Barrett homes in on innovation

Craig Barrett talks about innovation

Couldn’t resist the headline. I was privileged enough tonight to meet with Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board of Intel Corporation at a private event in Oxford. As some of you know, as well as being passionate about innovation in marketing, I have a personal interest in the education system in the UK. We discussed (for a few moments anyhow 🙂 some of the challenges the nation faces encouraging greater support for Maths and Science as the foundation for engineering studies in University.

As it happens, there is a shortage of teachers in these subjects in the UK right now. This isn’t good if we want to compete in a world where education is so prized in the new competing economies. Britain needs this talent strand to be nurtured into cohorts of bright and capable inventors and innovators, and for there to be a support ecosystem that helps their ideas to become businesses.

It’s quite well known that the UK is near the top of the list for invention, but not very high up on nurturing invention and manufacturing that turn ideas into product into customers’ hands. As we work with Intel in bringing innovation to bear in its marketing activities, it’s encouraging to hear words of wisdom from the company’s founder himself.

Some tips from the talk for budding innovators.
1) Learn about problem solving. If you have the ability to solve problems, with good process of thought, evidence assessment and insight into why things are happening, you stand a chance. If you can’t get under the skin of the problem, you can’t solve it.
2) Do you work with the facts? Many corporations tend to evolve anecdotes into facts. Anecdotes have an agenda. Facts tend not to.
3) Never stop asking why. If you don’t get behind the face value of a situation, you can’t ever have more than a face value opinion.
4) Finally, support the three principles that enable innovation on a national scale –

Education – without smart people there is no economic action, ideas – without smart ideas there is no innovation – and the right environment – without help, innovation rarely flourishes.

An inspiring evening for everyone, and very nice to be back in Oxford too. Now about that business idea – how about a widget on my phone that tells me if the trains from Oxford to Paddington are on time?

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