Thursday, May 6, 2010

Creating the innovation space

Dear friends!

We have successfully concluded another conference of the InCo movement for innovative breakthroughs – the “InCo Conference 2010”. Only days before our annual event, I contributed our InCo spirit at the LIFT.AT conference and a few days later at the “Change the Game” meeting in Salzburg. There is something radical happening on our beloved Earth. People are willing to invest their own time, money and other resources, making personal commitments by travelling to various parts of the world, meeting people with original views and thinking, and to allow fresh approaches into their beliefs whilst seeking new breakthroughs. Like-minded people are establishing connections. And this is exactly the purpose of the InCo movement – integration of the innovation space: connecting innovative projects, individuals, teams, organisations, communities … to become aware of each other,to truly hear each other, and build something beyond ourselves for the good of our organisations, communities and the higher self. I invite you to travel through the most memorable moments of the InCo Conference 2010, opinions, conclusions and initiatives. If you can relate to these messages, we invite you to join us. Involve your visions, ideas and projects into an invigorating movement. Establish connections among like-minded and supportive people! Spread the innovation space! This is the InCo story.

V: Which conference?
O: The InCo Conference 2010 at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre.

V: Organised by whom?
O: Vibacom (which celebrated its 10th anniversary only a few days earlier) in cooperation with the many partners of the InCo movement.

V: What was special about the conference?
O: At least four things.
1. We re-established a format for interstructural dialogue among different spheres of social life this involving a multitude of excellent contributions, starting with insightful, sincere and visionary introductory speeches.These offered a new understanding of civil initiatives and presented new approaches to the development of innovation space.
A few excerpts: "... Creativity and innovativeness cannot be gained quickly when we are faced with problems; they can only be gained through a long-term process since both qualities are acquired through long-term activities, such as learning, education, exchange of experience and talent.” "... A universal and systemic consciousness is forming that presents a point of view derived from the new systemic, comprehensive and holistic understanding of the principles of evolution (biologic, historical principles and the aspect of human self-awareness)...", "...The InCo movement is a social innovation that horizontally integrates diversity, initiates dialogue and creates opportunities for innovative breakthroughs...", and finally, "...we are transitioning from co-operation to co-creation...".

2. By presenting the traditional InJo awards, the “InJo 2010”, we highlighted the best innovative journalists and communicators of all ages and from different media backgrounds, thus raising awareness about innovation journalism and communication in the development of an innovative society. Present equally among those present were younger and older students as well as professionals. The progress in the media is significant. Journalists’ and other writers’ understanding of the innovation space, innovative processes and innovation itself is growing. This is proved by articles that are progressively more comprehensive, critical, constructive and rich in variety.

3. Furthermore, the afternoon session of the conference offered a unique experience. Innovation in the making, a live innovation process. Participants in the interactive groups dedicated to four current topics experienced methods for a democratic gathering of ideas, practiced interstructural dialogue and co-created innovative breakthroughs.

4. Simultaneously, an InCo Conference for the young generation (primary and secondary school) took place at the same location and revealed that our youth exceeded all expectations, expanded the borders of the known and co-created important innovative breakthroughs.

V: Brilliant, can we see some examples?
O: Later …


The conference was opened by Blaž Kavčič, MSc, President of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia and the initiator of the Innovative Society Council within the National Council.

“[…] Today’s third annual conference is proof of excellence of an innovative business-civil initiative, lead by the mission of promoting active interstructural dialogue based on communication about, and for innovation that can contribute to sustainable development in an new way. Creativity and innovativeness cannot be gained quickly when we are faced with problems; they can only be gained through a long-term process since both two qualities are acquired through long-term activities, such as learning, education, exchange of experience and talent. All of the above can be integrated into a successful systemic whole with the help of good communication tools.
Foto source: Andrej Schara, National Council of the Republic of Slovenia

Following the introductory speeches, the initiator of the movement, Violeta Bulc, MSc, from Vibacom presented the InCo movement as a social innovation.

“The InCo movement for innovative breakthroughs is an example of social innovation that serves as a platform on three levels: a)for interstructural dialogue, b)for promoting and developing innovation communication and innovative communication, and c)for gaining first-hand experience in the field of innovative services and interstructural dialogue.
Foto source: Andrej Schara, National Council of the Republic of Slovenia

The central lecture, “Systemic approach to conscious co-creation of future society”, was presented by Tadeja Jere Lazanski, Doctor of Systems Theory and Vice-dean of International Relations at the Faculty of Tourism Studies and the recipient of the Best Paper Award at CASYS'09.

“The systemic approach, has as iIts aim, to understand the problem and form an appropriate solution with tools such as modelling and simulation. […] The systemic future of mankind speaks about people who are able to see the big picture, create partnerships and connections, use the systemic approach and understand the balance between cooperation, leadership and following, i.e. co-creation. […] Thus a universal systemic consciousness is formed, representing a point of view derived from a new, comprehensive and holistic understanding of the principles of evolution (biologic, historical principles and the aspect of human self-awareness). Universal consciousness explains how we can apply the findings of systemic philosophy and understand the development of values throughout historical cycles, and how these cycles of development are currently resident in the mind of every person.”
Foto source: Andrej Schara, National Council of the Republic of Slovenia

The conference was moderated and led by Sonja Šmuc from the Managers' Association of Slovenia.

“The energy of each movement is measured by its width, depth and height –that is; the number of individuals supporting the idea, how deeply it touches them, and how high its reach in social structure. InCo fulfils all three criteria, for it attracts more people each year who dedicate more of their time and consideration to it. Slovenia needs innovation and innovation needs Slovenia. The sort of innovation that is not necessarily related to new products, but more importantly is also a reflection of different, and more comprehensive effective thinking that drives a positive view of the future. We wish to instil the Slovenian economy with innovation that possesses the power to contribute to better development. Therefore, the Managers' Association of Slovenia is happy to support the InJo/InCo project.”
Foto source: Andrej Schara, National Council of the Republic of Slovenia

A special feature of the afternoon session of the conference were the interactive nodes. The units involved experts from various fields who in their introductions presented a successful innovative story that they found interesting. Under the mentorship of professional moderators, the participants discussed four topics, all of them joint together by a lead moderator, Robert Kržišnik (Humus, Slovenian Association of Facilitators).

“The aim of the afternoon session was to utilise the creative potential of individuals who in their work and life expand the borders of innovative thinking and operation. This years’ InCo Conference again succeeded in bringing together exceptional individuals and the task of the moderators of the afternoon session was to involve them in a creative and productive dialogue. This was implemented through moderated work in four nodes where the participants exchanged positive stories about big and small innovative breakthroughs, identified unutilised internal and external resources, and jointly created a vision of an innovative society. Furthermore, through casual, productive and inspiring interaction they established connections and undertook commitments in actual initiatives for implementing specific key tasks for an innovative breakthrough of Slovenia before the next conference when they meet again.

• SOCIAL INNOVATION – the role of the civil society in developing the innovation space.
Introductory words were given by Simon Delakorda, MSc (INePA), Aleksandra Gradišek (Srce Slovenije – Heart of Slovenia), Rupert Gole (Šentrupert Municipality), Pika Kofol (Očistimo Slovenijo v enem dnevu! – Clean Slovenia in One Day campaign).

Key conclusions:
1. Promoting of mentorship in various environments
2. A society of creative social relationships and re-introduction of knowledge and enthusiasm into the society

3. 10% GDP – research, development and innovation

“I have attended the InCo Conference for the first time this year and I have to say I am excited by the concept and pleased to have had the opportunity to be able to interact with positively-minded people from such different fields. This is proof that innovation is welcome everywhere, not only in professions where creativity is a required characteristic, such as my field of expertise – architecture. As the mayor of one of the smaller Slovenian municipalities, the Šentrupert Municipality, I can only stress the importance of innovative thinking and development of innovative projects for they can strengthen the trade mark of a local community. However, the InCo Conference is neither the start nor the end of my cooperation with the team that has been living and working for dissemination of this view and way of thinking for years. Jointly, we have designed three workshops with the aim of instilling the spirit of innovation into our societies, schools and the local administration.”
Rupert Gole, architect and Mayor of the Šentrupert Municipality.
Foto source: Rupert Gole

The node was moderated by Natalija Vrhunc, MSc (Slovenian Association of Facilitators):

“The participants in the Social Innovation node initially identified themselves as individuals who were already seeking and implementing possibilities for innovative breakthroughs wherever possible. They believe that the key characteristic for progress to an innovative society is self-motivation with the desire to improve the quality of life. The group believe that gain-oriented mentality does not stimulate innovative breakthroughs. These are achieved through high awareness of the interconnectedness among people and with the environment as well as knowing that negativity (criticism, passivity and materialism) does not lead to higher quality. The work in the nodes was performed on the highest level of cooperation, with considerable good will and openness to different opinions, and as the results of this work show, with a synergy effect.”

• BUSINESS INNOVATION – the role of innovative services and business models in the success of companies
Introductory words were given by Metka Stare, PhD (Faculty of Social Sciences), Maja Makovec Brenčič, PhD (Faculty of Economics), Sonja Klopčič, MSc (Trimo), and Branko Žibret, MSc (A.T. Kearney).

“Openness of participants, readiness to establish connections and co-create, an atmosphere bustling with creative energy … this is the identity of the InCo Conference, a junction of experts from the fields of economy, education, art and science working for the common good. This year’s conference was concluded with a commitment to expand the circle of innovative individuals who are ready to co-create in order to reach critical mass and thus a breakthrough sooner.
Sonja Klopčič, Trimo d.d.
Foto source: Sonja Klopčič

The node was moderated by Tadej Petek, MBA (Develor, Ta 5ek, Slovenian Association of Facilitators).

“The participants of the Business Innovation node showed considerable ‘experience’ in innovation and its implementation in life and work. The participants were actively involved, eager to participate and passionate,as was proved during identification of actions that would lead to a more innovative society. The participants recognised that the aims of determined actions were too general and endeavoured to modify them into a more substantial form that could be implemented in practice. In my opinion, we can be very pleased with the planned actions, some of which are already being incrementally implemented.”
Foto source: Tadej Petek

• INNOVATIVE INDIVIDUAL – the role of the education system in developing an innovative individual.
Introductory words were given by Irena Kokovnik (Natalija Plajnšek, Đulijana Juričić) from Trnovo Primary School; Uroš Strel Lenčič (Faculty of Architecture), Suzana Antič, MSc (Nursery Trnovo), Mateja Geder (DOBA, Faculty of Applied Business and Social Studies, Maribor), Vinko Logaj (Secondary, Higher Vocational and Adult Education Directorate).

Key conclusions:
1. Release children from “false protection”

2. Amalgamation of sectors

3. Living our values

4. Intergenerational mentorship

“In the node in which I participated, excellent coordination and effective communication were applied to result in drafting of substantial proposals with which education systems could be significantly improved in order to contribute to the development of innovation, ranging from pre-school children to older individuals who wish to learn and improve. We also agreed that development and creating of an innovation space or society required an amalgamation of sectors through which innovative breakthroughs by individuals, groups or societies can be achieved," Uroš Strel Lenčič, Ordo d.o.o.

The node was moderated by Alenka Planinc Rozman (Planinca, Slovenian Association of Facilitators).

“The participants in the Innovative Individual node were very active all afternoon. Through the exchange of good practices and determination of actual steps the individuals listened to each other and upgraded each other's ideas. The participants expressed interest for further participation in such conferences and actual projects. They appreciated the organisation of the InCo Conference.”
Foto source: Alenka Planinc Rozman

• INNOVATIVE SOCIETY – the role of journalists in the development of an innovative society
Introductory words were given by Marko Milosavljevič, PhD (Faculty of Social Sciences), Ali Žerdin (Dnevnik), Jurij Giacomelli, MSc (Delo) and Nataša Koražija (Finance).

Key conclusions:
1. Innovation of media models, processes and tools

2. From mediocrity to originality of media topics

3. Awards for reporting about good examples

4. “I have an opinion and I share it with others!”

5. Proposal for the “Eco = cool” media campaign
6. Conscientious parenting workshops

“The mixture of profiles Violeta is able to gather at a conference usually makes me uneasy at first but later becomes quite refreshing. The most exciting part of the programme was Tadeja Jere Lazanski's eccentric intermingling of the systems theory with the Mayan calendar and a balanced mixture of solid science with creative thinking.”
Nataša Koražija, Finance

The node was moderated by Marjeta Novak, MSc (Humus, Slovenian Association of Facilitators):

“The questions we raise individually or in groups are in themselves an intervention, for they have a significant influence on the nature of answers and solutions we can reach – whether we will jointly whine and moan indefinitely or bravely leave our comfort zones and set out to new spheres of thinking and acting. We were able to achieve the latter in our (media) node and one of the conclusions we reached was that from now on the media would not merely report on innovation but would also innovate the processes and approaches applied daily in their co-creation of our common reality.”

Before the conference, the 2nd national workshop on innovation communication for the youth – the InCo Jr. Workshop – took place where young people were introduced to various innovations.

- Six students from the Poljane Grammar School presented the social innovation of their youth altruist culture festival, MakFest.
- A team of Vič Secondary School students presented their project of opening physical properties based safes which was awarded 1st prize at an international competition in Israel.
- Bojan Brecelj, a photographer and reporter offered a special photographic experience – a portable photo studio that was awarded the prize for best entrepreneurial idea.
- The M-Aleja institute presented the “Play and program with LEGO Mindstorms” project through which participants were offered a creative, interesting and fun view of natural sciences, technical science, programming and robotics.

The workshop was moderated by Mojca Štepic, Vibacom, InCo Jr. Project Leader.

“In addition to presenting innovative projects, the aim of the workshop was to connect young people and offer them innovation topics and communication tools in a professional yet relaxed and open environment. This is the key advantage and added value of such workshops – raising awareness that innovation can be found everywhere, in each field of activity and creativity, and among different people, showing that innovation is functional and that young people can also take part. Based on the exceptionally positive reactions, we intend to continue looking for success stories about young innovators and provide them with an environment in which they can present, promote and seek partnerships for their creations and launch the latter into the wider market, and most importantly of all, build up confidence, communication skills and boldness of thinking.
Foto source: Andrej Schara, National Council of the Republic of Slovenia

Participants’ thoughts about the workshop for young people:

Bogo Seme, Hedoni, member of the InCo movement:
“Once we sincerely open the innovative space to young people and trust them, help them with our wisdom, we realise how magical life is. I felt this in little more than half an hour of the morning workshop with young people when my natural path led me to their midst. Thank you Mojca, thank you Estera and thank you Violeta; dreams came to life at the InCo Conference.

Alenka Malej, PhD, mathematics professor, Director of the M-Aleja education institute, Koper
“We are pleased to have been able to participate in the InCo Conference and introduce to the youth and their teachers our LEGO robot workshop. We were delighted with student teams presenting their projects which in their variety showed an excellent example to everyone, including us. Such events instigate new ideas, broaden horizons and open new possibilities for the future.”

Patrik Caf, 7th grade student at Tone Čufar Primary School, Maribor
“The workshop and the presentations were enlightening, since there were many things to see and even test. My favourite was the Lego Mindstorms presentation. I was truly excited when I tried them out and wished I would have them. I am grateful for an interesting day and will certainly return next year.”

Urška Bertoncelj, teacher and eco-coordinator at Tone Čufar Primary School, Maribor
“The workshops and presentations were admirably prepared and led by Mrs. Mojca Štepic. I was delighted with the students’ innovativeness and the presentation of Lego Mindstorms. I am pleased I was able to attend these workshops. The presentations and the implementation were interesting and students delighted. My congratulations for a well-prepared event.”

Irena Vrhovec, Slovenian language and sociology of culture professor, Litija Primary School
“This is the third year Litija Primary School has attended the innovation conference, since our students truly enjoy participating in the project. We were truly delighted with the workshop for we were able to see exceptionally innovative items and test some of them first hand. We sincerely wish to continue our involvement and will happily accept any invitation.”

Vič Secondary School Students
“We were truly pleased to have been invited to the conference. Everything was performed in a very relaxed atmosphere full of new ideas and inquisitiveness. As future graduates of a natural sciences oriented secondary school we welcome opportunities to work with people interested in natural sciences. We hope our presentation persuaded some of our audience to become interested in natural sciences. It was delightful to see so many young people who want to go beyond the curriculum in search of knowledge.”

The conference included the award ceremony of the InJo Award 2010 – awards for best contributions about innovation journalism and communication. Based on evaluations of the expert jury, 8 different awards and prizes were presented. The main award for best journalistic contribution on the topic of innovation in Slovenian public media published in 2009 was presented to Edita Cetinski Malnar from RTV Slovenija for her piece on Doctor Uroš Merc, Bisol, in the TV programme ‘Prava ideja’ (The Right Idea). The award for best journalistic contribution on the topic of innovation in internal media of Slovenian companies/organisations in 2009 was presented to Viktor Zaletel, PhD, from Trimo for his article ‘ArtMe tehnologija je svetovna novost’ (ArtMe technology is a global innovation), published in the company internal newsletter, Trimotim. Two special awards for systematic approaches to raising innovation awareness in Slovenian media in 2009 were also presented, namely to the Finance magazine for their editorial section called ‘Lomilci krize’ (Crisis Breakers) and to the Dnevnik newspaper for their systematic reporting about the quickest growing companies in Slovenia. Additionally, 4 awards for student contributions and 10 awards for primary and secondary schools students’ contributions on innovation in the categories of written article, photo story, image and multimedia were also presented.

List of award and prize winners
Source: Vibacom

Other highlights of the conference:
1. The transition from the vertical-analytical thinking to systemic and lateral (comprehensive) thinking and acting was clearly acknowledged.
2. All partners of the InCo movement co-created the conference’s content thereby enabling the conference to become a platform for presenting innovative services, approaches, models and connections.
3. The Slovenian Association of Facilitators introduced their new model of moderating massive events where each participant was an active co-creator of the conference's topics.
4. Valuable experiences with the development of innovation space gained by the InCo movement through their activities in 2009 were presented.
5. Important co-creators of the innovation space presented their stories. A meeting with the best innovation journalists and communicators in 2009 was organised (the InJo Award ceremony).
6. Simultaneously, the young generation co-created their innovation space and were introduced to innovations of their peers (the InCo Jr. Workshop).
7. The conference was accompanied by musical and multimedia background by Lado Jakša.
8. At he conference, the HydraMobiS technology for simple information dissemination among conference participants was used for the first time.
9. Bojan Brecelj (PROJA) held a presentation of his portable photo studio Selffish.
10. Architecture students and their mentors commenced a research study about the influence of space on the creativity of people.

Other statements of InCo Conference 2010 participants:

Miha Mermal, BTC d.d.
»I realised how positive the participants’ thinking is and how great is their desire to co-create – a key precondition for innovation. I was also surprised by the fact that in only 5 years of existence the InCo movement in Slovenia managed to achieve a major breakthrough, proved by the fact that it is now supported by 37 major organisations.”

More information about the movement can be found on the constantly updated InCo website: