Surely, You Can’t Be Serious (a SXSWi post)

If you would have told me that one of the best sessions at SXSWi that I would attend this year would be on cartooning, I would have had trouble taking you seriously.

Truth be told, Tom Fishburne’s talk on Innovation Lessons from Cartooning pleasantly surprised me.  Tom works as a brand manager by day and as a cartoonist by night.  On his blog he takes a look at the humorous side marketing, business, innovation.  A few examples:

  • The Ivory Tower – “If it wasn’t for those pesky consumers our business would be doing great”
  • Influencer Stalking – “Instead of indiscriminately marketing to the world, we’ve learned to shout at a handful of influences”
  • Definition of Insanity – “We’re going to hold the same meeting with the same people every week and expect the same results”

Here is Tom introducing his talk at SXSW:

The key message that Tom shared was that when it comes to innovation, you can’t just expect to turn it on.  In this way, innovation and cartooning are similar.

A cartoonist has to work constantly to come up with new ideas.  Some ideas work right away, some need to sit and ferment before coming to life.  If you want to innovate, don’t expect it to happen on the first try.  It is something that has to be worked on a regular basis in order to gain strength.

So, here is a great question to ask about your organization:

Are you working your innovation muscles?

If not, it’s time to hit the gym and start pumping some iron before innovation atrophy sets in.