I really enjoy a presentation from Mohan Sawhney – I keep coming back to it for a refresher, and to stimulate new ideas. Often there is so much emphasis put on ‘creativity’ as somewhat of an artform in innovation, that the management of the process is forgotten.

Creativity is after all a process about making connections between things that were perhaps unrelated before. That being said, I do believe that people can be more ‘creative’ not just by contemplating their navels and being taken to off-sites, but by having combinations of elements (such as capabilities and assets) being presented to them.

I tried to explain this to a client of ours the other day. He’s a person who naturally ‘sees around corners’ as he puts it. But I explained that not everyone is like that, and for some you have to provide a periscope of sorts to help push their vision around the next bend. Of course, we are building this kind of ‘guided combinatorics’ into our software, to deliver groups of capabilities based on historical innovation patterns to targeted people in an organization. At the very least its thought-provoking and relevant, and at best it may be the seed for a whole new business.