Pranking a tech giant

21st March 2019 |   Alf Rehn

The surprising thing I learnt from giving a 20-minute nonsense presentation to a well-known tech company.

The greatest thing I ever wrote, something I’ve jokingly referred to as my magnum opus, was a 20-minute lecture on innovation for the executive team of a major US corporation. As they do not come out all that well in this story, I won’t use their name, but if you are a modern individual, you will have worked with their products. They are a major player in the broad field of IT and electronics, and are often highlighted when you look for the most innovative companies in the world. And no, it’s not Apple!

I was approached by this company off the back of a very successful keynote speech at a major tech conference to run a two-day workshop for them. At first, I planned to say no. They were simply too big, too imposing, too successful for me to dare run anything for them. I was, in a word, scared of them. I have tangled with the big boys, but this was something more. This was using two whole days to tell some of the most successful innovators in the world about innovation, and I was deathly afraid that I’d come away from it looking like a fool.

Alf Rehn is a noted thought leader and academic in the fields of innovation and creativity. Having appeared on Thinkers50 Guru Radar in 2016, he is currently Professor of Innovation, Design and Management at the University of Southern Denmark. He is a popular international strategic adviser and professional speaker who has delivered close to 1,000 keynotes worldwide, advised Fortune 500 companies and was the first Westerner to keynote on innovation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. A best-selling author, he has been featured in the Financial Times, Sunday Times and Harvard Business Manager.