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The ISPIM experience

A week ago I had the best conference ever, now with the exams and its administration behind me I can finally blog about it. I must say, with the tight schedule (208 presentations in 5 parallel tracks, each having only 15 min presentation time) I was skeptical about the time to discuss the topics. However the breaks and the social events in the evening did provide quite some time to talk. I've connected with some amazing people.

There is still quite some reading to do. The talks where so fast, you had little time to do anything else that follow the presenters. I've scribbled down some notes and try to remember what it was about. It would also take too long to discuss all the interesting presentations, so lets skip it and go to the social events. Of course our talks where always about innovation or related topic, you know I can't stop talking about stuff as discontinuous innovation, creativity, cognition, novelty, complexity, evolution ... but also crazy ideas about politics etc.

During the first night we had a buffet, this is where encountered Rob Drew and Brett Still who I would get to know better during the rest of the conference. I connected quite fast with Rob because of our background in Artificial Intelligence. Rob would give a presentation the other day about mixed-groups, something quite related to bootstrapping and I still need to contact him about possible future collaboration. I guess I've been talking to Brett the most during the conference, mostly on the first and the last day. Brett's interest in the conference was one from a governmental point of view and we had conversations in such a broad range it would be impossible to give a summary here. The bottom line is, like Brett says it "we had a meeting of minds" and I hope we can keep the conversations alive. I had a similar experience on the second and the third day, this is why the conference was so great, so many people I could find thinking about the same problems.

The second day I've found Andre, by then I had checked the list of participants and noticed he came from Belgium, even partly from the same university. We talked a lot during breaks and on the gala diner that evening, in again a beautiful setting with great food. The second day was the first day of the conference and I had to give my presentation. Although the time was a problem I received good response and this is how I got in contact with Dirk Balfanz. I noticed that we had a bit of a problem as I hadn't been able to see Dirk's work yet, but he was going to present the other day. Sadly the switching between rooms was not synchronized and I got half-way into his presentation. He was so kind to present me his work and we had a very long and deep discussion in the afternoon about virtual-enterprises. I still got a lot work to do there, but hope we can collaborate on the concept.

During that evening of the second conference day (so the third evening), we had again a great diner and some absolute fabulous whine. I was sitting with my girlfriend on a table with 6 other people we didn't know. How coincidental that the person sitting next to me was Bruce Vojak, who wasn't only interested in innovation management, but we connected on the whole "cognitive force behind the hard problem of innovation" as well. Probably some people around the table would have found us asocial, but if you find some one who has been on the same quest, you just can't stop. I'm astonished to be fair. Not in my wildest dreams would I have expect some one to have used the "driving a bike" metaphor and use cognitive Gestalt-example to explain innovation. I even found a very good cognitive example in one of the papers he send me. I've expected to find partners at ISPIM, but didn't expect to find the something so close to the core of my work. I hope we can work closely together.

I still got to talk about the last day. I've missed Mike Jackson's presentation, but noticed the similarities with my Enterprise Innovation Planning, after reading he's paper I'm again astonished how close the concepts are. He mixes "complex adaptive systems" with Web 2.0 technology too, that was more or less what I was coming to present on ISPIM, but then from a more theoretical perspective. I hope there is some room to collaborate on the EIP project. I was already suggested to talk with Semon Dewulf for my project and he was a keynote presenter. That gave me a good idea what he is doing and we agreed that I would visit him. I've even been on the conference untill the very last possible moment (without loosing my flight). To participate in Wim Vanhaverbeke's workshop. I know Wim for a while now, he has helped me a lot in the past year with some suggestions. The workshop was a great experience as well. As should be clear I've met some great people and saw some great presentations. I'll probably have my hands full trying to keep it all in motion, but I'm hopeful and ... what a great experience it has been !