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Innovation Parkour’s 1st “Live Fire” Scramble

Yesterday, treatment Innovation Parkour (IP) co-creators, Matt Milan and Michael Anton Dila led the first IP live fire exercise at the Net Change Week at MaRS. We had almost 40 participants, who were ultimately divided into 6 project teams. After an introduction to the core ideas of Innovation Parkour, the participants were set an assignment and given 60 min to complete it, report back to the rally-point and present their group’s response to the challenge.

After making the disclosure that Innovation Parkour is a “social software” project in alpha and that they were the code base, the participants dove into a project to discovery and design a tour of Toronto’s Discovery District.

We learned a lot. We had set out to challenge three myths of innovation: that’s it is always expensive, time-consuming and requires deep specialization. The group’s work and presentations after just an hour of working with people they’d just met were remarkable validations of some of our assertions and theory.

As we toss this out to the group of participants I hope they’ll add their impressions, describe what they experienced and learned and that they’ll share more of their work/media from the session.

Thanks all, for the lively discussion, thoughtful questions, your insights and your participation.

Here’s the presentation we gave:

Here’s the video of Team 3’s exploration of the piste of discovery.

Net Change: Innovation Parkour on the go! from SiG @ MaRS on Vimeo.


  1. I got a lot out of the experience, I hope that the organizers got a lot out of it too.

    Thanks again for hosting it. I look forward to further progress.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 8:44 am | Permalink
  2. Thanks again Michael & Matt for putting the event together yesterday - really enjoyed it.

    Said this on the survey as well but will through it out here to see what others think.

    On reflection I think the challenge I had with the brief was still how vague it was. Parkour is about moving over obstacles & traditional boundaries in a flow like manner.

    I found the only real “obstacle” in the brief ended up being time and there wasn’t much flowing we could do around that one. The remaining requirements were certainly important considerations but they ended up being more checklist items to make sure we had them, vs. something that required innovative thinking to find/accomplish.

    In the end it felt a bit more like trying to parkour in a hurry, in an empty field.

    Would love to retry this in a setting where the requirements are tighter and maybe with a slightly more relaxed time frame (even 90 minutes).

    [i.e. an example context could be giving us a set of seemingly unrelated buildings with the challenge of finding/creating a common story and creating a 'tour' for them]


    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 8:55 am | Permalink
  3. Dexter Ico wrote:

    innovation being fun is bullshit; that’s what was asserted and that’s what i got. more importantly, i got that bullshit is fertilizer for courageous discourse–that exercise worked muscles i didn’t want to work–where people’s assertions created new receptors in my listening. that was valuable and effortless.

    thank you matt and michael for being a cause. i gained insight about leadership, resistance to it, creating it, and following it. i’m liking the taste of… bullshit. you lead i follow :)

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 9:43 am | Permalink
  4. As the mind is constantly predicting the future based on the past (often distant past) it is critical to train it to move beyond the unthinking moments (like “Is this car coming at me too fast?”) to the recognition of framing and decision.

    Seeing around corners rather than thinking you already know what is there because it was yesterday or someone told you it was is tough stuff. Not for the feint of heart just like parkour. Nice work gents.

    Really like the idea of people being the code. As I asked Dila today, if we are the code then what is the virus?

    Looking forward to the exercises from this work. I expect them to go well beyond a deck of cards and work sheet. No pressure or anything!

    Friday, June 12, 2009 at 8:09 am | Permalink

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