– Creativity & Play – A Catalyst for Innovation
Minds Without Limits
GENNEX 2018, took place in September just outside Zurich at the airfield in Dübendorf. It was an event to remember for its great talks, workshops and activities which truly set it apart from other conferences. The experience on offer was wholly unique in style, venue, and the importance it placed upon unusual, interesting and important topics.
A Creative Location
The atmosphere was pleasantly different to the usual conference hall. The white tables and podium plinths were replaced by a circus stage and a vastly more creative space in which to work. The event was designed to appeal to what they call the 1% of the 1% and that showed in the quality of speakers.
The speakers were extremely engaging and at the same time quite diverse.
If I were to choose those whose messages truly resonated with me, they would be Nigel Barlow in his lecture on how to inject a bit of rockstar into presentations, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and founder of the Smiling Gecko Charity, Photographer and creator of the iconic “Marlboro Man”, Hannes Schmid.
Play Within the Workplace
The defining theme of the event for me was how “serious play” could be used within the workplace to increase productivity and creative ingenuity.
This was exemplified by the diverse range of activities provided. There was a collection of high fun, high focus environments which were used as catalysts to spark ideas and cooperation.
My favourite moment was when a bunch of CEO’s and executives took off their designer jackets and dived, head first, into a huge ball pit. This may seem somewhat silly, but the effects of calming you down and making you focus were very enlightening. So enlightening that I ended up revisiting this experience three times!
Another experience was called “Into the Dark”. It provided a great place to contemplate ideas and consider things that a busy life usually doesn’t give time to think about. It is quite refreshing to see this part of business and innovation being given the attention it deserves. With the calibre of guests attending the GENNEX conference, it put a smile on my face to see so many big names letting their hair down and giving it a go.
We were also invited to try on “On” shoes on site. The Swiss brand which has taken the market by storm was there to advertise their sports and recreational shoes. Their new “floating on clouds” technology truly sets them apart from other brands. Several other companies were present to explain the new trends, particularly the latest in data transfer and protection. Hewlett Packard, Microsoft were a few among the large range of companies giving information and advice about their products and solutions.
Hannes Schmid’s presentation was graphic, moving and powerful. He talked about his long journey to found the Smiling Gecko Charity, bringing shelter, employment and most of all a future to underprivileged people in Cambodia. He spoke of his struggles, his setbacks and his success in creating a wonderful village to support the people he is trying to help.
In fact you might be interested to know that the village also offers wonderful holiday accommodation – The Smiling Gecko Farmhouse. At the same time it provides employment and contributes to the sustainability of the project. It was hard not be moved by Hannes’s talk.
Mohammad Yunus talked quietly about his views on effecting change – by doing the opposite to what was expected. Employing women when you would normally employ men, doing things in the opposite order to what is thought usual. His views on challenging the orthodox were both enlightening and refreshing and his persona exuded friendliness and empathy.
GENNEX – Minds Without Limits – was branded as a synergy of innovation, business and the latest trends in the marketplace. What it offered was far and beyond expectations as they were able to combine great speakers with interesting insights into creativity and play in business. I would recommend that anyone with at least a passing interest in innovation and inspiration make sure they get tickets for GENNEX 2019.
Article written by Jan de Boer
Jan is Comment Editor of the Award Winning Student Newspaper “Nouse“
Photos by Carmen Sirboiu
For more information on GENNEX please visit their website here.
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