How to Unleash the Entire Innovation Potential with ‘Unconferences’

As already said so many times before; innovation is a necessity for any organization today. But how can you make it happen? In this in-depth article you will learn about an interesting approach to obtaining a huge innovation impulse, in addition to current innovation processes. The approach builds on semi-structured, physical get-togethers in which the principle of self-directness is paramount.

In 1995, Scott E. Page proposed that a heterogeneous group could achieve better results and solutions to a given problem than a homogeneous group of highly qualified people. Unconferences adopt this theorem for innovation work. As a unique, one day event, an unconference can disregard existing innovation structures and processes and not question them. The process is especially well-suited to integrating peripheral innovators into the ideation or innovation process.

Based on case evidence, this article suggests concrete ways of arranging and conducting unconferences. It addresses, in particular, the ambiguity of setting up an event with pre-defined goals while at the same time trusting in self-directedness.

The article also presents three cases that illustrate why unconferences are a good idea, and how they work.

By Marcella Gaeb

About the Author

Marcella Gaeb has been a freelance consultant in Idea and Innovation Management for nearly three years. She was a product innovation manager in a Media company for over four years. In 2005, one of her product developments won an innovation award from the German Initiative for Medium-sized Businesses. In 2006, she founded a forum for the exchange of expertise in open innovation. Since 2007 she has been focusing on new approaches to innovation management, especially in open and user-centric innovation processes. You can reach Marcella at: [email protected]