Disrupt by Design

I’m just back from Day 1 of this years Better by Design CEO Summit – Disrupt by Design. Unlike last year I didn’t have my note taker so had to take notes myself!

As always the event is extremely well put together and the venue at Villa Maria is just perfect and the team there do the most amazing job along with the whole Better by Design Team.

The day has been extremely stimulating and the Tyre Changing Challenge was the perfect way to finish the conference part of the day before the dinner and networking that followed.

The stand out speaker for me today was a tie between Professor Jeanne Liedtka from the Darden School of Business and Rob Fyfe, former CEO of Air New Zealand.

Jeanne started the day with Louis Pasteur’s quote:

“Fortune favors the prepared mind”

Many of the opportunities for any business are already out there, but you need to be prepared in order to see them. Jeanne, then went on to outline the three keys to having a prepared mind:

  • A learning mindset
  • A broad repertoire
  • Customer empathy

Two examples involving George and Geoff were then outlined to contrast how these items help open up opportunities when applied to design thinking or how it impacts this process when you don’t have these attributes. The rest of the day involved many conversations about how many George or Geoff’s we all had.

Incidentally, Jeanne is also co-author of Solving Problems with Design Thinking, a book all conference attendees received in the post a few weeks ago.

Rob Fyfe, had left shortly after Jeanne’s presentation and we found out later this was to collect his thoughts. Jeanne had pretty much covered all of Rob’s content so Rob threw out his presentation and accompanying slides and took us through a number stories regarding mistakes that Air New Zealand made during his tenure. A very well put together presentation considering he had less than two hours to get prepared.

Rob outlined that it is important to embrace your mistakes, learn from them and adapt. There were many examples of great solutions that would never have been discovered except for having first made a mistake.

The other presenters were all of an extremely high calibre and Day 2 looks to be just as inspiring.


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