Innotribe @SOFE2011, a field trip to the Innovation Warehouse

5 Dec

As Kosta Peric @copernicc (Head of Innovation, SWIFT) already wrote in the previous blog, Innotribe took part in SOFE2011 in London.

Innovation was a big topic throughout this event, as the main debate revolved around the dilemma between agility and operational excellence. Or, how do you manage risk, and implement changes, while maintaining the ‘5 nines’ of operational availability (99,999%)?
Kosta introduced the Castle and the Sandbox metaphor, to illustrate how we go about this challenge at Swift.

Kosta holding the castle

We all know the castle well enough, so that’s why we thought it would be a good idea to take a bus full of conference participants to have a closer look at an example of a sandbox.
One of our Innovation plenary speakers: Tony Fish has founded the InnovationWarehouse (www.theIW.org) @IWuk, it is the perfect example of what we envision as a sandbox, or incubator as we call it at Swift.
It’s a space where people with ideas find a place ‘to play’, to hatch their ideas, surrounded with the kind of support they need: meeting room facilities, office space, IT services, and like-minded people.

Of all days, we planned this bus trip through London onthe same day the public sector organised a massive strike and rallies in the city!
We decided to take a chance, and played the odds…
And it was very well proved it was a crazy idea after all! What was supposed to be a 10 – 15 minute drive, turned out much longer. So, after an hour of being stuck in traffic, we decided to pull over and walk the remaining distance.
I must say I hardly saw happier faces that week, than those of the 45 people being released from the bus into the open air 🙂

Once we arrived at the InnovationWarehouse, our host of the day, Tony Fish, introduced us to the innovators, the ‘obsessive problem solvers’ as he calls them:

  • Startup Intelligence – a business intelligence firm which identifies the fastest-growing companies in any region or sector.
  • Hipsnip – a personal shopping app to get you shopping advice and recommendations before you buy.
  • Worldlink Data – the home of real-time mobile applications.
    This was Tony’s personal illustration of the ‘3Ps of Innovation’: Patience, Perseverence and Passion.
  • Dreamyume – a social network for exploring, understanding and connecting people through dreams and the subconscious using new Artifical Intelligence (AI) technology.
  • Digital Shadows – a cyber-security company focused on protecting organisations and individuals from targeted cyber attack.

Innovation Warehouse - the hiveAfter listening to their pitches, and seeing the stars twinkling in their eyes, we were invited to have a look inside the heart of the InnovationWarehouse, a zone referred to as ‘the hive’. This was the moment when people could have a relaxed chat with the entrepreneurs present.
Some took the opportunity, others wandered off and checked their mails and phone-calls, even others took the time to socialise with other SOFE participants.

Innovation Warehouse - the Pizza Party

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking, and I was tasked to get these people back to the Park Plaza by 2 o’ clock, and preferably not on an empty stomach! But when worse things come to worst, a team pulls together; Kosta and Julie Cannock from Swift’s London office had arranged for pizzas. Within no time all the food was gone, the drinks were drunk, and on the bus we went, heading back.
Luckily the trip back to the conference centre went much quicker. However, we still were running late, and soon enough it became obvious that we wouldn’t make it back on time…
Finally, we arrived at 2.15pm at the hotel, only to find that there had been a fire alarm, so we couldn’t enter the building and all afternoon SOFE sessions were delayed. And that’s how we arrived on time after all…
All’s well that ends well!

Coincidence? You think?..

 

 

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