“No worries mate!”

I had again the chance to do again some keynotes and facilitate several brainstormsessions in Sydney and Melbourne. This was my fifth trip to Australia in the last three years and I love to work with the aussies. Most people know that ‘No worries, mate’ is one of the most heard expressions in Australia and it fits very good with necessary climate for creativity.

It could be my imagination (because the weather is of course a good factor to come over to this side of the world) but I have a feeling that people are more open to make ideas happen here in Australia. I found several reasons:

+ The No worries mate mentality allows you to think without boundaries because people are sure that they will find a solution. (And that’s true, you will always find several solutions – maybe you don’t like the consequences but you always have several choices)

+ Because Australia is quite isolated from the rest of the world, they have to develop their own solutions. I find the aussies more hands-on than Europe (and I’ve visited the US several times and I think it’s quite similar to Europe). It has to be practical for them and aussies don’t like big theories and like to go into action.

So if you can do a brainstorm and make it as concrete as possible, the chance is very big that they will adopt some of the top-ideas and start implementing them the next week. That’s not always the case in Europe -certainly not in Belgium – where people first have to form a subgroup who are going to make a business plan and then they form a committee which is going to evaluate the business plan and then the management team has to make a decision and 15 meetings later … nothing happened (except that the idea has become a burden instead of an energy booster). I exaggerate a bit but Belgians have a tendancy to keep on talking and discussing ideas instead of making ideas happen.

+ I had the opportunity to talk with Jason Cotton – Innovation manager at Citipower-Powercor (one of the bigger electricity company in Australia). Jason told me that he was brainstorming with his fieldworkers (the guys who go out on the street and repair all the electricity poles) – he didn’t call it brainstorming but he used the time with these guys to see what they could do to make their work easier. And when one of them came up with a good idea, Jason would get his flip-camera and make a 2 minute video of the idea. So not a fancy video (that costs a lot of money and requires a lot of preparation time)  where the innovation manager and the management team explain what they have found and what they will do (and how good they are). Nope, just a flip-camera and 2 minutes filming on the spot and put that video on the intranet so that direct colleagues can see and experience that they also can contribute to make their jobs easier (and create an innovative culture through the whole organisation). That’s the spirit!

+ And there are many other reasons why I love to collaborate with the aussies but enough for now. I have to ‘ship’ this blog and make some other ideas happen 😉

Thanks participants from Knowledge Management Roundtable Sydney and Melbourne, the Hub Melbourne, Knowledge Management Leadership Forum, BUPA, Australian Market and Social Research Society and all the other great people that I’ve met on my aussie trip for the great experience again. I’ll be back 😉