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FUSE2016: What You Need To Know About Innovation

02/11/2016 By Simon La Fosse

Innovation, inspiration and taking a creative approach to challenges. These are at the heart of what we do at La Fosse. So at FUSE2016, we invited a crack team of thought leaders to share their experiences and exchange knowledge about creativity in business.  

Simon La Fosse, Caroline Hopkins and Sam Knight on stage at FUSE 2016

Our expert panel offered practical steps on securing support from the start and how to react to setbacks along the way. We heard inspiring, practical testimony on how to find and partner with start-ups, new ways to widen the recruitment net to find undiscovered talent and how coding courses will be the key to changing boardroom DNA. It made for some lively discussions about the need for diversity, a better understanding of the impact of digital and the behaviour of Millennials. 

Opening the event, La Fosse MD James Parker explained how constant innovation has kept La Fosse growing for 9 years. The kind of growth that’s impossible to sustain unless you keep things fresh and constantly re-invent.  

Creating Creative Solutions

Simon Calver, founding partner of BGF Ventures, warned CIOs about the shrinking atomicity of the average company. One CIO’s threat is another’s opportunity, so creativity has never been more important. Be inspired by Calver’s practical advice, based on his own experiences with Lovefilm and Mothercare, where he was the brains behind inventive schemes that created mass customer loyalty at surprisingly low costs. Are you starting a new venture? Simon reveals how much money you’ll need here

Carol Hopkins, business and innovation director at ENGIE, and Sam Knight, founder of Pollen8, described how they set about Creating an Environment for Successful Innovation. Two years ago, the company had a revelation. “We realised we had to change to survive.” Their strategy was bold and seemingly reckless. Hopkins went on to dare colleagues to be inventive and unafraid of failure. Find out how her brave and innovative approach reaped considerable rewards.  

Meanwhile, Sam Knight had some counter intuitive proposals. Pay people to let their creative offerings die and give awards to business ideas that fail. It’s all part of the process of energising creative processes to stimulate the ideas economy. Did it work? Find out here

An important criteria for successful evolution is diversity. The wider the gene pool, the more variants you can create and the more likely you are to survive when others don’t. The tragedy for the IT industry, as Adam Freeman of Freeformers admitted, is its lack of human diversity. Freeman’s ingenious scheme to attract fresh blood is explained here.

Lewie Allen, MD of ad agency fortysix and one of Freeman’s hires, explained how an inventive new recruitment policy has helped to cultivate creativity and bring out the unique talents of the formerly marginalised. It’s an approach that could be applied to our education system too. Allen gave a fascinating account of how inventive educational methods and unconventional recruiting tactics created a more vibrant and eclectic talent pool. Click here for his fresh perspective.  

Collaboration over Competition

Corporates and start-ups often see themselves in competitionHowever, Diane Perlman, global CMO of research company Mass Challenge, unveiled research indicating this relationship is changing as both wake up to the incredible opportunities found in collaboration. 82% of corporations now accept the strategic importance of working with start-ups, since they have the agility that big company culture lacks. And 67% of them prefer working with start-ups at an early stage, according to Perlman. 

The big company-small company symbiosis was exemplified in a final talk by two COOs from opposite ends of the size spectrum. 

Andy Haywood, group COO of N Brown PLC spoke of his amazement at how quickly start-ups finish projects compared to large companies. Liberty Mawhood, COO of L Marks, who facilitates many of these partnerships, gave some great advice on how to overcome barriers and differences of expectation. 

Addressing the Cultural Mismatch

In closing the event, La Fosse chairman Jonathan McKay outlined the challenge that La Fosse sees senior technology leaders facing. 

There is no shortage of start-ups and money is no longer the issue it was thanks to more readily available capital and favourable tax conditions. The biggest challenge, said McKay, is the cultural mismatch between start-ups and corporates. Young companies tend to rebel, defying accepted wisdom. However, senior technology leaders in corporates will have the knowledge, experience and context to bring out the best of the start-up’s energy and guide them to be most effective. 

This is where La Fosse can help. Our mission at FUSE2016 was to blend the creativity of start-ups and the wisdom of corporate technology leaders. This was La Fosse’s 9th annual conference, and we continue to host these events to bring people together. If you would like to find out more on our events or about La Fosse's offerings, please get in touch

 

Guests at FUSE 2016, held at Altitude with views across London

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