Event Coverage: Intersection Event Brings Together Variety of Great Minds
I participated in and covered for Technorati the 2012 session of The Intersection Event, an annual conference of hand-selected attendees from a variety of backgrounds, all considered innovators in their particular field, whether social networking, gaming, education, faith, law, entertainment, technology, charitable giving and more. This year, Intersection was held at the beautiful headquarters of Pixar Entertainment.
The morning session began with Dr. Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Entertainment, sharing his family's ongoing efforts in helping others in Cambodia, as he welcomed the participants to the 12-year-old facility, built, as Catmull pointed out, "to create chance meetings, or intersections, at its very center".
Reminding participants of Steve Jobs' role at Pixar, Catmull cited Jobs' method of helping the cinematic powerhouse's successful rise by listening to project discussions, then lending his visionary voice to ensure everyone understood what was needed - an intersection in his own right.
Randy Haykin, co-founder of The Gratitude Network and event moderator, introduced the concept of the event's personal and professional intersections, asking participants to seek out and discover commonalities throughout the day.
The Ice Hotel
Frans Johansson, speaker and author of The Medici Effect, got to the meat of the event, sharing through a visually vibrant presentation that the "best chance at coming up with something ground-breaking is combining widely divergent ideas". Citing an almost halving of the average company's life-span on the S & P 500 over the last decade, Johannson stated company survival comes, these days, largely "through innovation."
Using the example of a Harare, Zimbabwe building that keeps cool without air conditioning by borrowing in its design from, of all things, the towering temperature-controlled structures of termites, Johansson drove home innovation through intersection.
Correlating success with repeated attempts and varying a multitude of projects, Johannson pointed out Picasso's 50,000 paintings, Google's 100s of sideline tech projects, and Einstein's 200+ papers written. Creating a diverse team, added Johansson, "can unleash an explosion of new ideas" as you allow them to come up with a plentitude of projects.
Johansson used the inherent risks associated with skydiving to discuss sliding scales of risk we all have in our lives, and encouraged participants to steer clear of the comfortable, and to always seek some measure of risk, to grow in our personal and professional lives.
Citing sweden's famous Ice Hotel, Johansson discussed the concept of smaller, more agile ideation, moving from one small idea, and steering (or completely reversing) based on feedback, to conserve money (and even reputation) while moving toward success. The hotel grew from an idea of an ice museum, ice gallery, media center and finally it's now famous iteration.Continued on the next page