The Interview: Franc Ponti, Bussiness
Specialized in Creativity and Innovation (HR
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.
the title of one of your lectures: "From creative professionals.
Innovative companies", does innovation happen as a consequence of
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,
the 21st century, is innovation a luxury or a need?
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.
your opinion, what is the profile of an innovative person?
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.
are the main characteristics of innovative companies?
have time to think. What I call “Think ZEN”.
have a provocative attitude. They constantly challenge conventions.
learn from their environment, with a very humble attitude (Open Innovation)
have an organizational structure that rejects exaggerated hierarchy and
bureaucracy and that accepts new ideas
care about motivation policies. They hire passionate people who want to do
learn how to communicate passions to their customers.
can we create a culture that supports and sustains innovation?
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
an expert, how do you see innovation in the Catalan companies and, more
specifically, in the area of Barcelona?
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.
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?
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”…
your point of view, where are the markets heading?
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.
a last point, we will allow ourselves a more personal question: Do you believe
that you are an innovative /creative person?
at least I try hard…
To know more: http://www.francponti.com