Marty Neumeier and Alfredo Muccino speak at DIEN – a conference about innovation and design in Santiago, Chile.
February 7, 2013 at 10:00 am
The DIEN Conference: A global perspective on innovation.
Chile is serious about business creativity. In fact, President Sebastian Piñera has focused attention on the subject by declaring 2013 the “Year of Innovation.” As part of this effort, the government hired our LATAM office, MagiaLiquid, to develop a brand awareness program named “Imagine Chile.” The goal of the program is to bring a new spirit of innovation to Chile, from the boardroom to the startup garage. The DIEN Conference, also organized by MagiaLiquid, kicked off the year by bringing innovation experts from around the world to speak directly to the business community about Design Thinking, Service Design and other relevant topics. The lineup included keynote speaker Marty Neumeier, Liquid’s Director of Transformation; Alfredo Muccino, Liquid’s co-founder and Chief Creative Officer; and Cristian Montegu, President of MagiaLiquid in Santiago. Other speakers were Chuck Eichten from Nike; Scot Herbst from Herbstprodukt; Birgit Mager, founder of the Service Design Network; Per Kristiansen, Lego Serious Play; Ville Kokkonen, Artek; and Daniel Pandza, founder of the PassionBusiness Project.
Two days of presentations and hands-on workshops.
The Chilean Minister of the Economy opened the conference by speaking eloquently about the need for innovation and role of design. To encourage the incubation of innovative businesses, the Chilean government has launched StartUp Chile to provide seed funding as well as access to resources. It so happened that the DIEN event coincided with the Biennial of Design in Chile, allowing both events to share a historic space in a converted train station designed by Gustave Eiffel. The Biennial showcased work from spheres as diverse as industrial design, fashion design, furniture design, and graphic design, while the DIEN conference combined 45-minute talks with 90-minute workshops so that executives and entrepreneurs could work directly with the international experts. Both the talks and workshops were standing room only.
Marty Neumeier discussed the metaskills we need for future success.
Marty outlined key concepts from his new book, Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age, a roadmap for innovation in the 21st century. “Today’s widespread unemployment is not a jobs crisis,” he said. “It’s a talent crisis. Technology is taking every job that doesn’t need a high degree of creativity, humanity, or leadership.” He showed how the “robot curve”—a constant waterfall of obsolescence and opportunity—demands that we continuously dirve toward more and more creativity as jobs and roles are “downsourced” to rote programs, robotic devices, and algorithms. His solution is for workers to develop five high-level talents, or metaskills, that include feeling, seeing, dreaming, making, and learning—talents we were never taught in school. After the presentation, Marty signed copies of his book for attendees, and later led a workshop to help participants better understand the book’s concepts through hands-on exercises.
Alfredo Muccino outlined what it takes to build a culture of innovation.
Alfredo underscored the fact that many companies talk about innovation, but few know how to do it. He believes there’s little understanding around building a sustainable model of success, since this requires not just occasional innovation, but a “culture” of innovation. He dissected the various issues involved in moving to a more creative culture, offering insightful views based on his exposure to scores of innovative companies in Silicon Valley. He listed a number of conditions necessary for innovation, such as challenging the status quo, encouraging multiple ideas, establishing new processes, and recognizing new solutions. He followed his presentation with a workshop (delivered in Spanish!) so that participants could explore how the ideas in his talk could map to real-world business problems.
Cristián Montegu explained Silicon Valley Thinking.
Cristián runs MagiaLiquid in Santiago, and has never lived in Silicon Valley. Yet this didn’t stop him from delivering a passionate and detailed outline of Silicon Valley Thinking—an approach to problem solving pioneered by hundreds of successful companies in the technology capital of the world. He made the case that Silicon Valley is as much a state of mind as a geographical location, and challenged Chilean business leaders to take risks and build on failure—the same attitude that drove companies such as Apple, Intel, Google, and HP. He explained how to develop strategies in parallel with execution, keeping the process “liquid” to better adapt to ever-changing business conditions. He compared the process to designers building prototypes on the fly, learning from each iteration, so that the outcome is both surprising and innovative.
Chile is poised to be the Silicon Valley of LATAM.
Chile’s economy is heavily dependent on natural resources such as agriculture and copper (close to half of it’s income derives from mining), making tremendous strides in growth and development. About half the population in this long, thin country resides in the center, in Santiago, where the government’s commitment to innovation is concentrated. With its StartUp Chile program, it has encouraged entrepreneurs from around the world to start new business here, attracted by the climate of innovation and economic momentum. Other public sector organizations like CORFO are dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and growth in the country. Chile now has the highest number of Internet users in Latin America, and ranks 11th in the world in mobile phone use, on track to becoming the IT hub of the region. These are a few of the reasons why Liquid has established its LATAM office in Santiago. We’re excited to work with the government and play an active role in making innovation a key national initiative. Stay tuned for a peek at our “Imagine Chile” campaign, coming soon.
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Photos courtesy of María José Pedraza, a visual artist dedicated to the development of the image through various disciplines such as painting, drawing, printmaking, collage and photography.