I attended the Warren centre 2007 Innovation lecture given by Dr Chris Nicol. I've known of Chris for 15 years, right from the UNSW days at the VaST lab, I think I still have his lecture notes on VLSI design on my shelf somewhere!
Chris delivered an inspiring lecture. It was a good story about his journey as a researcher, innovator, enterpreneur, and he gave us some excellent tips on how to be succesful innovators based on his experience. I found a number of gems to walk away with, I'll include some of these gems here:
- identify your customers (internal and external) and make sure they're satisfied with your service/products
- have the courage to hire people that are better than you
- train and task individuals so they are self motivated to drive their own performance
- motivate the team to a central cause
- Go a step further and be grateful to your people: "everyday, my employees would say good bye to their loved ones and come to the office to spend a significant amount of their day with me. For this, I was grateful, and it was my duty to ensure that they had something worthwhile to do and that everyday was rewarding for both them and the organisation"
- extend the appreciation to the 'significant other'
- positioning - it's better to be different than it is to be better.
- continually change, and self inject change, "when you're green you grow, when you are ripe you rot"
During Q&A, Chris shared with us his definition of Innovation - "Innovation is the linking of marketing to technology". As someone with a research past and an increasing business focus, I couldn't have agreed more.