by David Robertson
In June 2003, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp presented the results of his internal study to the Board of LEGO. In a devastating report, he told them that 2003 was going to be a terrible year and 2004 was likely to be worse. The company had defaulted on its loans, was running out of cash, and might not survive.
How did LEGO get in such trouble? In a word, innovation. LEGO’s managers had followed the advice of academics and consultants – advice that is still being given today – about how to manage innovation: head for blue ocean markets, practice creative disruption, build an innovation culture. That advice almost led LEGO to ruin.
After verifying Knudstorp’s findings, the Board restructured the management team and appointed him CEO. Within two years, Knudstorp and his team had fundamentally redesigned how LEGO managed innovation, and built one of the most sophisticated innovation systems in the world. Today, LEGO is the most profitable and fastest growing company in the toy industry, with growth and profitability rates similar to Apple’s.
The goal of this talk is tell the SXSW audience the LEGO story and the lessons they can learn from the company’s fall and rebirth.
by Rohan Silva
What happens when you throw open the doors of government and let the public decide what happens? Join Rohan Silva, senior policy adviser to the British Prime Minister David Cameron, as he shares his stories about the British Government's adventures in crowdsourcing - and the UK's radical agenda to harness the best ideas and innovations to build a better government. Silva will also be talking about the future of open data, open government and technology policy in the UK - and the entrepreneurial opportunities being opened up in the UK and beyond.
Startups are an important part of the American economy. Over the past three decades, companies less than five years old have accounted for nearly all net job creation in the United States. Yet, recent data on startups indicate that the startup engine is slowing down, as new businesses hire fewer employees than in the past. Led by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Ks.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), policymakers in Washington are realizing the importance of entrepreneurs to job creation, innovation, and economic growth. To revive the startup engine and jump-start the economy, Senators Moran and Warner introduced legislation called The Startup Act.
The Startup Act is based on a simple premise: the easier it is for creative individuals to take risks and start a business, more jobs will be created. The Startup Act addresses the need to reduce regulatory burdens, rewards patient capital invested in startups, provides tax relief to help startups grow, supports research conducted at American universities that spurs innovation, and creates new opportunities for American-educated foreign students and entrepreneurs to stay in the United States where their high-tech skills and new ideas will fuel growth.
The Startup Act incorporates key recommendations made by President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the Kauffman Foundation, and entrepreneurs across the country. Senator Moran will speak about his bipartisan legislation and the urgency of capitalizing on the unique attention policymakers are currently giving to startups.
by Alexa Clay
What do pirates, terrorists, computer hackers, and inner city gangs have in common with Silicon Valley? Innovation.
In this talk, you’ll be exposed to emerging forms of underground innovation happening in the informal and black market economies. The “deviant entrepreneurs” that make up the black market are not mere threats to our social and economic stability, but also present us with real best practices that can be applied to business thinking.
by Riley Crane
Human history is punctuated by revolutions in communication. Innovations ranging from the printing press to the mobile phone continually improved our communication across space and time, culminating in the Internet Age. Itself a product of crowdsourcing, the Internet can harness a community’s ability to create and analyze data, providing us with movie suggestions, online encyclopedias, and personalized search.
Yet, these examples beg the question: how can we communicate without a pre-existing community? The winners of the DARPA Network Challenge began to answer this question by using social media to find 10 red balloons hidden across the US. But what about collaborating to find a missing child? Or coordinating a peaceful protest? Or communicating in the aftermath of a natural disaster? We are on the cusp of yet another revolution, one that could allow ad hoc communication within any crowd united by a common context. To solve this problem, we just need to rethink the way we communicate.
9th–13th March 2012