World Creativity & Innovation Week - famous inventions from the past

This week is the United Nations World creativity and innovation week and it’s important because it’s all about how to encourage creative and innovative thinking. And if the United Nations think it's important, I think we should all think it's important as well. 

Creativity and innovation play a major role on the economy. The Creative Economy is worth around $2.5 billion a year, and relates to  the visual arts, design, new media performing arts, and publishing and generates close to about 13 million each and every year.

The innovation economy is what the worlds business powerhouses are playing. Businesses such as Google and Facebook for example. So what that means is that innovation is extremely important not only to us as individuals as either knowledge workers or members of the community or business owners or people working organisation, it's also what we can do for society. The UN believe that innovation, creativity and  entrepreneurship is one of the key catalysts for providing momentum to economic growth for job creation and expanding opportunities. Opportunities for everyone. That means workers, children, mothers, women. It means trying to provide solutions for big issues such as poverty and hunger.

Innovation and creative thinking is one of the ways that we can help to solve these problems. Innovation can help us to solve existing problems that exist right here right now, and innovation can help us to prevent any future problems that might be arising in the future. Most importantly, innovation can help us to make the world safer for everyone.

What I thought would be really cool was to share with you some classic Australian inventions and innovative thinking, because for many of our readers who are based in Australia, we often say that we're not very innovative here in Australia.

So let's get stuck into them. 

The first one I want to talk to you about is called the ‘black box voice recorder’. In the 1950s Dr David Warren was looking at ways of improving flight safety. He was investigating  an Australian plane by the name of the comet that just kept crashing.  Tragically also for Dr. Warren, his father and died in a aeroplane accident, way back in the 1930s and that prompted him to look at ways of making flight safety, more accessible. Subsequently he invented the ‘black box’ recorder. Nowadays they are all bright orange so that they can be recovered easily. 

Another invention worth being aware of, was by an Australian of the Year, Professor Fiona Woods in 1999, Professor Woods  heads up the major burns unit in a Western Australian Hospital. She was responsible for saving many lives after the horrible Bali bombing, many years ago.  She invented ‘spray on skin’. Basically they take a certain amount of fresh skin and and put that into a petri dish and grow more skin from it and then spray this onto the burnt skin so that the damaged skin would repair it faster, reduce scarring and also reduce infection.

Here's another one. Now this is going way back into the 1920’s, and it was the first pacemaker ever invented. Dr. Mark Lidwell and physicist Edgar Booth created a pacemaker that was attached to a needle and by injecting that needle into the heart, after 10minutes minutes of electrical stimulation a heart could be beating on it’s own an in correct rhythm.

Google Maps is another invention that came out of Australia. Back in early 2000  there were two Danish brothers by the name of Lars and Jen's Rasmussen living in Sydney and they teamed up with two Australians Stephen Ma, and Neil Gordon, and together they founded a company called Where 2 technologies. Three years later, in 2003, Google bought them up and they continued to work on developing what is now known as Google Maps. 

Another Australian invention that I guarantee you use every day - Wi Fi. In 1992  john O'Sullivan and the CSRI  developed Wi Fi.

And for those of you who may be expecting a baby ultrasound scanning was another Australian invention. ‘Ausonics’ was a spin off of an Australian research team which was looking at the use of ultrasound, way back in the 1950s, but it was in 1976 when they first commercialised the ultra sound scanner and the rest is history. So if you're wondering where those scans come from. you can think the Australians for that one. 

 The worlds first anti cancer vaccine  was developed by two people in Australia in 2006. Professor Ian Fraser and Dr Jian Zhou created the research that led to the cervical cancer anti vaccine drug by the name of Gardasil.

Some of you might be thinking, Oh it’s easy for professional inventors scientists and researchers to be innovative.

The good news is that we can all be innovative and we all already have creative, and innovation skills. Yes you do. Remember when you were a kid you were a very curious creature. You asked questions, “Why…?’  You experimented by doing, and combining new things. Taking food and adding it to dirt. 

That's what innovation is. It's about combining things not usually combined before, it’s about pulling things apart and exploring. And the only reason why we've lost this is we are taught more about conformity, rather than creativity and that's what stifles so much about innovative thinking. 

So how can we bring back creative and innovative thinking? Simply put, first one would be to ask more questions. The power of your questions determines the quality of the solutions that you create. If you're not getting great ideas it’s probably because you're not asking the right type of questions. So get better at asking questions.

Ask why do we want to solve this problem? Why is it not working at the moment? What would be a better solution? 

The second thing that we can do is get really good at experimenting. The motto for experimenting is ‘spend a little, learn a lot’. 

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Chances are you’re up against some obstacles in your organisation. We have the CIK the chief ID killer at the top, and then we have the COO, the chief obstacle officer. We've got the CTO who is the chief thwarting officer and then we've got the CFO, the Chief Fear Officer, then underneath that we've got the misinformation manager, we've got the the risk analyst, the blame others technician and the process complexity advocate.

If you're in an organisation like this It's time that you start to stand up for your right to innovate stand up for creating a better future, not only for your yourself, not only for your organisation, but for the industry and for the world that we live in there, when we can do that, we're going to create a better environment for all of us. 

One of the ways that we're celebrating this international creativity and innovation week is by giving a couple of giveaways. 

We're going to give away a number of innovation mentorship and number of innovation of our innovation books. To find out more about these him to

So that's it for me. I hope that's given you some value by getting you to think about how innovation and creativity is important. Thanks for reading. 



Founder of Ideas with Legs | Innovation speaker | consultant | author

nils vesk