Oct 232011

The topic of Knowledge Management is, for many , closely related to Innovation. And one reason for a rise in interest in KM is because it has become an imperative for both private and public organisations to innovate to remain relevant in the highly competitive and fast changing modern world.   At the next meeting of the Society we welcome Eric Spain as our speaker and his topic Innovation. Eric’s talk also links nicely to Professor Dr. Wilkesmann’s speech to the September meeting of the Society . She touched on the concept of Ignorance Management and Eric takes the discussion further and proposes that one means of creating valuable knowledge out of ignorance is via Innovation.

Further details on the talk and the speaker can be found below.

The meeting will be held at our usual venue on Thursday 3 Nov Conference Room 2, 22/F, United Centre 95 Queensway (Admiralty MTR Station).

The event is free for members of the HKKMS and HK$200 for non-members.


My colleagues and I look forward to seeing you at the meeting.


Innovation: creating valuable knowledge out of ignorance

An innovation is any new deliverable that produces value. It goes way beyond just generating ideas and applies to everything – not just Technology, the first and last thing that people in Hong Kong think about when they hear that word.

Despite Innovation being high on today’s management agenda , organisations are not very good at it.  Over 80% of attempted innovations fail before they reach the market and over 90% of those that do also fail. Also, many firms in established industries are in denial when others innovate – they don’t see a sea-change coming – examples include the way recorded music is distributed, the demise of gas mantles 100 years ago, or the impact of airlines on American railways.


Whilst enterprises have the organisation and the people to successfully produce their products or services, other enablers are needed for innovation: it is no longer an ‘add-on’ nor an ‘optional extra’.

Eric will go over this ground and tell the extraordinary story of a Russian genius who ‘discovered’ TRIZ (The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving). This was then developed in the West and extended into other fields such as management. Now referred to as “Systematic Innovation”,  it has been adopted by rising global giants , notably Samsung and LG in Asia.  Eric will then give an outline of the ‘toolkit’ and structured data bases that now exist with examples of how they work.

We will discuss the relevance of the Systematic Innovation to firms in Hong Kong.

Eric Spain’s Bio:
Eric Spain is a science graduate who pursued a career in broadcasting and telecommunications engineering in the UK, Ireland, Uganda, Singapore and Hong Kong. He joined the Hong Kong Government in 1973, held posts in a number of departments and served on a number of Government and University advisory bodies. He is a Fellow of the HKIE and of the IET and was an early strong ‘activist’ for putting Information Technology onto a professional footing. He has a long-standing interest in the processes of getting new thinking such as Design Method, Systematic Innovation, Open Space Technology and, of course, Education.