Brand Vs Paxman Heralds The Revolution In How To Do Innovation Successfully

Russell Brand guest edited the New Statesman this week. The interview is a very entertaining one with Brand looking wobbly at first but somewhat winning Paxman over with a vision of the future.

Brand’s rhetoric I found hard to resist – “we no longer have the luxury of tradition”, “what we have currently just isn’t working” – these sentiments go straight to the very essence of innovation. There are a couple of things that Brand said that really struck a chord with the mindset and approach we should embrace when it comes to innovation.

1. Avoid the pressure to have the answer

Paxman challenges Brand to have the whole answer and solution to the problems he identifies.

Brand bats this notion off “Don’t ask me to sit here now and design a global utopian system.”

Brand does not put himself under the pressure to start with a total and neat solution. Instead he appears to see the process of innovation in politics to be an iterative, collaborative and non-assumptive one; referencing groups, experts, communities and the ‘real people’ who will contribute to it.

If how we approach innovation successfully for consumers can be applied to the political construct, Brand would be a happy man.

2. Embrace what we don’t want 

Brand several times in Paxman’s interrogation of ‘what it is he wants’, responds, “I don’t know that yet, but here’s the things we shouldn’t do…” In doing so he legitimises the notion that ‘what we don’t want’ is a perfectly good place to start when creating something new, different, better.’

Moreover, it’s an excellent place to start because it’s easier for Brand/ voters/ consumers/ us to articulate what we don’t want – we are clear about it, passionate about it and it reveals a lot about our needs and drivers.

Nothing gets to the nub of an innovation like working through how not to do it with the very people it will serve.

After all, great innovation starts with a good old-fashioned grumble about something. Doesn’t it?

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