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Fail Fast and The Purple One (Part I)

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On this last day of the conference FEI saved the very best
and brought out the big guns, Tom Kelley of IDEO and writer/entrepreneur Seth
Godin. Visionaries, legends and icons are words you can safely use in
describing them.
I have not had the privilege of hearing either of them speak
but knew of them from Ted Talks and the numerous books and articles they've
authored. It's safe to compare the experience to putting on a Rolling Stones
album versus seeing them live.
First came Tom Kelley who had a very simple, straightforward
prose and presentation. It still remains dense and rich with insight from his
decades in the game. He had three very simple points as follows:
1)           
Blend tech with humanity
'Seek to understand people more
deeply.' This is at the heart of all innovation; human understanding that is
genuinely empathetic to the end user that understands the world they live in,
what problems they have and where you can fit into that world. This is such a
simple concept that innovators all too often forget or take for granted. Understand
the problem and use the wonders of modernity to address the issue
2)           
Treat life as an experiment
'Prototyping and experimenting quickly
accelerates the idea.' Rapid prototyping and fail fast right? I'll say it
again, rapid prototyping and fail fast. As children we learn through
experimenting, we learn more through our failure than through success. The
quicker, more rudimentary and aggressively you do this, the faster and further
down the road your idea will go.
3)           
Leverage the power of storytelling
'This is how data comes to life.' When
you tell stories laden with emotion and drama you humanize the issue, to borrow
from Mr. Kelley, this is the 'theater of the mind.' You want the listener to be
able to see ice bath from the hastily performed 'organ donation' or the tragedy
of the loyal dog waiting for his never-to-return master.

This is wisdom from someone who set
the track records and has more wisdom because he has been at it longer than
most anyone in the design consulting game. People pay thousands of dollars to
be in the same room and hear his presentation and for good reason. The only thing
I can see missing would be Tom Kelley dropping the microphone as Jay Z might
do. Mind blown, thanks Tom and FEI.

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FEI USA: Front End of Innovation

28 - 30 Jul 2020, Boston, MA
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