So f%$&# easy
The most valuable ten minutes you will spend listening to anyone talk about innovation, we told our audience before Espen Dalløkken got on the Y stage. Boy, were we right.
When this software developer talks about innovation, you get a cold shower, a good laugh, new insight and a reality check, all at once.
Scratch that itch
The title of Espen Dalløkkens talk is of course ironic. Innovation sounds easy in theory: As humans, when we identify an issue, we apply a solution, and try to find out if it gets better. We find an itch, we scratch it, and we see if it works. If we cannot get to the itch, we scratch the itch with a stick. The next “innovative step” would probably be a digital implant in your hand that summons a robot that scratches your itch, Espen says, and adds: Innovation is to take a college dating app and turn it into a weapon to overthrow governments. He’s talking about Facebook.
The new snake oil
Espen says that failure happens when companies’ goal to be percieved as innovative trumps the actual scratching of itches.
He tells us that we have a tendency to pay people a shit ton of money blowing smoke up our asses, and we call it innovation. In the wild west, he says, they sold snake oil that would cure every problem you had. The snake oil of today is books, seminars, workshops and consultants, all selling us the idea of The Way to unlock your inner innovator as a person or as a company.
Sadly, Espen says, a Google Design Sprint will not transform your company into an innovation powerhouse. He showers us with the cold notion that we desperately want to believe in the fairytales of innovation, but that these are mostly lies. You don’t sit underneath a tree, get hit in the head with an apple and discover gravity.
Thanks for the reality check, man. Now we need a drink.
A serial startup failure back in the saddle working for Norwegian video startup VIBBIO.
Espen have worked as a developer for twenty years as part of small startups or government organizations with positions ranging from coder to CTO. The joy of creating things that help or entertain people is what makes coding fun and why I still do it.