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London-based creative training, consulting & strategic design company providing onsite & public courses on the Creative Problem Solving Process, team-building, leadership, entrepreneurial mindset, business storytelling, applied improvisation and innovation facilitation. We run ideation sessions, we mentor, we coach, we deliver. In all we do, we're here to make you more agile & more successful in the face of change. 

United States of Innovation: Going Gonzeaux Tour May 2012


United States of Innovation: Going Gonzeaux Tour May 2012

Gregg Fraley

I’ve decided to take the battle of Doing Innovation to the streets.

Literally. Okay, it’s not a battle, it’s a conversation, but it’s definitely a road trip, and definitely about the Doing.

I’m heading down to Orlando, FL to attend the Front End of Innovation Conference (FEI) taking place May 15, 16, and 17. Instead of doing the boring (and convenient) thing of taking a cheap flight from Chicago to Disneytown, I’m opting to drive through the heartland and a bit of the south — I’m going Gonzeaux (“GAWN zoe”) on my way to FEI.

FEI is an amazing event, and, wouldn’t it be great if that innovation “conversation” was happening all over? And online?

As I Go Gonzeaux I’m going to take the pulse of the “state of innovation” in as many states as I can. I’ll post daily here, and report on innovative things I see, and talk to entrepreneurs, companies and organizations along the way Doing interesting, new, different, and yes, Innovative things. My intent is to extend the amazing FEI conversation to people and places in the USA that can’t attend — but have something to contribute.

To start the conversation, where and how is innovation happening in the USA heartland?

I’ll be happy to do a talk or consult on innovation (and/or creativity/creative problem solving/idea generation/new product development/trends/starting-up, etc.) to anyone who invites me — if you’re within shouting distance of my travel route (roughly I-75, but with swings on I-65) I’ll come and talk to any group of entrepreneurs, inventors, small business people, leaders, CEO’s, students, teachers, new product development specialists, or, in a word, innovators. Not only will we talk but we’ll put an emphasis on sharing what efforts are being worked on — and that data will be made public and brought with me to FEI in Orlando.

If I can add a helpful idea, refinement, connection, or help you kick start an innovation effort — well, you won’t be able to stop me. And of course I’ll want to talk a bit about what KILN is doing and I’ll be promoting Jack’s Notebook (the first and only business novel about creative problem solving). I’d like to share ideas and methods to kick-start innovation, with specific tools, techniques, processes, and program initiatives. We can talk open innovation, idea management systems, process, people, culture. I hope to talk to start-ups, small businesses, and large companies. Some of the speakers are from the heartland. Phil Duncan, Global Chief Design Officer with P&G is a featured speaker at FEI.

I hope we can stir up a bit of buzz via social media. Please help me spread the word. Use #Gonzeaux as a twitter hashtag, and/or #innovation and/or #fei_innovation. CC: @greggfraley or @kilnco. When in doubt default to #Gonzeaux.

My vision for this epic quest is something like Hunter Thompson meets Clay Christensen. It’s not Gonzo Journalism, but I hope it shares that energy. I’m returning to the roots of that term, Gonzo, back to the French. It means, sort of, “shining path.”  Like Thompson, it will be personal, not entirely objective, but I hope, always interesting, and about Doing Innovation.

I might even do some Ralph Steadman style drawings on my iPad to illustrate the trip.

I’m starting in Three Oaks, Michigan, so, the states I’ll be “covering” will include, at least, and on these approx dates:

  • Michigan – leaving here May 7
  • Indiana – May 7, 8 (Indianapolis)
  • Ohio – May 9 (Cincinnati)
  • Kentucky – May 10 (Louisville)
  • Tennessee – May 11 (Nashville)
  • Alabama – May 12 (Birmingham)
  • Georgia – May 13 (Atlanta)
  • Florida – May 15 (Orlando)

My day to day itinerary will be partially shaped by who responds to this. So, anybody along the route with an interest in meeting up, please send me an email: — and if I can I’ll make plans to stop by and pay you an innovation visit. Want some PR for your thing? Want some ideas for a thorny challenge? Need a keynoter for a company meeting? Get in touch!

If this goes well, or even goes interesting, I’ll think about visiting another set of states on the drive back. Might head up the east coast…might head further west and swing back. Don’t know yet, demand will shape it.

It’s time to Go Gonzeaux.

First announced @ here. Please add @greggfraley and @kilnco to your twitter lists.


Original drawing by Gregg Fraley