Having seen many of the TED talks, I came across “The Era of Open Innovation” and  knew exactly who I thought to be an influential speaker at Buknell: Charles Leadbeater

Leadbeater, a researcher at the London think tank, has prompted some of the world’s largest organizations to reorganize their strategies. Originally a financial journalist, Leadbeater took notice of the rise of “amateur innovation” and offered his theory of allowing consumers to be a voice of innovation rather than relying on big corporations to be the main voice of creativity.

Charles Leadbeater argues that innovation isn't just for professionals anymore

Charles Leadbeater argues that innovation isn’t just for professionals anymore

He begins his casual talk with the invention of the mountain bike. Sourced in Northern California, the mountain bike was introduced, constructed, and sold by “pro-ams” – passionate amateurs who act like professionals – who sought a need for a certain type of product that had not been created. Here he stresses that contrary to popular belief, society does not need an organization to be organized. Individuals can achieve large and complex tasks like innovating new programs, tools, or products on their own. He urges his listeners to break the mold of the traditional corporate model – special ideas, special people, and special places used on passive consumers – and begin to work at their leisure, to invest their time, and to acquire skills in order to achieve their goals.

I believe Leadbeater will be a wonderful person to speak at Bucknell because of his appreciation of the power of individuals. At an elite school like Bucknell, young adults are consumed with making the most money at some consulting or accounting firm, and doing everything they possibly can to get on top. We need to break away from such a corporate – driven mentality and learn the importance of becoming leaders in innovation. As Millenials we have the technology to create what Leadbeater calls “a tremendous movement”, and it is up to us to use our resources to achieve success we thought could only be attained by big corporations.

About Steph P.

Business Government and Society

7 responses »

  1. Lindsey F. says:

    I agree with your idea that we need to move away from a corporate-driven mentality. I feel that people know are only concerned with working for a large corporation and making a lot of money. This speaker would be a great change of pace for people start realizing that innovation is the way of the future and it’s not all about the big corporations.

  2. Matt says:

    I think this would also send the proper message regarding entrepreneurism. Like you said, it is easy to think only VP’s of New Ventures at Proctor and Gamble can invent the next big thing, to downplay your own creativity, intelligence, and value. I also think he would probably remind us of a very important point, however: that not everyone has to be a Mark Zuckerburg. People tend to associate entrepreneurs and startups with the big cheese, but in reality, we can all be entrepreneurs; we all have our own passions and strengths and we all touch different lives in different ways. The American Dream is the self-made man, where rugged individualism and hard work advance society. It’s about the Davids, not the Goliaths.

  3. Charles says:

    I think he would be a thought provoking speaker, to thwart the idea that innovation somehow only begins in cubicles or in big buildings. There have been stories of people are age creating apps, businesses, and websites however we do not usually think of that possibility being available to us. This speaker would inspire the student body, to not sit back and wait for people to take your ideas. But to act on your ideas, and see what comes of it.

  4. Steph P. says:

    I think it is interesting to note that when consumers become the producers, we are able to eliminate the resources we would use on an invention that was really not needed, leading to a waste in time, money, and resources. Inventing products to make our own lives more convenient is extremely efficient, and will definitely better society as a whole. Unlike companies, consumers are confident about what they want. Radical innovation tends to have a great deal of uncertainty and corporations benefit from high payoffs when uncertainties are highest.

  5. Jordi says:

    I am generation X. Not you! You are millenials, or gen y… or maybe some other term.

  6. Jordi says:

    I like how the example is a physical product instead of software. Open source software is interesting and similar, but it makes the point that open innovation is not “only” in the realm of geeky software.

  7. wesmw says:

    I find your last point about Bucknell extremely interesting. I agree with you that too many students (including myself) are too concerned about finding the ideal job with will quickly get them on top. As a result of this phenomenon, I think that a lot of students here at school don’t necessarily realize that they have certain attributes that can contribute to society in different ways.

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