Reflections from the Brandenburg Gate

It’s been two weeks since I finished the Corpus Operis conference in a small town called, Casekow, which is a 90-minute train ride east from Berlin. The first inaugural conference was a consideration of the best future for a global workforce. The conference included a colorful array of academics, government development professionals, practitioners, and consultants – all mixing minds at the Wartin Castle. It was perhaps the most interesting and innovative conference formats that I have ever experienced. My distilled reflections:

More Non-Hotel Conferences Please. Environments matter to the quality of thinking. Sorry, but Marriott pastel carpeting with Costco blue table mints doesn’t inspire me to think. It makes me feel like a cube dweller. Walking the castle grounds leads to far more interesting conversations. Thank you to Mark Ozawa and John Chaisson for manifesting this non-traditional venue.

Studying Small Companies Makes Sense. I confess that I tire of always thinking about big company issues. Wisdoms seem more easily identified in smaller environments. It is a more manageable petri dish for testing innovative approaches. To my thinking, if it doesn’t work in small doses first, then it won’t work at scale. I was particularly inspired by a presentation by Mark Harrison of Abraham&Harrison (see my blog with the title “Virtual Admiration…”)

Intangible Innovation. Ed Bernacki, an Innvoation-alist, presented a model for innovation that was particularly energizing. “Tangible” innovation refers to things like new products, logos, or a piece of art. Tangible innovation is what most of us load up when we hear that word innovative. And we often bestow the adjective “creative” to those who are engaged tangible innovation. “Intangible” innovation refers to new ideas applied to process and operation. They are harder to point to and we often don’t think to label them as creative innovations. Human Resource professionals are often in the business of intangible innovation. I love this model because it recognizes that innovation and creativity happen in every realm.

Complexity is the New 30. There are more countries involved in your daily life. There are more devices (aka…umbilical chords) in your daily life. There are more worker types. There are more generations involved at work. There are more places to work from. There are more choices. From a Darwinian perspective I guess that it means that we are all growing complexity tails.

More Berlin Please. If anyone in your presence starts a sentence with, “Would you like to go to Ber”…….Say YES at the “r”.