What can business events learn from ingenious Australians? micenet AUSTRALIA recently spoke to founder of the Ingenious Oz Project, Nigel Collin, to find out.

Q. What is Ingenious Oz Project?

A. It’s an initiative to find and share real life stories of everyday Australians who have had ingenious ideas and made them happen. The goal is to share those stories and help others pursue their ideas.

Q. What benefit is that for business events?

A. I believe we learn best when we step outside our own worlds and see things from the point of view of others. By looking at examples and case studies of ingenuity outside of the world of meetings and events, we can actually see things more clearly, draw parallels, and learn from what others in all sorts of different arenas are doing. I think it’s also important to look at ‘grass-roots’ examples of what people are doing rather than focus on the leviathans of industry because that’s when it becomes real and useful.

Q. So what are some of the lessons?

A. Firstly, the more I travel the more my belief is confirmed that often the best opportunities come when you least expect them to. Some of the best stories I’ve come across have been completely through serendipity. That confirms my belief that it’s when you drop your agenda and are completely open to possibilities that the best opportunities present themselves. That’s a big lesson because so often we become narrow focused and miss the best stuff. We play it safe. I think the beauty of meetings and conferences is the conversations you have outside of the scheduled sessions – if you are open to them.

The second lesson is that we are an incredibly clever nation and just need to trust and believe in our ingenuity more. When it comes to meetings and events we need to be more adventurous to help our clients deliver their messages and outcomes. Let’s face it, business events are all about influencing behaviours and thinking. You can’t do that if you aren’t confident about your own ability. Talking to everyday people from all walks of life has proved to me that us Aussies are a very inventive and clever bunch.

Q. The people you interview are mostly from regional or remote Australia. What’s the biggest thing we can learn from them?

A. When people in remote Australia have an idea they think is worth pursuing they just do it. They don’t have endless committee meetings or bring in experts or waste energy on perfecting the best method of execution. They simply have an idea and give it a go. There’s a huge lesson in that because ideas never happen if they aren’t acted upon and so often we waste time and resources contemplating the best alternatives and want everyone telling us it’s brilliant and going to work, or we commission endless studies and research papers.

Because people living in rural Australia don’t have the luxury of such things they just make their ideas happen. Sure, they might not get them right or perfect, or heaven forbid, may even stuff them up and fail, but they get their ideas out there in the world. I think that’s something all of us can learn from.

Q. Why is the word ‘ingenious’ important?

A. I think the answer to that lies in its meaning. Ingenious is about being clever, being unique and being fit for purpose. As an industry we can’t afford to be complacent or rely on the status quo because our clients expect more and the world, along with our competitors, will simply sail past us. So being ingenious is vital because we need to be clever in the way we do things; we need to offer unique solutions, and most importantly we need to ensure that everything we do, every idea we have, is fit for purpose. In other words, our ideas are relevant, make a difference, and hit the brief. It’s one thing to have a creative and innovative concept, but if it doesn’t solve a problem or deliver the outcome needed then it’s a complete waste of time.

Q. When you present a keynote at a conference, what outcomes can your clients expect?

A. It’s really about two things. Firstly, inspiring people to believe in their own abilities and to pursue their ideas, and secondly, offering
practical ideas and strategies to make things happen. m

Nigel is the founder of ‘Ingenious Oz Project’ and speaks regularly at conferences on ingenious ideas and ingenious conversations.

For more information visit www.ingeniousoz.com.au.