My Innovation Journey goes where the energy is

This is what I want to do!

Many years ago, while I was still working at Novozymes, I was driving my car home from a workshop. It was Friday night, and I was elated – the workshop had gone really well, and had transformed a pretty worn-out group of participants to an energetic, playful, open and creative bunch of happy people.

Somehow I had managed to release that energy within them; the workshop included 20 oversized balloons, maybe that had something to do with it – maybe.

Anyhow, on the way back, I looked into my rearview mirror, and looked myself into the eye. The second I did that, everything was lightening clear: “This is the kind of stuff that I will devote the rest of my life to!” Crystal clear. And so I did. A few years later, I quit my day job at Novozymes to become a full-time creativity and innovation consultant.

Why waste a scientific career and become an innovation consultant?

And many times since then, people have asked me this: “How come that you have ‘given up’ a high-paid job as a manager/scientist, to become a consultant? Isn’t that a terrible waste?” Something like that.

And my answer is clear: “On the contrary – actually, I believe that my passion for hard-core Excel spreadsheets AND mindmapping have given me the perfect skill set to be an excellent consultant; and my scientific background, with a MSc and PhD in Chemical Engineering, and my MBA in innovation management has given me the perfect tools and experience work in a systematic, yet exploratory manner; and my job experience as a process developer, line manager, project manager and HR consultant has provided me with invaluable experience from working in a corporate environment.

My innovation journey

In the display below, I have tried to give you a one-pager of my background, color coded after different areas:

  • Formal Education: My degrees in chemical engineering and innovation management
  • Institutions & Companies: The various places I’ve been working and studying
  • Publications: Dissertations, papers, patent, books
  • Trainings & Certifications: Trainings, experiental learnings
  • Influencers & Colleagues: People that have influenced me professionally
  • Areas of Expertise: Stuff that I have deep knowledge about
  • Methods & Tools: Methods that I have acquired over the years
  • Innovation Concepts: Stuff that I have developed my self, or have educated myself in

To the extent that there is a link between two items, I have drawn that. Not everything is included, obviously, but it does sum up my Innovation Journey pretty nicely. The display is created with the program Scapple, which is a wonderful concept mapping program.

Blog - My Innovation Journey

Go where the energy is!

The picture above may seem a bit confusing – to mee, it makes perfect sense: Most of my career moves and productions have been governed by my motto:

Go where the energy is

When I look at the overview, I can also see that a lot of my interests have been sparked by

  1. a desire to work with people that I love and respect,
  2. a wish to harness my systematic and scientific approach (see e.g. my blog post on Innovation Indexes),
  3. a pragmatic view on method development, just like when you attend a wedding – something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,
  4. a wish to develop and create new tangible things,
  5. a wish to develop and learn on a personal level

My innovation journey also reflects the services that I offer today:

FORTH Innovation
Has been inspired by Gijs van Wulffen, and the FORTH certification programme, as well as my own development of Ideku, and my innovation books.

Innovation Culture
Lasse Zäll, Paul Levy, and Peter Tolstoy have inspired me here, with their wonderful methods to inspire leadership in groups and individuals.

Innovation Knowledge
Søren Borch and Jørgen Thorball are some of my inspirators here, as well as my MBA program. And early on, Andrew Daugulis inspired me in the field of science.

Innovation Events
Charlotte Rosenberg, Peter Tolstoy and Tony Robbins have inspired me here, as well as countless collaborators over the years. The whole discipline of process facilitation comes into play here.

Innovation Speaker
Paul Levy is my inspiration here, with his intense presence and very untraditional, and very efficient approach to facilitation and learning.

Innovation Training
Charlotte Rosenberg and I have conducted many trainings together, and she never fails to inspire me.

What does your innovation journey look like? Who and what have inspired you to become an innovator?

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