he said.

“There's never a better time to strengthen working relationships. There's never a better chance to engage employee inventiveness in the causes of cost savings and revenue growth. People have to know that making suggestions will not talk themselves out of a job.”

To register for Destination Growth '09 at www.eeda.org.uk/destinationgrowth. Destination Growth '09 costs �75 plus VAT to attend and will be hosted at AirSpace Duxford.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus