Insight #2: BIF Summit 2016

The Business Innovation Factory (BIF) Summit has no theme beyond presenting remarkable stories about transformation. Participants themselves discover patterns, aha’s, and insights that make sense for them. That’s what happens when you put stories of transformation together with curious people from all walks of life and many different fields.

I’m sharing my top 10 insights from BIF2016 in a series of 10 stories, each with five videos of stories that led me to that insight.

Today, I’m posting Insight #2. You can see my Insight #1 videos here. Note, many more stories at BIF2016 touched on this subject, so you might want to explore the entire set of BIF2016 videos.

Insight: Order is not control

Natalie Nixon, Associate Professor and the Founding Director of the Strategic Design MBA at Philadelphia University, told us that chaos is actually randomness, order is actually structure, that neither is control, and both can exist in harmony. The idea that rethinking, reframing, or relinquishing control leads to greater creativity, innovation, and collaboration was touched on throughout BIF2016. These stories spoke to me on this theme (in no particular order).

Order is Boundaries

Play, practice, and perspective lead to boundary-spanning, said Nixon, and boundary-spanning is the value proposition of creativity. Innovation for Nixon is creating value through reframing.

Complex Systems Need Complex Networks

The solitary genius who will save us with an a-ha moment and a miraculous solution is a myth, said systems thinking Todd Khozein. Instead, we must bring complex networks of humans to bear on our problems, which requires order but not control.

AI and Algorithms Need the Human Touch

AI seems scary because humans are concerned about being controlled by machines. Jana Eggers, president of Nara Logics, told us that instead of letting machines do big-data work for us and being afraid of AI, we should get involved in the data world and ask questions of those programming the algorithms that control so much of our lives already.

Control is for Beginners

This talk is from 2013’s BIF9, but it must be included in any discussion of insights related to control. Jazzcode founder Carl Størmer brought a four-piece jazz ensemble to the BIF Summit to illustrate how improvisation works. A song offers structure to limit the options in which a group of musicians interact, said Størmer. In order to progress in life, you have to be open to other people’s ideas and be willing to go in directions you may not expect. Because control is for beginners — you don’t really have control, all you have is influence, he told the BIF9 audience.

Other stories in this series:

Reinvent Yourself First

Register for BIF2017 -

Wait! Before you go…

Choose how you want the latest innovation content delivered to you:

reneehopkinsRenee Hopkins works for the Business Innovation Factory. She writes extensively about innovation and creativity and is also a founder of the Twitter-based Innochat. Her chapter, “What Is Crowdsourcing?” was included in the book A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing (Kogan Page, 2011)

Renee Hopkins




Our Annual Trends Report: Boosting the Possibilities for 2021

By Shawn Nason | February 25, 2021

  I still remember the day we got the email telling us that the in-person version of the 2021 Consumer…

Read More

Controlling the controllables

By Janet Sernack | February 22, 2021

A recent article by McKinsey and Co “COVID-19: Implications for business”  describes a paradoxical dilemma for managers: the need to process both the…

Read More

Leave a Comment