What I learnt at Pause Fest 2017, plus an Epiphany!

About two weeks ago I attended Pause Fest 2017 at Deakin Edge in Melbourne and walked away from it pretty damn pumped up! Pause Fest for me was three days of innovation and inspiration that culminated in an epiphany…

I actually had an epiphany about attending conferences; it’s not about getting information on new things that are happening in the world, it’s about gaining inspiration from those new things, and creating your own new things! Just like Design Research.
Go time on Day One: Creative.

My standard approach to conference write-ups is usually speaker by speaker, which is fine, but that’s not really what was going on in my head during Pause 2017. The speakers were super inspirational and talked about such a host of different topics, which prompted me to start thinking deeply, and I started to cross-pollinate ideas in my head…

Like a game of jigsaw where the speakers gave me pieces, and it was up to me to fit everything together in my head, to create new concepts and ideas.

This outcome, from a conference perspective, is incredible. Every conference organiser should aim to cross pollinate ideas in their attendees minds.

I went to Pause Fest to learn about new things that other people had done, and I walked away with totally original things that I can do.

I spent all of last week thinking about how I could get my thoughts on paper, and it literally gave me writer’s block. Hence my reason for brain dumping a whole lot of unstructured notes below, I’ve tried to ensure they make sense, but it’s hard out of context, some of them you’ll know, others you won’t, but the sum of all these parts made something truly amazing in my mind, enjoy…

  • Empathy is a conscious choice, and it’s becoming more and more important in business, but business leaders don’t know how to codify it into their organisations, so it’s usually done very poorly, empathy maps are the first step, contextual observation and ethnographic research are the minima.
Matt Taylor from Deloitte Narrative Strategy running a workshop titled ‘Desperately Seeking Empathy.’
  • AI will make some serious mistakes if we don’t “be the bad guy” and try to find exploits or vulnerabilities in our own systems. We need to test for the worst because sometimes the internet is horrible.
  • Creativity cannot be time bound and is best done without ego. Time does help you make things real, and we’re often time bound with what we produce. The best products, services and experiences are created at the perfect balance of creativity and time.
  • Sitting at your computer is doing, not thinking. Too often we sit in front of our computers, by ourselves. Thinking should be done away from the screen, doing should be done on the screen.
  • If you want to enter the arena of Design Thinking, you’re going to spend a lot of time educating other people about the mindset, the tools, and the methods. Over time you get better at explaining it, but people see it in different ways, so the only way you’ll get better is to keep explaining, keep persisting, and keep pushing it.
Anything related to Design Thinking get’s a packed audience at Pause Fest 2017
  • If you’re in an industry that’s constantly facing challenges, spend a bit of time defining what all of your challenges are, and then spend even more time trying to think of creative solutions to solve those issues. You’re extremely likely to come up with the recipe for disruption if you do so.
  • The greatest area of risk avoidance within large corporates is middle management, the area where the status quo is praised, and risky investments are shunned. If you want large corporates to change, it has to be done at the top. If you’re a start-up, avoid the middle, go for the top and bottom.
  • ‘Hybrid Reality’ was born out of consumer VR kits, and consumer 3D printing, to change the way NASA trains its astronauts for space. There is a huge opportunity to combine technologies that are still yet to gain commercial viability, into something that has serious commercial viability, hybrid reality training systems for example.
Gemma Rassie from DFB trying out VR Regatta from the team at MarineVerse https://marineverse.com/
  • Another way to look at disruption is to ‘construct’ the status quo in your mind, build the entire product or service from scratch in your head, to match what’s currently out there, and then ‘destruct’ it. Following that you’ll want to ‘rebuild’ it using different components, capabilities, principles, or technologies, just like Elon Musk did with the car, rocket, and solar panel.
  • The only way you’ll ever create a unicorn is if you go head to head with an incumbent, or totally destroy the way people see a product or service. The main thing that’s in your way when you do this is usually Government regulation, so working with the Government up front is key. Policy Hacking is a great way for small groups and start-ups to have a small influence over local or state government.
  • If you’re attempting to change anything at your organisation, don’t EVER skimp on the Design Process. There’s no appetite in this world for shitty products or services or business processes. Involve the people that are impacted from the start, and don’t just follow ‘best practice’, seek inspiration to do things in new ways.

Brain dump complete. Phew!

Pause Fest is three days of inspiration focussed around Creative, Tech, and Business. If you’re interested in more or want to attend next year, check out http://www.pausefest.com.au/

As for me, I’m off to SXSW in a few weeks, hectic times ahead! Watch this space.

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