The Idea Conference 2008 Reviewed

It has a broad reaching name and this year Advertising Age and Creativity brought together an equally wide range of speakers for a day of dialog about creativity and innovation. This year’s conference was held in New York City at Terminal 5, usually a concert and nightclub venue on October 30th. Once inside, attendees could […]

Jason Anello of Yahoo! spoke about how his team embraced ‘experimental marketing’ with the Purple Pedals Project and the Ybike. The goal was to use Yahoo! as a platform to document the places and experiences people had while riding special bikes that Yahoo! customized with GPS units and cameras. The bikes have been sent to places around the world. Jason summed up 5 lessons that the Ybike project has produced that could be applied to choosing how to establish a project like Purple Pedals:

1. Do it or Lose it- there might only be one chance to take advantage of an opportunity
2. Don’t be scared to fail.
3. Learn something- build in a learning component
4. Make it part of something bigger- is there another initiative that is complimentary
5. Put it on steroids- is there an opportunity to go national, international

Nicholas Negroponte, the founder and chairman of One Laptop Per Child talked about how the project evolved and where it is today. Nicholas spoke about how the goal of each child owning a laptop was taking shape in way he didn’t earlier predict. In response to a question about what unexpected thing has he learned from the project so far, Nicholas spoke about the intense competition from other manufacturers to offer a laptop at a cheaper price than his. OLPC first saw the competition as a threat but has since welcomed other companies who are working on similar products. The company even released images of it’s next generation model on the internet this past spring as an incentive for others to copy. Since the real goal is for children to have access to the technology, Nicholas sees this as a way for other companies to help get it accomplished faster.
One Laptop Per Child is again offering a buy one give one program this year. Starting on November 17th for every laptop bought, another will be sent to a child in need. This year the program will be handled through Amazon.

Ian Yolles, the Head of Marketing for NAU spoke about the clothing company’s rise, fall, and recent rebirth. Ian spoke about the NAU design philosophy which in a broader context summed up where other speakers throughout the day thought innovation in business was taking place. Ian spoke of three attributes all of their products aimed to have:
-Beauty
-Performance
-Sustainability
In many ways NAU’s story merged together many of the topics covered throughout the day. The company has continued a commitment to giving by allowing customers to chose a social/environmental organization where 2% of their sale will be donated to. NAU established a code of conduct section on their site with details the company’s employment policies, supplier relationships, and environmental initiatives in a very transparent way.

The Idea Conference 2008

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