95 Theses on Innovation — Lee Vinsel

via 95 Theses on Innovation — Lee Vinsel

Vinsel spoke yesterday at the SOH Festival of Dangerous ideas. It was a slightly annoying session – I wanted to believe and disbelieve (in innovation) at the same time. In his talk, I felt Vinsel argued one-sidedly the dichotomy between ‘innovators’ and ‘maintainers’, without acknowledging the sense I felt all the way through, that it’s a question of balance of both (and more). My  concerns were partially addressed on the day – Vinsel noted his comments were ‘polemical’, but better mollified in the comments of his original post, where (in response to comments about the Maker movement) he notes, ‘This work is polemical obviously, and my strategy in it was to pull together things that aren’t juxtaposed frequently enough… some of what I say is unfair–or at least is only partial–but that’s the nature of the genre.

My feeling is that innovation remains very valid, but I share a lot of Vinsel’s concerns about both its (1) being used as a panacea (and/ or proxy) for many other (critically important) things, and (2) the increasing use of innovation jargon/ rhetoric, to obscure what is really going on.

So, I feel that a better understanding of Vinsel’s concerns is going to help me a lot better in understanding and performing my day job, and a few things besides.

Paul Gilbert on Vinsel and digital innovation

More to come, I hope.

A design for life. IDEO ‘Leading for creativity’ resources

Apple on design

Tim Brown TEDx 2009

‘Design is getting big again’

‘Start with humans’

‘Build to think… and Prototype’

Participation as the goal, not consumption

Design participatory systems – theme for design and the economy

10.46 example of Kaiser Permanente where nurses changes their shift changeover practices, so instead of doing a handover at the nursing station, they did it in front of the patient, increasing patient confidence and reducing time away from the patient

Focus on systems to get a bigger impact

d.school demo – one hour design challenge


‘IDEO Labs is for our stories of experimentation and prototyping. Themes include design, culture, science, and technology. We share opinions, processes, tools and resources. We ponder failures and celebrate successes.’


More songs about buildings and food. Post-JLL workshop notes

2016-04-30 17.26.58 copy (1)It was great to have the chance to spend Saturday (like Saturday 9 April) in an all-day workshop for JLL, based on the Future of Work. Like the 9 April session, it was run with a strong affiliation to TEDx Sydney. The event was held at Sydney Work Club, which was an added bonus.

Our team was tasked with developing a 2016 to 2050 persona for Louise Tran, an unmarried 29 year old CEO of a $200m company providing ‘virtual education’ services (while pulling down only $100k annually, which seemed a pretty low income, at least compared to some of the other personas!)

Our team pitched an AI, designed to help Louise work out who she was (from a values perspective) and to help her prioritise as a community leader. This in the context of a Collaborative Economic Model that removed the need for Louise to work competitively for food and shelter and allowed her to focus on what she is great at (in 2050). In that model, workers and their families could buy or lease city buildings which would be both home and work (banks would structure suitable enabling financial products (!), workers could crowd-source the funds, governments could issue innovation grants, etc.)

There was a Friday night scene setting session with an inspiring video (that buffered out, in the end) from the World Economic Forum.

Team 1 was great, and overall I found the experience better than last month’s session.

So, some notes on what I liked better and ideas that might add even more value:

Even with a great crew, I think there’s a degree of luck with facilitators and their ‘fit’ for the team. Saturday worked particularly well as I felt Anthony had more experience and was prepared to trust the team to come through.

One thing I noticed was that anchor/ facilitator had to yell quite a lot (luckily Gauri has an excellent ‘mummy voice’) to get the teams to re-gather between activities. This was a problem with the Vivant session on 9 April too. The teams farthest from the facilitator are often still deep in conversation 2-3 minutes after the facilitator calls time. Better AV and more coordination is required, I think. They had the AV at the Vivant session but the sound was patchy and I know Mel and I missed some instructions that left us bonding over the importance of education rather than honing our responses for an ideation session

This idea of managing the physical space reminded me that Florence Guild has hired a new Community Manager with a theatre background, which led to some theatre and participation-related thoughts. I think it’s possible – and constructive – for organisers to think more about participants’ reasons for being there. Like 9 April, we were looking at the best part of 50 professional people there, unpaid, with a desire to help, make things better, learn, etc. There was a lot of talk about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and this same thinking could be applied to add value to all participants.

Are the ‘public’ participants just the brain fodder, or the audience, or is it more complicated? The latter, I suspect and so some things to think about might be:

  • Actively encourage participants to share their details (if they want to), perhaps via an app (I suggested TEDx ‘TINDER’ on 9 April and it was noted something like that is planned for 25 April). Or just a wall to pin your business card, or a speed dating 30 second intro, or a shared list of names and roles (for those who want to).
  • It was a great idea to have an artist elaborate on the team persona sketches. With more artists, this could be done in closer to real-time (maybe one artist between two teams). Or, maybe have different skills-sets available to teams, so mind-mappers, cultural anthropologists, story-teller types, actors, and others to get people thinking differently.
  • For example, the showcase session at the end of both workshops might have been (even) better with an actor, or director, or comedian helping the teams organise and present. I suspect there are some improv and other techniques that wouldn’t just enhance the delivery, they’d be more fun and add to the experience (and learning) of participants.
  • There is a part of me that still wonders whether the necessary teamwork results (through ‘groupthink’) in some really good ideas ending up ‘on the cutting room floor’. I don’t know if the post it notes are reviewed later, but maybe there is an approach to rescuing some of these ‘orphaned’ ideas (maybe a prize for the best idea that didn’t make it to the showcases). TEDx Sydney has a similar approach in having ‘public’ speaker pitch their ideas on the main stage
  • Follow up. It would be cool to get an email (or something) that gave some idea that the workshops made a difference. Knowing you were part of a team that helped change minds would be a big part of the self actualisation/ peer recognition ‘needs’ people feel in the participating.

No carping, it’s just that the novelty of these things will wear off and it’s always looking for ways to improve.

Paperback writer. 12 years of reading

Sitting on the bed on NYE 2000, reading a trashy paperback , I decided to record what I read, at least for a while.

In some ways I wish I’d kept more details, but then I would have stopped sooner. It’s fun to see them in the order they were read, to see the clusters and so on. Maybe one day, I’ll map them against the course of my life, jobs, homes, family events, and so on. Or not 🙂


Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson

Idoru – William Gibson

About a Boy – Nick Hornby

East and West – Chris Patten

The Last Precinct – Patricia Cornwall

Riding the Rap – Elmore Leonard

In Good Company – Cohen and Prusak

The Mile High Club – Kinky Friedman

Starship Titanic – Terry Gilliam

The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson

Faster – James Gleick

7 Habits of highly effective people – Stephen Covey

Area 7 – Matthew Riley

Speed – James Gleick

Chaos – James Gleick

Visual display of quantitative information – Edward R Tufte

Dead white males (play) – David Williamson

Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C Clarke

How to be good – Nick Hornby


USSA – David Maddsen

Word of honour – Nelson DeMille

Detox – Penelope Sachs

Plan your work, work your plan – James Sheridan

The true history of the Kelly Gang – Peter Carey

Greenwich killing time – Kinky Friedman

The Bear and the Dragon – Tom Clancy

The Trusted Advisor – David Maister

The Book of Excellence – Byrd Bagget

Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore

Steppin on a Rainbow – Kinky Friedman

The Quiet American – Graham Greene

French country cooking – Elizabeth David

Selected poems – Robert Lowell

Soul on ice – Eldridge Cleaver

The springboard – Stephen Denning

The Shadow Man – John Katzenbach

Among equals – David Maister

History of Western Philosophy – Bertrand Russell

History of Australia – Manning Clark


That ole ace in the hole – Annie Proulx

The Spike – Damian Broderick

The Charisma Effect – Desmond Guilfoyle

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

Consilience – Edward O Wilson

How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie

Postmodernism for beginners – Jim Powell

Love song of J Edgar Hoover – Kinky Friedman

Surely you’re joking Mr Feynman – Richard Feynman

Red Rabbit – Tom Clancy

Blast from the past – Kinky Friedman

Harry Potter & the philosophers stone – JK Rowling

Zero Space – Frank Lepanne Deprez & Rene Tissen

Harry Potter & the chamber of secrets – JK Rowling

Brideshead revisted – Evelyn Waugh

Harry Potter & the prisoner of Azkeban – JK Rowling

Winning is kids’ stuff – Denis Baker

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling

Teaching soccer fundamentals – Nelson McAvoy

Harry Potter & the Order of the Pheonix – JK Rowling

Contact – Carl Sagan

Soccer skills – Michael Owen

The Universe – DK Books

God Bless John Wayne – Kinky Friedman

A short history of nearly everything – Bill Bryson


The teeth of the tiger – Tom Clancy

Mind of a manager, soul of a leader – Craig Hickman

The knowledge web – James Burke

The Silmarillion – JRR Tolkien

Zarafa – Michael Allin

Equation for evil – Philip Caputo

The wisdom of crocodiles – Paul Hoffman

The Da Vinci code – Dan Brown

Catcher in the rye – JD Salinger

For Esme – With love and squalor  – JD Salinger

31 songs – Nick Hornby

Armadillos and old lace – Kinky Friedman

Going solo – Roald Dahl

Weapons of choice – John Birmingham

Conversations with Feynman – Leonard Mlodinow

Past Mortem – Ben Elton

In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin


Bridget Jones Edge of Reason – Helen Fielding

Designated Targets – John Birmingham

Notes from a big country – Bill Bryson


The Last Empire – Gore Vidal

Maximum Bob – Elmore Leonard

Zodiac – Neal Stephenson

Imperial Ambitions – Noam Chomsky

Inventing a nation – Gore Vidal

Dis Information – Dr Karl Kruszenicki

Freakonomics – Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner

Harry Potter and the half blood prince – JK Rowling

Unconscious civilisation – John Ralston Saul

Tintin in South America –  Herge

Everything bad is good for you – Tony Johnston

Consulting Demons – Lewis Pinault

Political ideas – David Thomson (ed)

Final Conflict WW2.3 – John Birmingham

A long way down – Nick Hornby

The Riders – Tim Winton

A midsummer night’s dream – William Shakespeare

Ice station – Matthew Reilly

The business – Iain Banks

Things fall apart – Chinua Achebe

The Time Travellers – Simon Guerrier

Tricky business – Dave Barry

Our days are few – Martin Godleman

Revolution in the revolution – Regis Debray


The Google Story – David Vise & Mark Malseed

Chronicles – Bob Dylan

Going Postal – Terry Pratchett

Small Gods – Terry Pratchett

Mort – Terry Pratchett

Statistics without tears – Derek Rowntree

Clockers – Richard Price

Willie’s Bar and Grill – Rob Hirst

Dr Who: Venderkerken’s Children – Christopher Bulis

Contact Zero – David Wolstencroft

1776 – David McCullough

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling

Light in August – William Faulkner

Guards! Guards! – Terry Pratchett

Jingo – Terry Pratchett

The New CIO Leader – Marianne Broadbent

The Bourne Legacy – Eric Von Lustbader

Making Money – Terry Pratchett

My Place – Sally Morgan

Carpentaria – Alexis Wright

Beach Road – James Patterson


Blind Faith – Ben Elton

Jack and Jill – James Patterson

Odd One Out – Monica McInerny

H+ – Edward de Bono

Do I get a drop? – Doug Anderson

Flawless Consulting – Peter Block

The Big Bad Wolf – James Patterson

Cross – James Patterson

The Ambler Warning – Robert Ludlum


The Reader – Bernhard Schlink

The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gadwell

Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud – Jonathan Safran Foer

Blink – Malcolm Gladwell

The Meeting of the Waters –

Caisal Mor

The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Nifenegger

Perfume – Patrick Suskind

State of Fear – Michael Crichton

City of Falling Angels – John Berendt

Breath – Tim Winton

The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett

Atonement – Ian McEwan

Saturday – Ian McEwan

Bombproof – Michael Robotham

The household guide to dying – Deborah Adelaide

The Leopard – Tomasi da Lapadusa

No 1 Ladies Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith

The white tiger – Aravinda Adiga

Surveillence – Jonathan Raban

The pleasures and sorrows of work – Alain De Botton

The missing symbol – Dan Brown

The meaning of recognition – Clive James

High Voltage RocknRoll – Christie Elezer

The complete polysyllabic spree – Nick Hornby

Lost in translation – screenplay – Sofia Coppola

Into the wild – Jon Krakauer

Shakespeare – Bill Bryson

Clive James – North Face of Soho

Hamlet & Rosencrantz and Guidenstern Are Dead Study Guide – Lloyd Cameron & Rebecca Barnes

Life’s a pitch – Stephen Bailey & Roger Mavity

Juliet Naked – Nick Hornby

A Week At The Airport – Alain De Botton

The lost continent – Bill Bryson


More than a game – John Major

Not a star – Nick Hornby

How Proust can change your life –  Alain De Botton

The Hours – Michael Cunningham

The Art of Travel – Alain De Botton

In a sunburned country – Bill Bryson

An Education – Nick Hornby

Dance, Dance, Dance – Huraki Murikami

Angels and Demons – Dan Brown

My Favourite Year – Nick Hornby (Ed)

Cosmopolis – Don DeLillo

Through the Land of Fire – Ben Pester

Beautiful Evidence – Edward Tufte

Memory of Running – Ron McLarty

Imperium – Robert Harris

Julius Caesar –  William Shakespeare

Virginia Woolf in 90 mins – Paul Strathern

Ancient Rome – Peter Ackroyd

The other hand – Chris Cleave

History of Philosophy – Bryan Magee

Mix Tape – Thurston Moore

Amsterdam – Ian McEwan

Consider Phlebas – Iain M Banks

State building – Francis Fukayama

Consolations of Philosophy -Alain De Botton

Trim – Matthew Flinders

On Reading – Marcel Proust

Enough Rope 2 – Andrew Denton

And Another Thing – Eoin Colfer

Social Media 101 – Chris Brogan

Confederates in the Attic – Tony Horwitz

Norwegian Wood – Huraki Murikami

Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemier Hansson

Bon Appetit – Peter Mayle

Solar – IanMcEwan

On Chesil Beach –  IanMcEwan

Life studies – Robert Lowell

The Boat – Nam Le

Red Dog – Louis de Bernieres

The World Is Flat – Thomas L Friedman

High Fidelity – Nick Hornby

Zero History – William Gibson

Click – Various

The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai

The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolver

HBR: On Creativity, Innovation and Renewal – Hesselbien and Johnston (EDS)

Enduring Love – Ian McEwan

Romulus My Father – Raimond Gaita

Design Thinking – Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris

The Comfort of Strangers – Ian McEwan

When Managers Rebel – David Courpasson & Jean-Claude Theonig


Business Model Generation – Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneurs

The back of the napkin – Dan Roam

Captain’s Innings – Keith Fletcher

Devil May Care – Sebastian Faulkes (as Ian Fleming)

Star Trek Mission’s End – Ty Templeton and Stephen Molnar

Away – Michael Gow

Brand Media Strategy – Antony Young

Ten Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell

Hell Island – Matthew Reilly

Atlantic – Simon Winchester

After Dark – Huraki Murikami

Do androids dream of electric sheep? Philip K Dick

Homage to Barcelona – Colm Toibin

Gaudi – Yukio Futagawa

Javier Mariscal – Designing the New Spain – Emma Dent Coad

Essays In Love – Alain de Botton

Phuket Encounter – Adam Skolnick

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn and David Leviston

Heroes of a Texas Childhood – Kinky Friedman

Generation A – Douglas Coupland

Bossypants – Tina Fey

Mythology – Edith Hamilton

The Information – James Gleick

Without Warning – John Birmingham

The Arrivals – Meg Mitchell Moore

A Short Walk In The Hindu Kush – Eric Newby

Reamde – Neal Stephenson


Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Kid – Chuck Ware

11.22.63 – Stephen King

On bullshit – Harry G Frankfurt

The Seed – Kate Mulvany

Hela – the Henrietta Lacks story – Rebecca Skloot

Spice – Ian Hemphill

Song lines – Bruce Chatwin

The Paris Option – Robert Ludlum

Truth – Peter Temple

The Bicycle Book – Bella Bathurst

Marching Powder – Rusty Young

Death of a cruise ship – Tom O’Connor