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Interview with Dimis Michaelides

Dimis Michaelides is an expert on leadership, innovation and creativity, whose keynotes often include a touch of … magic! In 2007 he published The Art of Innovation – Integrating Creativity in Organizations and developed a methodology to help organizations, teams and individuals achieve their full creativity and innovation potential.

What kind of unique experiences have you had as a result of your profession?

Acting as Master of Ceremonies (with a little magic) – presenting prize-winning innovation teams from all over the world for Banque Nationale de Paris … Speaking in the awe-inspiring ambiance the Benedictine Abbey of San Pietro in Assisi, Italy … Opening Innovation Day for Universidad del Rosario, Bogota, Colombia and Turkey Innovation Week, Ankara in the same week … Getting the magic timing in sync with the translation in an Audi product launch in Chengdu, China … A keynote on Innovation Leadership at the School of Public Administration in Brussels in the presence of a Commissioner who had been working at the World Bank in Washington at the same time as me, many years before ….


Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?

“Wow! That’s exactly what we all needed to hear! It will make my work so much easier tomorrow,” and a big hug from a European Education Minister who, the next day, was to confront teacher representatives hostile to her curriculum makeover proposal.


What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?

Plenty of intelligent conversations with people who face real innovation challenges in their businesses and the opportunity to inspire and support them.


When did your interest in magic begin?

When I turned thirty, right after I organized a gala evening for a product launch featuring 12 close-up magicians and a grand illusionist.


Do you encounter common themes with businesses who are having problems with creativity or innovation?

Although businesses innovate in very different ways the things that drive innovation in organizations are in fact quite similar. First innovation must be valued at the top and strategic choices must be made – how much energy and resources to devote to innovation as opposed to operational efficiency, and a clear definition of what the company’s own innovation is all about. Then, organizing structures to deliver innovation – which is not easy because it usually involves internal changes and overcoming resistance to these. Finally, the full commitment of leadership and all people to nourish and develop an innovation culture. This is a multi-faceted affair that often calls for changes in people’s behaviors and company norms.


Can you give three tips to individuals who are struggling with creativity?

  • Actively seek new experiences. There is lot of evidence that after engaging in a novel experience, the propensity to generate new ideas increases significantly.
  • To creatively resolve a challenge spend roughly an equal amount of time to a) deeply understand your challenge, b) generate imaginative solutions and, c) implement your best solution.
  • Seek creative solutions do so alone AND with other people. Solitary idea generation and collaboration/teamwork complement each other beautifully.
  • And here’s a fourth tip: Creativity calls for courage, so take personal responsibility for your own creativity.

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