Find your Flash of Genius in Allen Gannett’s SPARK 2019 Keynote

Beyond cost savings, spend under management, and risk mitigation, there’s another powerful way to measure the impact of Sourcing: finding unexpected solutions to tough business challenges. The best teams are a source of innovation and crazy successful problem solving, but it can be a daunting task to find the path to your next ‘aha!’ moment. Never fear – at SPARK, you’ll see first hand that these flashes of genius are within your reach, and even better, the path to get there is straightforward and simple.

The simple truth is, anyone can be crazy successful, it just takes the right mindset. Interested? We are, too.

Find your Flash of Genius with Allen Gannett, Best-Selling Author, at SPARK 2019

We’re proud to announce SPARK 2019’s first keynote speaker: Allen Gannett, best-selling author of The Creative Curve and the “next seriously big thinker in business.” Allen will be taking center stage at SFJAZZ in February to debunk the myth of few-and-far-between creative thinkers. I sat down with Allen and asked him five questions to help set the stage and get you jazzed for what’s to come:

Q: Your talk at SPARK is called ‘Flashes of Genius,’ but a big part of your research is about making inspiration more intentional and methodical. Which is it?

A: When we talk about flashes of genius, it’s not that they don’t exist. It’s that the way we think about their origin is wrong. Typically, we think of flashes of genius as coming from some divine power. The reality is, scientists know that these flashes of genius are really what they call “sudden insight”, or a type of processing happening in the right hemisphere of our brain where it connects loosely-related ideas together, all done subconsciously. It’s only once we come up with a final idea that pops into consciousness, where we have that ‘a-ha!’ moment.

Q: If everyone were to live by these principles in their day-to-day, what do you think the world could look like today? And what could the future hold?

A: I think the thing that people can do on a daily basis is to prepare themselves for creativity. That means one, consuming a lot and giving your right hemisphere the material it needs to work; and two, giving yourself the space to actually experience those ideas. It’s essential to have some sort of silence and meditative-like time so you can actually hear the ideas that have been rummaging around in your brain. This is why we talk about flashes of genius happening in the shower or on our commutes. It’s not that the shower is inspiring, but rather those are moments when you can actually hear your own ideas, so to speak.

Q: It’s clear data plays a key role in your life, both in the research behind The Creative Curve, as well as your work at Skyword. Data is also driving innovation and propelling sourcing teams to ever-greater success. Why do you think there’s such a focus on data today?

A: I think data, when used correctly, is an incredibly valuable part of a creative or innovative process. The right way to use data is to measure — early and often — an audience’s potential reaction to an idea or concept so that you’re able to refine it before you’ve brought it fully to market. Then, data is used to actually understand whether or not assumptions you made through the process are correct, and if they were wrong, to go back and change the process. Now, the people who get into trouble with data are just using data to describe what happened, without learnings or next steps.

Q: I love that last idea, don’t just describe what happened, but learn from the data. For the book, you interviewed dozens of the world’s most creative people – celebrity chefs, multi-platinum musicians, billionaire entrepreneurs, and fine artists. What was the most unexpected or remarkable conversation you had?

A: My interview with David Rubenstein was definitely the most striking. Here’s a guy who is a billionaire, he’s on the board of over 20 major non-profits, including stints as Chairman of the board of regents of the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center. At the end of the day, he’s this uber-successful individual, but he’s still incredibly curious. So even when we were talking, he would constantly ask me questions and try to learn more and figure out what he could learn from me. That was a very bizarre experience, but something I think was very telling about a man with so much wisdom that’s still trying to learn all the time.

Q: Okay last one (for now). Can you give us a peek into how your Four Laws might apply to our customers in Sourcing? Is there a link to procurement, working with suppliers, or transforming the way a team works?

A: I think the key thing for procurement leaders is that they need to explain to their business leaders it’s not just about the number of features or product paths, or all the technical qualities or skills a service might bring to your organization. But it’s also this idea of timing. Is it the right idea at the right time for the right team?

Many times organizational leaders want to bring in these super-complicated solutions that sound good, but don’t actually serve their end-users’ needs. So, I think procurement can play this critical role to help people really understand what it is that they actually require — and how sourcing can best fulfill that promise.

Allen Gannett will be one of the many dynamic speakers at SPARK 2019. His session, “Flashes of Genius – Learning the Art and Science of Creativity,” will touch upon the four patterns that he discovered while interviewing geniuses from all walks of life, and how you can leverage these methods for your sourcing team. See the rest of the agenda here.

Come join us February 27-28, at SPARK 2019, where Gannett’s keynote is just the beginning of a spectacular sourcing show, full of inspiration and insights you can bring back to your team. Register now, before Early Bird pricing ends!

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