Over 180 business people found out how a banana could help them come up with a brilliant new business idea at a recent seminar on Corporate Creativity organised by Invest Northern Ireland.

The banana was an example of using random stimulus to generate lateral thinking, one of a range of techniques for generating creative ideas, which were presented at the seminar.

The techniques, which can be used to address any kind of business issue, include thinking like a child, challenging the rules and using random connections.

Delivered by innovation specialists, ?WhatIf!, the half-day seminar used actors, video clips, audience participation and anecdotal evidence to demonstrate the creative tools which can be used to produce innovative thinking that will lead to a bottom line improvement.

During the seminar Victor Jordan, Director of Business Improvement Services, Invest NI, also reviewed a successful new programme, Accelerating Innovation, recently piloted by the Agency, which is helping companies identify their innovation strengths and weakness, draw up practical plans for improvement and increase profitability.
“Invest NI believes that creativity and innovation are the new raw materials of Northern Ireland, and if mined effectively can transform Northern Ireland into a world-class region,” he said.

Bruce Robinson, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry, closed the seminar by urging businesses to adopt innovation as the way forward for Northern Ireland.

“The bottom line is that, in order to sustain long-term economic success in the modern, highly competitive global marketplace, we will require our companies, our entrepreneurs, our universities, our further education colleges and our public sector to harness the creative talents that are inherent in all of us and innovate, time after time after time. “

The seminar was opened by Dr Aideen McGinley, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, and was run in partnership with Capita Learning and Development and A&B, Arts and Business Northern Ireland.

Participant Chris Turkington of Hilton Meats commented:” I thought it was a very enjoyable and practical seminar, an innovation in itself."