Towards a Science of Innovation with Larry Keeley

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - 12:00
OCAD Auditorium, 100 McCaul St.
Community members: 

Are there proven methods for creating the future? With high stakes and higher rates of failure, how do innovation efforts improve their odds? What are the core problems of innovation and who is most competent to solve them?

While many have advocated approaches to innovation that highlight creativity and imagination, brainstorming and "outside the box" thinking, there has been a quiet minority who have argued that innovation must be crafted into a legitimate discipline. Successful innovation, they argue, can not only be measured, it can be scientific. Larry Keeley is an innovation strategist who often wonders why people bother to listen to innovation "experts" at all. After all, since innovation fails about 96% of the time, it seems self-evident that the field has advanced to about the same state as medicine when leeches, liniments and mystery potions were the sophisticated treatments of the day. On occasions when Larry can get someone to listen, he is inclined to reveal pieces of the emerging science of innovation that is at the heart of Doblin's practice. By being obsessive about identifying the root causes of innovation failure and injecting better methods, it is now possible to systematically boost innovation 'hit rates' to between 35% and 70%. That still isn't perfect but it is an improvement of 10-15 times over the pathetic results people try to convince themselves is "normal."

About the Speaker:
Larry Keeley is a co-founder of Doblin and had Jay Doblin as a mentor for a decade. He is current president of Doblin, and a frequent lecturer about frontiers of innovation and strategy. Larry has worked with a wide variety of pioneering enterprises since 1979. A board member for the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology, where he also teaches graduate level innovation strategy classes, Larry also lectures in innovation at Kellogg and University of Chicago. He is a board member for WBEZ-FM in Chicago, where he has been instrumental in charting strategies that have made it the nation’s most innovative public radio station.