All good stories have a beginning. And an ending. Well, maybe the ending of many of them is still to be written. Like this blog, which is still at its beginning with this second post. So let’s start at the beginning, the beginning of The Advenure of Diana.

December 2012. Matti Hemmi, a renowned innovation consultant and founder of Inknowation, called me. We know each other for a few years and we share innovating curiosities, thrills, attitudes, intelectual challenges… whenever our schedules allow us to meet. ‘Do you dare to dream?’ was going to be released and we shared drafts and feedback. The Video (insertar) was one of the virals in 2013. It was also the beginning of other projects. Matti, who now lives in London, came to Madrid for Christmas. We met, and after we caught up, Matti said:

“Nacho, a client asked me to create a map or a roadmap about innovation.
Can you help me?”

“Of course,” was my answer. I have this fixation of answering without thinking. “It’s easy. In fact, I have just made an infographic for a project about innovation…”

While I’m talking, I start to paint – another of my obsessions, it seems it is because of the right hemisphere. We start with this idea, then we enrichen it with other ideas. After that we proceed with the project and finally a prototype is developed… And then you reach the project… And Matti!

“What?” he asks.

“You are tricking your client.”

“How?”

“You can’t do the thing you asked me for.”

“What do you mean? The word no doesn’t exist. Let’s think in another way, outside the pre-established. Other possibilities… you know, other tools…”

“Matti, I didn’t say it, it was Einstein: ‘Well-known roads lead us to unknown territories’. If you give them a map with an predictible result, your client won’t innovate. Maybe he optimizes, improves or enriches…but I don’t think he’ll innovate.”

“So what? He is waiting for it. I can’t deliver nothing. Are you sure you can’t help me?”

“Hmmm…Columbus didn’t have a map to reach America. In fact, he didn’t even want to go there, he wanted to reach India. Or Captain Cook. He searched for lands, which didn’t even exist, for years. Some of them where the ‘Terra Australis Incognita’, or the ‘Northwestern Passage’… He didn’t have maps. He painted them on the go, and they were useful for others. Matti, your client doesn’t need a map. He needs nautical charts, a compass which turns until the North mark, some reports of favorable winds – of the conception and research of tendencies – and unfavorable winds – financial, operational -, of the currents, of some reefs in which others ran aground before…”

“Wow… that sounds powerful… reefs and wrecks… I don’t know if my client will be comfortable with that. Can you bring it into reality?”

“I’ll try. As it’s Christmas, I have three days ahead. What do you think about meeting again on Decembert the 26th? We are going to remove your client from his comfort zone… from his Comfortalia.”

We decided to meet again for breakfast in Heron City’s VIPs.

When I got home, after having dinner, I asked my daughters for a cartboard and their crayons. There is nothing better than to bring to light your inner ‘creative child’ to get your sleeping creative abilities back. Everyone has had them, and we still have them although they may be asleep. But it is difficult that they arise in a corporate environment.

So, I started to paint the Comfortalia Coast, the Certainty Harbour, the Coast of Culture, the Abundance Gulf, the Current of Need and the Current of Inspiration, with a message in a bottle which arrives from a distant land… an archipelago with castaways on rafts, some dangerous sharks, an imaginary dragon which exhales the Current of Frustration… and up to here the beginning.

On December the 26th, I met Matti and showed him this. Foto carta. While I explained it, under the watchful eye of the waiter and other guests, Matti began to laugh.

“We look like two pirates looking at the painting of the Treasure Island, hohoho…”

… and it was. Actually it was a map to a treasure, but we didn’t realize it yet.

…and what happened afterwards, in the next post.

What we have learned:

  • Accept challenges.
  • Interact with people you usually don’t interact with.
  • Bring your inner child to light: play, paint, invent worlds, create characters, replace your pencil and take coloured felt-tip pens and crayons instead: if you can’t erase and can’t correct, you forget perfection, you accept not- sought-after results, results to revolve around, to repeat and to reuse.
  • Paint and draw your ideas whenever you can. Activate your visual thinking. (ref. behind the serviette)

Clues for a better understanding of ‘The Adventure of Diana’:
Do you already know why the shipbuilder of the ‘Why Not?’ shipyard is called Matías? Why does he have this blond fringe?