Passion was the focus of many BIF-2 storytellers. Mark Hellendrung of Narragansett Beer: “Innovate around something you are passionate about,” which he did by resurrecting the old Narragansett Beer brand.
Liz Lerman of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange: “Desperation is an innovation driver…” And of course, desperation is a form of passion.
Mary Pat Ryan of Sirius Radio: “What helps track into the passion for satellite radio is peoples’ passion for music.”
Robert Ballard of the Mystic Aquarium spoke of his passion for the bottom of the ocean. He also talked of the idea-intersection -- Creativity comes out of the difficulty of leaving your native area. You are a land creature trying to explore the sea. How to make that workable? Recreate it as an out-of-body experience by creating a way to explore it electronically.
Along the same lines of turning a problem about which you are passionate into an opportunity, Randy Antik of SWAT Team Partners spoke about aiming high and keeping your focus on your passions because “innovation is the offensive team” (which prompted the observation that perhaps the defensive team the lawyers! ). In focusing on your passions, Antik said you should “keep track of what the actual problems is, and change approaches if one doesn’t work. Use your skills and experience to bring your passions alive.”
Peter Durand of Alphachimp: “Most innovation happens when you’re really, really irritated, and you’re bitching and moaning to your friends.”
Larry Keeley of Doblin told a story of innovating with intent, perhaps even a point of view, which to me can be a focused passion. He talked of innovation in Helsinki around outdoor lighting, critical in a city that’s in the dark so much of the time. “Point of view connects things,” he said. What’s required is not just a general interest in innovation, but actual preferences and intent.
He also said, “We always overestimate the amount of change that will happen in the short run and underestimate the amount of change that will happen in the long run.” I have heard a similar saying before – “Nothing changes everything.” The relation of this quote to the notion of intent seems to be that intent and purpose carries us through the short run, when it doesn’t look like enough is changing, and keeps us focused in the long run, when things change more than we ever envisioned they could.