George Barbee speaks on innovation at Rotary's meeting Friday, Jan. 29, at The Dunes. Rotary photo
George Barbee speaks on innovation at Rotary's meeting Friday, Jan. 29, at The Dunes. Rotary photo

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following report from the Rotary Club of Sanibel Captiva meeting at The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club on Friday, Jan. 29, was submitted by Shirley Jewell of the Rotary Club.

In the opening narration of “Star Trek,” Capt. Kirk raises the idea of innovation by saying “to boldly go where no man has gone before”.  Another quote regarding innovation particularly in economics, management science, and other fields of practice and analysis, “is the process that brings together various novel ideas in a way that they have an impact on society”-Wikipedia. 

George Barbee-speaker, author, business executive, faculty fellow at Darden School of Business, and business consultant was Rotary’s guest speaker recently, speaking on how we all can use methods, “Innovation Nuggets,” to stretch our thinking allowing the incubating of innovative ideas. Steve Jobs himself said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

George’s book “Innovation Nuggets” outlines ways in which we can expand our innovation capabilities by using talents connected to: observation, transferring, imagining, experiencing, respecting, and investing. 

George tells us, “The possibilities for innovation are all around us”.  Example: travel… air travel…luggage.  Here’s an observation… back in the day…air travelers arrived at the airport with tickets prepared by a travel agent, carried heavy suitcases, handed them off to a red-cap inside the airport or schlepped them ourselves to the plane, walked directly onto the plane, sat in wide-seats, had full course meals served to us by a cheerful stewardess, and upon arrival at our destination our luggage was put out on the tarmac for us to pickup. Well, things have changed.  

Time forwarded to now…e-tickets printed by us, self-check-in, lighter suitcases-suitcases on wheels-smaller carry-on bags, must arrive at airport two-hours earlier than flight, security lines, sit in a holding area for hours, no meals or snacks or free liquor, and wait at the luggage carousel for your bags to come out of that black hole in-the-wall. 

Well, changes in air-travel didn’t just come out of the blue sky.  Innovative thinking brought about those changes…innovation whether forced by government regulations, forced by profit-margins or just plain improvement innovations…this was all done by innovative thinking and the willingness to bring ideas to fruition. Observing the present, imagining the future, dare to be a dreamer, Walt Disney did. Remember practice makes perfect…use the tools of innovation…observation, transferring, imagining, experience, respecting the process, and investing. 

George told us that all of us are capable of being innovative. Improve your observation skills-constantly look around, put yourself in a listening and receiving mode, make notes, keep lists, set a goal for observe at least once a day something of interest, be around like-mined people, and transfer your ideas into action. Individuals can be innovative within themselves but business entities use a teamwork approach.

Make ideas become a reality

Rotary International and Rotary Clubs around the world exemplify innovation by envisioning a better future for those in need around the globe by developing programs to support :  Clean water - building sustainable clean water and sanitation facilities; Education- worldwide 67 million children have no access to education, and more than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Our members support educational projects that provide technology, teacher training, vocational training teams, student meal programs, and low-cost textbooks to communities, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy; Healthcare- programs for mothers and children-at least 7 million children under the age of five die each year due to malnutrition, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation. Rotary and our healthcare partners  provide immunizations and antibiotics to babies, improve access to essential medical services, and support trained health care providers for mothers and their children; Fighting disease- improve and expand access to low-cost and free health care in underdeveloped areas; Strong focus on POLIO immunization; Promoting peace, Growing local economies, and Disaster relief- Shelterbox Program.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club for its 7 a.m. Friday morning meetings. As usual, guests are always welcome.