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Business Creativity & Innovation

Derek Cheshire

International expert in Innovation and the application of Creativity to Business

Derek Cheshire is an international expert in the application of Creativity and Innovation to business and the management of continuous Innovation at local, regional and national levels. He actively encourages and promotes the use of creative techniques in everyday business processes. His ideas are welcomed from Latin America and Africa to the Far East. His work encompasses consultancy, idea generation and facilitating continuous innovation as well as facilitating and chairing conference events and on stage interviewing. Derek is an expert who speaks, not a speaker who tries to become an expert.

If you are contemplating embracing creativity and innovation, want to know more about it, are wondering what its impact may be or are just plain curious then Derek is the speaker for you. Derek spent a number of years working in the Software and Telecommunications industries, asking awkward questions and being told ‘that’s the way we have always done things around here’. Not satisfied with the answers,  he set about ‘changing the way things are done around here’ and freeing others from similar situations.

Derek is a member of the mastermind group for the Design Interaction course at the Royal College of Art and Design in The Hague. Find out what others have said about Derek or take a look at possible speaking topics for your event.

Derek is an accomplished speaker and has compiled a long list of blog articles including Innovation – How long is a piece of string?, Taking the In out of Innovation and How To Generate 20 New Business Ideas Over Coffee. He has had articles published in such diverse places as the Asia Pacific Tech Monitor (a United Nations online journal), the Hindustan Times, the Malawi Guardian and the ICFAI University Press in India. Any of these articles can be a topic for a short presentation or keynote. Visit his blog for more ideas. He recently appeared in the CNBC programme The Business of Innovation along with Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay and Prof Eric Von Hippel of MIT.

What others say

“We have had a terrific response from our delegates. You are clearly an expert in your field and surprised everyone with your revelations on the night. We look forward to working with you again” Director, events company

“That was fantastic, thank you.” Attendee, Innovation workshop

“Thank you for running your Team Awareness workshop for our SEN Section. The feedback we have received has been fantastic. You clearly are an expert in your field and we would not hesitate to recommend this approach to others within the public sector. It really made us think” Local Education Authority

“Thank you for your fascinating presentation to the Swindon ecademy last week. The feedback we have received has been fantastic. Here is some of it……

Special thanks to Derek Cheshire for what was a really interesting talk. He really made me think

It was a good night had by all, I particularly enjoyed the presentation by Derek, Creating the difference – putting the bomb under British Business

I don’t think I have ever seen our members ask so many questions in a Q & A’s session. You obviously got them thinking and made me want to run my business like a well known terrorist organisation. Well done….I think! “ Networking events organiser

Speaking topics

Creativity and Innovation are two linked and potentially huge topics. The titles listed below act as windows onto this vast subject area. In fact any of the subjects listed on my blog or in my newsletters can be adapted for keynote, seminar or workshops.

Futures – predicting what is coming your way Creating a plan for the future based on the present or the past is clearly inaccurate and risky. To create a strategy for the future we need a view of what the future actually looks like. Many people profess to do this already but what is it exactly that they are doing? From existing management information you might be able to predict the amount of resources required as well as some of the features of your competitive environment. How far in the future can you do this without resorting to sticking a wetted finger into the air? The answer is probably less than 12 months in the current economic climate.

As a Business Leader or Influencer you will not be satisfied with this. What if you really could predict what lay ahead up to 25 or even 30 years ahead? What if you could base your plans on this vision of the future and not on an extrapolation of the present? Traditional scenario planning often uses a selection of ‘What If?’ statements and incremental factors but it has one major flaw – it assumes that the future is broadly similar to the present. With major financial crises, wars and terrorist acts, any business using such forecasting methods even 10 years ago will have experienced difficulties recently. Learn how to prepare for these disaster scenarios in the future and gain a head start on the competition.

The Creativity detox diet Derek’s view of an organisation that exhibits creative or innovative behaviour is organic and focuses on people. It therefore seems a good idea to use metaphors that relate to the wellbeing and performance of people themselves. So what does make us feel good or energised and what is not so good? How about a detox by way of a change in diet (as opposed to some of the unpleasant practices that exist at health spas)?

As human beings we tend to feel sluggish when we have drunk too much alcohol or coffee or not enough water. We are told to eat foods high in fibre and cut out refined sugars and saturated fats. Lastly we can all eat less. How does this relate to our organisations? Audiences can take this metaphor as far as they like, as with most things it is simply another way of looking at our organisations to find new and different solutions to our problems.

Entering the Age of Unreason If you have not read Charles Handy’s book ‘The Age of Unreason’ then I heavily recommend it. In a nutshell it turns things upside down and tries to change our perspective on situations. One situation that Handy writes about is the issue of Consultants in our National Health Service. As most people realise, these are the most skilled and highly paid professionals. They often like to have time away from work, sometimes on holiday, sometimes playing golf and sometimes in lucrative private practice. Problems arise with their ever rising salaries. Handy’s solution is to keep paying them the same salary but allow them to work less time for the NHS. Their hourly or daily rate thus rises but the cost to the taxpayer does not. This leaves our consultants free to play golf (not earning any further money) or work in private practice and earn even more money.

Now this solution may not be ideal but it is a possible solution and it comes about by turning the situation upside down i.e. by not sticking to reason, hence the idea of Unreason. In the current world economic situation many rules have been discarded and hence reason has gone or been suspended. There is a new world order (possibly devoid of bankers) where new rules apply, or possibly where no rules apply. The situation is ripe for people with a fertile imagination and brimming with confidence to make an impact. This course of action builds upon our banana observations and tries to examine the boundaries of a problem. Next time you get stuck, try asking ‘why do we have to do it this way?’ or ‘can we try doing it this way?’ and see what happens. Derek will leave you with a number of ways to apply ‘Unreason’ to your own situation. You’ll be surprised at what can be achieved.

Creative Leadership for Tough Times Surely we just need good strong Leadership in tough times not ‘airy fairy’ Creative Leadership? If you share this view then I think we have our wires crossed already. Let me explain.   In the current economic climate we do need strong (or should I say bold) Leaders but traditional Leaders (and I include those who are up to date with such concepts as transformational and situational leadership here) often have a Leadership toolbox that is comprehensive but perhaps identical to those carried around by other Leaders.

So if we all have the same tools and we all operate in the same marketplace then we still have a stalemate. And now for the Creativity bit. I am not suggesting that our bold Leaders walk around with an armful of creative techniques and nothing else, just that they should supplement their Leadership toolbox with a selection of techniques that provide alternative ways of analysing and solving problems, decision making, planning and communicating. Leaders then have a larger repertoire of business tools at their disposal from which they can select the most appropriate and most effective. But why are Creative techniques particularly good for the tough economic climate that we are now faced with? Derek will enlighten audiences and show how Leaders can simply add Creativity to their repertoire of management tools and become more effective as a result.

Member of the Professional Speaking Association