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Interview with Drew Boyd

In this interview with A-Speakers, Drew Boyd answers questions regarding his speaking experience, use of humor and innovation tips. Read more below.

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

I want people to realize that innovation is a skill, not a gift.  Anyone can learn to apply it both professionally and personally.  Innovation is based on templates.  For thousands of years, inventors have used five simple patterns in their innovations, usually without realizing it.  These patterns are embedded into products and services.  In my presentations, participants learn how to extract those patterns and reapply them to any situation where innovation is needed.


How do audiences usually react to your presentations?

The reaction is one of surprise.  At first, there is disbelief.  But then once people experience how to use the method, they become true believers.  For most participants, it is a life-changing realization that they can “innovate on demand.”  My approach is meant to provoke and challenge people to question their own experience with innovation.  Then I have them use a systematic approach firsthand so they can decide whether to change to this new way of thinking on their own terms.


How do you prepare for speaking engagements?

I do a “deep dive” on the organization I am presenting to.  I want to know how they approach innovation currently.  I want to learn about their challenges and frustrations in the marketplace.  I want to learn about those things that I can apply the innovation method to.  When people see innovation occur right in front of their eyes on their own products and services, it is very convincing.


What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?

This method is relatively new, only about ten years old.  I am trying to change the way people create new opportunities.  I want to move people away from the traditional, unproductive methods like brainstorming and inspire them to learn how to innovate in a systematic way.  That is fulfilling for me.


How much does humor factor into your keynotes and other speaking engagements?

Humor is very important, but not just for the usual reasons you expect.  Humor and innovation are identical processes – the sudden and unexpected connection between two previously unrelated themes. I demonstrate this in my program, and I make people see how important laughter is when using the innovation method.  Innovation is a serious business activity and vital to the success of an organization.  I show how to harness laughter and humor to make it an effective element in creativity.  Fortunately, my training at Chicago’s “The Second City” improvisation training center comes in handy!


How do you suggest that people find new possibilities and ideas?

If a person wanted to learn leadership, Latin, guitar playing, golf, or virtually anything else, they would do what everyone else would do – take a course and learn it.  The same is true with creativity and innovation.  It is a skill that can be taught and learned by anyone.  Third graders can learn to use the method.  I have taught people with Down Syndrome how to boost their creativity and ideation with this systematic approach.  My presentations motivate people to use the same secret ingredient that highly creative people use –patterns.


How are your keynote presentations unique?

Rather than just talk about innovation, I have people actually doing innovation, including working on their own products or services.  People are completely taken by surprise in the first two minutes when I have them on their feet, moving around, and following my instructions on how to innovate.  Once people feel what it is like to innovate in a structured way, I share what happened, why the method works, what it is based upon, and how to use it for the rest of their lives.


Do you have any unique memorable moments in your speaking career?

I keep a diary of all my speaking engagements.  I do that because each one yields something new and different.  I’m always amazed at how inventive people become when they apply a structured approach.   Every presentation I do is unique because of the nature of the topic and the approach I use.  You cannot predict what people will invent.  But you can predict the audience will generate great ideas…and have a lot of fun doing it.


What characterizes an innovative organization?

Innovative organizations see innovation as a competency that can be developed across the entire organization.  Innovation is not confined to just the R&D department.  Highly innovative companies use a systematic approach to innovation just as they use a systematic approach to quality, productivity, safety, leadership or any other mandate for success.  They apply innovation methods to create new products, services, processes, strategies, structures and initiatives as a routine part their culture.


View Drew Boyd’s profile here!

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