Fast Company Innovation Festival Day 2

Hello friends,

It's day two of the festival and both main stages are open and packed with people and top-notch speakers. 

We started the day at the main stage and then went to more fast track sessions in Chelsea.


Session one, Transportation in 2025: What's down the road. 

Panel session with:

Sherry Aaholm, CIO, Cummins
Michimasa Fujino, CEO Honda Aircraft Company
Roger Harris, CRO and EVP Marketing, Amtrak 

This session was packed. It seems everyone wants to know what the future of transport will be and the person everyone had questions for was the CEO of Honda Aircraft Company.

They all talked about the shift in the types of engines they are all focused on. They agree that the new engines they are making need to be more efficient and use less natural resource even in the diesel engines they are making.

When it comes to going electric, here is what they see in the future: 

  • A fully electric plane could be in market in 10 years, Honda has concepts they are working on but planes require so much energy that they will really only be used for short trips or in times when there isn’t high congestion in the sky. He said they don’t see it being a full solution, they see more of a hybrid approach until better technology is available. 
  • Cummins said the challenge with electric is that is can’t work when you need bigger, more powerful engines like in trucks going cost to cost. They are focused on being more green and finding the right fit for the right technology. Electric vehicles have a place in short trips, not the longer trips that require more power. The lack of infrastructure also plays a part in the US.

The next topic was autonomous vehicles:

  • Amtrak sees it as the last mile in customer travel. They see safety as a key problem for autonomous train operation, they still need engineers on the train. For Amtrak, autonomous can play a role in getting their passengers home or to work in the last mile. 
  • Honda sees plane automation as something that’s more possible than in a car. So much of air travel is already automated that they could make the whole process automated, the problem is safety. It’s not something people are comfortable with yet, they don’t want to get on a flight without a pilot. However, Honda said they have the technology to be able to make a plane land at the closest airport if there is a safety concern.
  • Cummins said they think autonomous is possible but the challenge is with how society feels about this new technology. They can’t see a time that vehicles will be driven on their own, but drivers will still be in the vehicle while also being able to think about what happens at the end of the journey. The role of a driver will change, they will need to know how to use technology more and they will need to focus on customer service at the end of the journey. 

High-speed travel, what’s the reality?

  • Honda said the idea of a supersonic jet isn’t a new idea, it started in 1996/1997. They recently started a new project to think about how to make the sonic boom issue of sonic flight and how to eliminate it. They are working on the issues to make sonic jet travel more smooth with take-off and landing too. 
  • Amtrak said high-speed travel is a great idea but it’s more than a decade away to get new land acquisition and reduced environmental impact to be justified and built. The next 5 years is more about making sure they use their current infrastructure and making that faster. 


Session Two, Embracing Irrationality: How uninhibited thinking can save your career, the company and the world

Next up was a workshop on thinking irrationally to problem solve.

We got into the room and sat down at tables with people who would, for the rest of the session, be in our workgroup as we used a new framework to problem solve and think differently.

It was lead by T3 who was just named the third most innovative company in the USA by Forbes.

They have done research on what makes some companies more innovative than others and one thing they found that was a common thread was that they were all irrational. They can be hard to work with, mean, but they all see the world differently and they are irrational. 
The people who have changed the world, have had irrational ideas. 

The workshop was to try and get us thinking more irrationally.

They took us through the below framework and gave us a case study to put this framework into practice. 

Step 1: Identify the false constants.
What things are taken as truth that might not actually be true forever? 
In the banking industry, a false constant might be that people will use an ATM to get cash out. In reality, we are moving to a cashless society so ATMs will become obsolete at some point. 

Step 2: Create the new true constant. 
Once you have uncovered the false constants in your industry and broken them, what are the new truths you're replacing them with?
In the content streaming industry, if we say the false constant is that studios will always make content that people will need to pay for, the new true constant is that content will be totally democratised. 

Step 3: Write out the big vision.
Take the new true constant to the furthest point, what does it mean for society if the false constants we believe today are totally gone? 
For Amazon, Jeff Bezos' big vision is that a consumer will just need to think of something they need and Amazon will be able to get it to them in minutes. That's why they are testing 3D printing trucks driving around neighbourhoods to give the people what they want in the shortest amount of time possible. 

It was a great workshop and the framework could be applied to any type of big idea you're trying to crack.

That's a wrap on day two. Looking forward to giving another update tomorrow. 
Copyright © 2019 Character, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp