Tracking an innovative path

Once a month I have a boy’s night out at the movies with a group of other guys. We normally have a quick drink, see a movie, then a quick discussion afterwards. As the amateur film critic, I have developed a pattern of thought in where I ask myself: “Are the characters in 3D?” By this I mean, not only do I understand a character’s choices, but I understand why they are making those choices. I don’t want the best mate character to just be goofy, I want to appreciate the timeline that got him to the point where he is now the goofy side kick.

Why am I writing all this down? Well I’ve been thinking about the endless discussion I tend to be involved in around innovation. A constant concern for me is that I simply don’t get why there is so much conversation.

For me innovation is a natural occurrence, like breathing, so why talk about it so much? We don’t call ourselves ‘big advocates for breathing’ and have breathing conferences, do we?

Anyway, last week’s insight was to think about myself the same way as I do about movies and ask: “How did Brendan come to the table with this attitude about innovation?”

The answer was a bit disturbing for me:

  • I’ve lived in 22 houses in three states; eleven whilst I was with my parents and 11 since I left home.
  • I attended three kindergartens, two primary schools, two high schools and two universities.
  • I have had six careers in 25 years; software engineer, soldier, accountant, salesman, marketer and entrepreneur.
  • I have setup new operations for others in Australia, Romania, Hong Kong, Vietnam & Indonesia.
  • I’ve been a founder or co-founder of six businesses; Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, Flinders Pacific & The Churchill Club.

I realised that probably the one constant in my life has been change. No wonder I can’t understand why people talk about innovation. Innovation is simply about change that adds value, and I don’t know anything else.

So my advice is that the next time you are in negotiation with some staff, don’t just think about their position, think like it was a movie and ask yourself: “How did they get to this position?” The insight is well worth it.


Brendan Lewis is a serial technology entrepreneur having founded : Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, The Churchill Club, Flinders Pacific and L2i Technology Advisory. He has set up businesses for others in Romania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Qualified in IT and Accounting, he has also spent time running an Advertising agency and as a Cavalry Officer with the Australian Army Reserve.

To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here


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