Innovation in Asset Management – NxtGen – National Grid

On March 5th, National Grid hosted an event with NxtGen. NxtGen is an membership organisation of young asset management professionals globally, organised around the aims of sustaining and evolving the field of Asset Management for future generations. It was also sponsored by the Institute of Asset Management (IAM)

We were talking about innovation, so I thought it as appropriate to play this song for the audience. I also put the words up on the screen, so people could read them as they listened and filed in. Ella Fitzgerald is one of the greatest singers of all time. No argument. It is what it is. She is astonishing. But I’m digressing 🙂

This particular song, written by Goliath among songwriters, Gershwin,  is a love song wrapped in innovation theory. “They all laughed when Edison recorded sound!” Its such a brilliant song…and she sings it so damn beautifully. Point is…it was appropriate for the subject we were about to speak on. (Lyrics at the end of the post)

The motion: This House believes innovation is more effective when it evolves organically,  was based around ‘structured’ and ‘organic’ innovation in Asset Management. Which is best? Denise Massey, MD Energy Innovation Centre, Clive Deadman, 1905 Investments and I were arguing for Organic innovation, and the other team comprised of Keith Wishart, Senior Management Consultant – IBM, Steven Kaye (Head of Innovation, Anglian Water) and Carl Johnstone (Condition Monitoring Lead, National Grid) put the motion for Structured Innovation. The structured innovation team ultimately won the motion by a show of hands!! (this still hurts :)) However, I think this was because there was a sort of consensus that the answer was somewhere in the middle, and panelists from both sides began to give arguments both for and against. There were blurred lines. However…not to be a sore loser. It was indeed a thoroughly enjoyable, pleasurable and  great debate. To be fair…these guys know a lot more about it than I do.  And its not about the winning…(you fill in the rest!)

So first of all, we had to speak a little about ourselves and what qualified us to be on the panel. (No cops came for me at this point!!:)) Seriously though, I have worked and still get involved in work in and around the field of physical asset management, and have for  a number of years, developing and delivering training solutions, so I do have some form. Then we had to kick off an outline as to why we supported the motion.

The chair John Zammit-Haber from National Grid then asked pertinent questions where necessary, to guide discussions, field questions from panellists and the audience, and kept general order.

I also managed to show a little clip from a You Tube Video I had curated from James Dyson, and I gave a couple of examples from my personal and professional life…of organic innovation in action. You can view it here:  VideoAnt – James Dyson

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George Gershwin – They All Laughed Lyrics

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus
When he said the world was round
They all laughed when Edison recorded sound

They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother
When they said that man could fly
They told Marconi, wireless was a phony
It’s the same old cry

They laughed at me wanting you
Said, I was reaching for the moon
But oh, you came through
Now they’ll have to change their tune

They all said, we never could be happy
They laughed at us and how
But ho, ho, ho
Who’s got the last laugh now?

They all laughed at Rockefeller Center
Now they’re fighting to get in
They all laughed at Whitney and his cotton gin

They all laughed at Fulton and his steamboat
Hershey and his chocolate bar
Ford and his Lizzie kept the laughers busy
That’s how people are

They laughed at me wanting you
Said, it would be hello, goodbye
But oh, you came through
Now they’re eating humble pie

They all said, we’d never get together
Darling, let’s take a bow
For ho, ho, ho
Who’s got the last laugh?

Ho, ho, ho
Who’s got the last laugh?
Ho, ho, ho
Who’s got the last laugh now?



Singer/Songwriter Learning & Development Consultant Good Egg

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Posted in Conferences, Events, Learning Insight, Lyrics
One comment on “Innovation in Asset Management – NxtGen – National Grid
  1. […] This coming Saturday I shall be performing some Jazz standard with Stardust Big Band. This is a big deal for me, and hopefully the start of more opportunities to sing some Jazz alongside my other musical activities. I not an dogged muso when it comes to any music….but I do love to write songs and I do love to sing. See my Innovation post from a few months back. […]

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