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Tania de Jong talks about how her grandmother patented the foldable umbrella (then lost it)

Patent for the 'flirt' (foldable umbrella)

Some weeks ago, I attended the launch of an upcoming conference, Creative Innovation 2010, scheduled to take place in the second week of September. Two remarkable things happened at the event.

Firstly, a senior representative from a leading Australian bank told an endearing story about her early successes outside the banking sector. (It’s a rare thing to be won over by a representative from the Australian banking sector.) Secondly, conference organiser Tania de Jong, surprised the crowd with a story about her grandmother’s inventiveness… before bursting into song.

For those who know de Jong, this type of behaviour apparently shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The conference is a departure from her roles as founder of The Song Room, a creative learning group for over 200,000 disadvantaged Australian children, which won her the Ernst & Young Australian Social Entrepreneur of the Year accolade in 2006, and Pot-Pourri, an entertainment and event production company.

The inaugural Creative Innovation Conference 2010 is a slight departure from her previous entrepreneurial soirees, focusing on innovation and future thinking, with an unsurprising touch of flair, in the form of concerts, ‘deep conversations’ and ‘agent provocateurs’, such as Peter Ellyard (Futurist and Author “Designing 2050: Pathways To Sustainable Prosperity On Spaceship Earth”), Dr Michael Porter (Director of Research, CEDA) and Tim Wilson (Public Policy Commentator).

The speaker list also includes Dr Edward de Bono, Edward Luttwak and Michael Rennie, among a long list of talent.

What I am hoping for with the respect to Creative Innovation 2010 is an event on innovation that is also innovative (a rare occurrence, unfortunately, in the innovation space). However, based on de Jong’s launch (and the video below), I’m guessing that Creative Innovation 2010 might just actually stand and deliver.

Foldable Umbrella (the ‘flirt’), Tania de Jong