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Articles

The Interview: Franc Ponti, Bussiness Creative Consultant

Specialized in Creativity and Innovation (HR Department, EADA)

 

Considered as an expert in the topics of creativity and innovation (among others), being a frequent lecturer for different national and international institutions and having published two books ( “The creative company”in 2001 and “Passion to innovate”, in 2006), how would you define“innovation”?

  Innovation is something easy to define but difficult to implement. My favourite definition of innovation is “a successful idea”. When you come with an idea that is original and adds value, and you have the capability of transforming this idea into something that works (product, service, strategy, etc.), this is an innovation.

Paraphrasing the title of one of your lectures: "From creative professionals. Innovative companies", does innovation happen as a consequence of  the creativity? 

I’m fully convinced. Innovation comes from new ideas, new perspectives, new proposals. Who has the capability of generating new ideas? It’s people. So, organizations with creative people are more prepared to innovate. Beyond creativity, other important things are needed to innovate: rewarding people, balanced organizational structures, lack of bureaucracy, balanced hierarchy, etc.

In the 21st century, is innovation a luxury or a need?

Definetively, it’s a need. All companies need to differentiate from the others. The solution they have is to implement a business policy of constant innovation. Without this feature, firms do always the same, they bore their costumers and they die. Innovation is an everyday practice that transforms organizations through the energy of people’s ideas.

  In your opinion, what is the profile of an innovative person?

First, a creative person has to believe in what he or she does, and put a lot of passion in every aspect of his or her activity. Second, must use his/her right brain (Lateral Thinking). Third, the person should challenge all the basic assumptions of whatever he does. Fourth, balance rationality with intuition and Fifth, accept the ideas of others and be able to generate ideas in teams.

How can I build my own innovation skills in a way that enhances my career and self-satisfaction?

It’s important to connect your creative capacities with the real needs of your company. That means that if your company doesn’t demand fresh ideas coming from innovative individuals perhaps you will be frustrated. Apart from that, It’s important to accelerate the mastering of Lateral Thinking and, in general, creative methodologies (brainstorming, Scamper, Six Thinking Hats, Provocations, Mind Mapping, etc.). Specially important is to challenge everything that surrounds you.

 

What are the main characteristics of innovative companies?

 

  1. They have time to think. What I call “Think ZEN”.

  2. They have a provocative attitude. They constantly challenge conventions.

  3. They learn from their environment, with a very humble attitude (Open Innovation)

  4. They have an organizational structure that rejects exaggerated hierarchy and bureaucracy and that accepts new ideas

  5. They care about motivation policies. They hire passionate people who want to do extraordinary things

  6. They learn how to communicate passions to their customers.

How can we create a culture that supports and sustains innovation?

It’s essential that the owners of the company firmly believe in innovation and they keep on believing in it for the rest of their lives. Then, serious training about innovation skills is strongly needed. Apart from that, the firm must set clear innovation goals and convince everyone to start looking for creative ideas. It’s important that people have a good time at work. If not, it’s impossible to develop a culture of innovation  

As an expert, how do you see innovation in the Catalan companies and, more specifically, in the area of Barcelona?

Catalan companies have very creative people but some of them have to introduce real innovation policies to take advantage of this creative potential. Their challenge is to systematize innovation. There are a lot of Catalan innovative firms: KH Lloreda, El Bulli, AUSA, Pans & Company, Semen Cardona and lots and lots more.

What do you think of the initiative to create a portal for employers and jobseekers in the Barcelona area focused on key sectors and added value companies?

I think it’s an excellent idea, specially if it’s linked with a real need. Perhaps is a way of discovering a new “blue ocean”…  

From your point of view, where are the markets heading?

It depends on which kind of market you are. What is important is to detect the trends that, in a certain way, will determine the future of what you do now. That’s why it’s essential to currently do some “coolhunting”, to try to anticipate to the future.

As a last point, we will allow ourselves a more personal question: Do you believe that you are an innovative /creative person?

Well, at least I try hard…

 

_______________

To know more: http://www.francponti.com

 

 

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