Pep talk: ‘Innovation is the ultimate act of humanity’

We sat down recently with Thornton May to talk about some of the problems related to innovation at big companies, and in established industries. “We have racism, we have sexism, we have Valley-ism,” he says. That’s the idea that “there is somebody else who is special” who is responsible for shepherding new ideas into world — like the investors and entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley.

But our three-minute video with May is also a bit of a pep talk. “Innovation is the ultimate act of humanity,” he says. “We all have to innovate.” He talks about giving colleagues “permission to think big,” as opposed to perpetually being absorbed with day-to-day operational tasks.

May is a futurist and educator who has taught at Arizona State, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and Boston College. He’s the author of “The New Know: Innovation Powered by Analytics,” executive director of the IT Leadership Academy, and a columnist for the IT publication Computerworld. On Twitter, he’s @deanitla.

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