London Barcamp5

AMPLIFY – researching in Europe and the US 2008 (Part 1)

I have just returned from 10 days in Europe and 3 weeks in the USA as part of my research for the 2009 AMP Innovation and Thought Leadership Festival, which will operate under the brand “AMPLIFY” in future.

Many people asked me to blog my trip, but I decided not to take a laptop- I didnt want to suffer continuous partial attention deficit disorder- a Blackberry already creates enough of that with its constant stream of work emails!

I wanted to fully immerse myself in learning and soak it up like a sponge.  But, for those of you who are interested in what I did, where I went and who I met, this post is part 1 of a 2 part series providing a quick rundown.  

In London I met with or visited Barcamp 5, The London Business School, Shaping Tomorrow founder Michael Jackson, Dr James Gardner, fellow Aussie and Head of Innovation and Technology at LLoyds TSB and author of the popular blog Banker VisionRational Madness founder Paul Levy, Prof Bruce Lloyd, Professor of Strategic Management at London Southbank University, Dr Tim Jones, principal of Innovaro, and had lunch with Intranet Managers of France Telecom/ Orange, BBC and RBS as guest of Paul Miller, CEO of the Intranet Benchmarking Forum, of which I am the founding Board Member for Asia Pacific. 

This was followed by an exhiliarating and stimulating 3 days at Picnic 2008 in Amsterdam.

I also had an amazing conversation over dinner with Hennie von Egmund, Senior Executive of Culture and Transformation of Rabo Bank and visited Dr Paul Iske, Chief Dialogues Officer of ABN Amro at Dialogues House in Amsterdam, where I learnt about his innovative brainchild, the Institute of Brilliant Failures. This is all about giving entrepreneurs who have failed once in business a second chance- and the logic is just BRILLIANT- they are a 50% safer bet than first-time entrepreneurs! 

What I found MOST fascinating about the trip was the contrast between the European and the Anglo-saxon business cultures and the approach to science, innovation, arts, creativity and business.  In Europe, they are indistinguishable and naturally part of the ecosystem.  In the UK, business was definitely in one box, art and creativity in another and science in a third, with innovation desperately trying to straddle them. 

I rushed back home for a blurry week of bad jetlag, steering another Ideas Playground business growth campaign I was running at the office, picked up a fresh change if clothes and took off again for the USA.

But more about that in part 2.