My name is Ralph Talmont. I’m in the idea business. Yes, that is a proper job.
I generate, evaluate, execute, communicate and celebrate ideas as a project founder, consultant, author, advisor or speaker on creativity, innovation and communication. I work with entrepreneurs, artists, corporations, educators and public administration professionals.
The general space in which I work has been called “innovation management” and, certainly, the definition of how innovation comes into being frequently comes into my conversations and talks. The basis of all innovation, of course, is a steady supply of good ideas, firmly rooted in creative practice and communicated properly at every stage of their development and implementation.
The modality may be different every time but the list of aims is usually brief – greater team creativity, a strengthening of the organisation’s “innovation muscles” and efficient explanation why these things are vital. Actual delivery may be by means of a development programme or an event, publications or a long term consulting engagement, multimedia production or an artistic intervention… There are many ways to build and promote creativity and innovation, sustainably.
For example, for the Danish industrial engineering company Danfoss, I have consulted on the creation and execution of a series of conferences, interviews and gatherings known as #ETTalks. The unifying factor has been to keep building a community of people building a sustainable future, and nourish that community with knowledge and inspiration. My job was to help some incredible people harness their ideas in preparation for the talk, and to serve as the host of the gatherings and interviews. So far, we have created gatherings in Warsaw, Kyiv and Nantes.
As COP24 was going on, we drove a red Tesla from Copenhagen, pimped it out with cameras and microphones, and then took some of the more incredible thought and action leaders in the fight against climate change for drives around the city of Katowice. In December.
With snow falling all around, and light fading by 3.30 pm, we interviewed a World Bank executive, a former Prime Minister, an IPCC climate scientist and other people uniquely qualified to comment on the many challenges associated with climate change. The results were published as, not surprisingly, the #ETTalksDrive edition. It was serious fun, and I think we managed to add some valuable input to the climate change discussion. They were apparently popular enough for us to win a major award in the Business-to-Business PR category.
Much of my work centres around various types of public-facing communication. This may be live or on-location interview formats and event hosting, as above, or more intimate studio gatherings where I am always grateful for opportunities to talk to truly incredible people about their work and achievements. The Create to Sustain Live! interviews were one such example. With the Boma Global team we curated an ongoing series of talks, featuring people from the interface of business, art and sustainability.
Making sense of today’s business challenges requires a healthy dose of creativity and clear team communication. Over the years I have had the privilege of assisting executive teams at major corporations, dynamic startups and leading educational institutions explore their collective and individual creativity and foster their communication skills. This work can take the form of team workshops or individual sessions and the programmes are always custom tailored to the client’s industry, context and needs.
You can’t ignore the written word. Paradoxically, and perhaps somewhat strangely for someone steeped in visual communication from photography to graphic design, film and multimedia, I would be the first to argue that clear, precise written communication is now as important as ever, if not more so. Words are my friends, they have been my intimate companions for a long time and I lean on them regularly – be it in stand-alone written pieces or as parts of other assignments and commissions. I try to be pithy, though admit to going for the fullest explanation if at all possible – from book length to a series of articles.
One of the joys of “the ideas business” is working with bright people from a multitude of industries. Vertical conferences, and company-specific gatherings, are a great opportunity for me to learn about the current state of various industries, which of course is a way to keep on top of both technological advances and management trends.