Autodesk's Tom Wujec delivered a rarity -- an engaging 45-minute presentation, focusing on technology and innovation. Working several good real-life examples of everything from clever marketing to biomimicry to develop more efficient propellers, Wujec touched on his "4 Qualities of Innovative Thinking" that drive success:
- 360-degree thinking
- Build prototypes / frameworks
- Collaborate creatively
- Impeccable execution
Wujec put what may have been a surprising amount of emphasis on building prototypes, and to illustrate its importance, he introduced the crowd to The Marshmallow Challenge.
The Marshmall Challenge involves teams of four, an 18-minute time limit, 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and a marshmallow. The challenge? Which team can build the tallest freestanding structure using those elements, with the marshmallow placed on the top?
The answers can be surprising when you compare the results of teams made of CEO's, engineer/architects, 5-year-olds, and recent business school graduates. Some of the underlying data behind those results is also telling. I encourage you to swing by www.marshmallowchallenge.com when you have a break, and see his TED presentation about on the idea (and if you're familiar with the TED events, you know not just anyone gets a slot there).
More on this and other news of note from this year's Niagarapalooza (Sedonapalooza?) (what, you think they should stick with the name they've got?) later.