We asked the experts: How can you create innovation?

Our focus is on empowering people to be real-world ready. One of the fundamental ways of ensuring this is to work with thought leaders – professionals on the cutting edge, working daily with emerging technologies, trailblazing new ways of working, and shaping the world of work.

Our close relationship with the industry is perhaps one of the earliest examples of Hyper Island innovating within education. Do you know [the story of how Hyper Island was created](https://www.hyperisland.com/about)?

The year was 1996. While working with a “groundbreaking new technology” (CD-Rom – a gamechanger at the time), Lars Lundh, Jonathan Briggs, and David Erixon were on the lookout for the very best talent to help bring their project to life.

They quickly discovered that the speed of technology had overtaken the speed of the traditional education system. They weren’t looking for students versed in computer programmes that were obsolete by the time they graduated; they needed students with the mindset to continually learn new skills, new programmes. They needed students who could keep up with the pace of the change.  And so, Hyper Island was born.   

Our founders experienced first hand the opportunity to innovate and they acted upon it. In this scenario, it was the need for a new type of education – an institution of professional learning designed based on flexibility in anticipating and dealing with change. Working closely with industry experts with hands-on real world experience helped guide them through applying these learnings to real world briefs.

At Hyper Island today, we still follow this model throughout of our programmes and courses. We collaborate with a wide network of industry experts, who help craft learning experiences.

Our latest course, [Creating Innovation](https://www.hyperisland.com/programs-and-courses/creating-innovation) led us to ask some of the brightest minds in our network for their take on how to create innovation.

Here’s what they told us:

[Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten](https://www.linkedin.com/in/borisvvz/), founder and CEO at TNW:

“Innovation is not something extra, on the side, or to add later. It needs to be the guiding principle in everything you do. Innovation, simply put, is a desire to make things better, in the broadest sense of the word. It is a not clean, not safe, not comfortable, but it is necessary.”

[Dr. Joana Casaca Lemos](https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanacasacalemos/), designer and researcher:

“From my experience as a designer, innovation is not something one creates, per se. It is rather a journey in practice through prototyping and evaluation that paves way to innovation. It is a context-based iterative process of making.”

[Nalden] (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nalden/), co-founder & CIO at WeTransfer:

“To me innovation often only comes from seeing a system from different points of view. You’ll need the ability to see the larger system and then helping people see the larger system is essential to building a shared understanding of complex problems.

You’ll need to create the space where people living with the problem can come together to tell the truth, think more deeply about what is really happening, explore options beyond popular thinking, and search for higher leverage changes through progressive cycles of action and reflection and learning over time.

Plans are, of course, always needed, but without openness people can miss what is emerging, like a sailor so committed to his initial course that he won’t adjust to shifts in the wind. You’ll need to have a strategy, but the ones who are most effective learn to “follow the energy” and set aside their strategy when unexpected paths and opportunities emerge.”

[Lars Crama](https://www.linkedin.com/in/larscrama/), international strategy and business development specialist:

“Corporate innovation requires top level support and an ecosystem where intrapreneurs can thrive. The most successful enterprises I work with have a clear innovation thesis and empower their people with a new mindset, skillset and toolset for innovation.”

[Jennifer Allen] (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-allen-3a5a941/), managing director of Hyper Island US:

“The term is actually quite broad – to create something new – and is usually set up in opposition to “incremental improvement” which supposedly doesn’t involve a new idea, a new approach, a new paradigm, a new way of doing something familiar, etc.

Innovation has come to mean something that is more about the effect it has – does it lead to a new market, customer, revenue stream? Does it meet an old need in a new way, meet two needs at once? How does it make you – the innovator – feel? Which is to say that innovation is something not just to create but to experience.

Asking yourself why innovation is important to you is key. There are a lot of problems that innovation seems to (and likely could) answer: our current business is being challenged or disrupted, our teams aren’t free to be creative, leadership struggles to provide an inspiring vision. Starting with why you want or need innovation and how it will feel, seems hokey, and maybe beside the point – all the more reason to do it. Because the first step is to recognize that innovation (the kind you want), is not a logic problem. If it were, you’d be doing it already. And since it’s not a logic problem, you need to engage other parts of your brain to think differently.”

[Brian Millar] (https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianmillar/), co-founder of Paddle Consulting:

“In the last decade, the world’s smartest creatives have been getting more and more intimate with data. EA, Activision and Netflix’s top content creators don’t just use it to test their ideas, they use it to inspire them. Ideas that are inspired by data have a better chance of being a hit with consumers. They’re also easier to sell to multinational boards, venture capitalists and store buyers.”

[Simone Seiter](https://www.linkedin.com/in/simone-seiter-63893a30/), digital innovation and brand strategy consultant:

“Digital innovation can create huge value and move the world forward – at the same time, it can come with unintended consequences that can harm users, society and ultimately the organisation itself. It’s important to think critically about the whole system in which an innovation will be embedded, and make ethical decisions based on values that are of central interest to those who will directly or indirectly be touched by it.”

[Stefan Wendin](https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefanwendin/), global speaker, strategic advisor and creative director at Co:LabX:

“Innovation is in a sense the somewhat lost art form of letting go.The paradox of innovation: is that in order to master and control it, you first have to let go of it. The key to master the new and unknown is to let go of the old. You have to innovate yourself before anything else.”

[Wanda Rossi](https://www.linkedin.com/in/wandarossi/), senior agile coach at Orsted Wind Power:

“Working in corporate innovation means going for the long run. I try to role-model the behaviours that encourage innovation. I’ve made good experiences with exchanging judgement with curiosity, frustration with serenity and the urge to protect myself in a secretive environment with openness, honesty and clear statements about what I need to support organisational change. Whatever behaviours I choose, they inspire similar ones.”

[Pieter Paul van Oerle](https://www.linkedin.com/in/pieterpaul/), innovation lead at Accenture Netherlands, strategy director at TNW:

“Innovation = Better together.I’m afraid there is not one golden bullet for Innovation. Innovation is about providing direction, building a foundation, experimenting, testing, scaling concepts, and measuring the results. A great way to accelerate innovation is to source solutions for key innovation challenges in the global tech community. If YOU can formulate a challenge – someone, somewhere has built (parts of) your solution before.”

[Jenny Elissen] (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenny-elissen-a0660b3/), co-founder Perfect World Principle:

“Innovation is stepping into different realities. Everything is already there. You have to stop searching and start finding it in everything that’s around you. To do that you have to play and imagine new realities that you love. When you’ve found what you really would love to see for the world, you stop fighting innovation dilemmas but fool them. This fantasy heals yourself and the world of limiting beliefs. The perfect space. The act of innovation is already happening!”

[Jakob Wolman](https://www.linkedin.com/in/jakobwolman), innovation coach at Qlik:

“How do you create innovation? By facilitating a space where innovation and learning can happen. Help people see opportunities, test assumptions and make data driven decisions around whether we should invest in the idea or kill it off.”

[Chris Rawlinson](https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopherrawlinson/), founder 42courses and former head of innovation at Ogilvy & Mather Africa: “My definition of innovation is that it’s simply creativity executed. For your question I guess it partly depends on who the audience is. If it’s an individual then I would say you need to have a think, come up with a new and original idea, and then make it a reality.

If it’s for a company then to make innovation happen you need to empower people to be able to actually create and test something out in the real world, otherwise innovation will never happen no matter how many great ideas your company has….it fits a bit into autonomy, mastery and purpose. i.e if people have autonomy, mastery and purpose in the workplace then innovation is much easier.”

[Andy Young](https://www.linkedin.com/in/andyyoungdesign/), design and innovation consultant:

“You find the right people. People up for the challenge. You create conditions and space for change to happen – openness, trust, transparency- the environment they work in, their job roles, responsibilities, the red tape. You champion them trying new things out and learning on the move – you move fast…and you keep going.”

[Rebecca Taylor](https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccataylor1/), scholar, practitioner and founding partner of The Curiosity Bureau:

“Innovation is looking at what exists and experimenting with alternatives, variations and possibility. The outcomes of innovation might be subtle changes to a system, to making fundamental shifts in worldviews, to transformations of space and place to transformations of organisational cultures and re-configurations, to making discreet changes in your personal life to making significant changes in your home, in your workplace, in your neighbourhood, in society in general.”

This post was written by [Emily Hinks] (https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilyhinks/), Hyper Island [alumnus] (https://www.hyperisland.com/community/news/meet-emily-hinks), self-described creative explorer, founder of facilitation agency Mischief Makers, and course leader of the upcoming [Creating Innovation] (https://www.hyperisland.com/programs-and-courses/creating-innovation) course.

[Sign up here for the Creating Innovation] (https://www.hyperisland.com/programs-and-courses/creating-innovation) course starting soon!