After what seems an eternity of preparation, NESTA Connect's new programme kicked off in some style at the RSA on Thursday. Open alchemy is an exercise in collaborative innovation between non-competing companies linked by a shared supplier, Oracle. The hypothesis we are testing is that if we link up a diverse group of one company's major clients and ask them to innovate together we will get just the right balance of common interest and productive weirdness. We'll see!
Anyway at least everyone turned up (in no particular order Lloyds TSB, NHS, Virgin Atlantic, Unilever, BT, Arup, Rolls Royce, Cancer Research UK, Pfizer, BBC, Vocalink, Dept of Transport, Interbrand). The evening was ably facilitated by Innovaro who are a core team member with us and Oracle. This enabled our diverse group to choose four agreed future trends/themes which were adapted from Innovaro's Gamechanger programme. This first meeting (or Catalyst Dinner) will now lead to a 24 hr innovation workshop in June called the Reaction Chamber where we will develop these themes to provide breakthrough innovations, or at least concepts which we can work on together. More news nearer the time but on this evidence it seems that the idea of linking companies together like this could well be a scaleable idea.
I'm also delighted to see some of the themes we discussed on the night are already generating comment.