The IdeaConnection Interviews: The place to go for insights into Open Innovation

picture of Vern Burkhardt of ideaCONNECTION

Vern Burkhardt, IdeaConnection

Last week, I had the pleasure of conversation with Vern Burkhardt, a writer with IdeaConnection, a company that connects business to creative and innovative people, from around the world.  We met at a local coffee shop.  I’d been looking forward to our conversation for some time.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Since late 2007, Vern has been researching and interviewing authors, thought leaders, and CEOs, about business leadership, creativity, innovation, collaborative problem solving, and a few topics of his own choosing; e.g., on current brain science.  The interviews are accessible on the IdeaConnection website.  I wrote a couple of posts on the 2009 IdeaConnection interviews (39 Insights into the makeup of innovative teams and leading innovation).  The majority of interviews are conducted by Vern.  The high quality of the interviews make them a wonderful resource; and precipitated my desire to connect with Vern, and learn more about him, his interview process, and his views on innovation.

IdeaConnection interviews

Three primary content sources for Vern are: 1) books that he tracks, 2) referrals, and 3) direct contact from authors, themselves.  After selecting an author to interview, he goes to work reading previous articles and/or books by the author (in addition to the author’s latest), and reviewing presentations and websites featuring the author/interviewee.  Appropriate questions are formulated and sent off to the author; ahead of the actual interview, which is conducted by phone or skype.  The interview is transcribed.  A draft of the interview, for publication, is sent to the author.  Follow-up questions and conversations may take place.  The results are published in the IdeaConnection newsletter (circulation 55,000 plus) and on the IdeaConnection website, here.  The whole process gets repeated with almost a weekly frequency!

That’s the technical part.  The other part of the interview process is personal.  It builds on Vern’s capacity to engage the interviewee; e.g.,

  • through genuine interest in their ideas and experience,
  • asking both open-ended and closed questions (often including quotes from the author’s books),
  • giving the interview a structure and flow,
  • adapting questions to the interviewee,
  • paraphrasing and summarizing the interviewee’s key thoughts,
  • leaving space for other things the interviewee wants to talk about,
  • accompanying the interview with relevant links.

Key trends in Innovation

Given Vern’s exposure to so many wise people, I asked him to summarize some of the key trends he sees in the field of innovation. Innovation as a discipline, innovation portfolios, and innovation culture are some of the things he touches on in this short video…

(can’t see it? click here)

More About IdeaConnection

IdeaConnection is a global intermediary for open innovation; pre-qualifying and assembling teams of experts and facilitators, in response to complex, corporate R&D challenges.  IdeaConnection also acts as a global intermediary in sourcing new and emerging technologies, materials and partners.  Compensation is linked to performance.  Nobody gets paid unless a solution is delivered.  Similarly, IP (Intellectual property) is only transferred on solution.  IdeaConnection is based in Victoria, BC.

More about Vern

Vern moved to Victoria over 30 years ago, from Alberta.  His principle tenure has been as CEO for a 400-person procurement and supply services company.  Today, as well as authoring and business development roles with ideaConnection, he also works as a consultant, near and far.

When not pursuing his passion for innovation and continuous learning, Vern might be on the high seas.  An avid offshore sailor, Vern enjoys long-distance racing; most recently, completing the 2010 Vic-Maui, a two-week race from Victoria to Maui (Hawaii).  He has on multiple occasions been commodore of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

How about you?

What collection of interviews do you rely on as a filter on the insights of wise minds?

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