Undercover Innovators: Ian Lyons

I am always amazed that we often look overseas for inspiration or leadership before looking closer to home.

I see people being flown in to Australia from all over the world – to discuss topics, ideas and innovations. And while this is great. Inspirational even. It’s also disappointing to see that we ignore, fail to promote or support the innovation that is occurring in our own backyards.

Now, to be honest, I have also benefited from these types of programs. For example, I recently travelled to the US to speak to 50 of GE’s top global executives on the topic of digital and social media strategy. It was fascinating and challenging – and all over in a couple of hours.

But you’d be surprised who and what you can find close by. Sometimes you just need to scratch the surface.

This is partly why I am involved in youth not for profit, Vibewire – and a strong supporter of their monthly Fastbreak program (showcasing young innovators and entrepreneurs). It’s a constant reminder of just how talented and innovative people (and young people in particular) can be.

And it is also why I have started a new, regular section on my blog. Undercover Innovators is dedicated those talented people doing interesting and challenging things, often far away from public view (or in a niche area). I want to explore the way ideas can keep you awake at night, and what you need to do to make them a reality.

Last week I had the pleasure to speak with Ian Lyons, founder of SocialFocus.com.au, about his passion for innovation and the work he is doing with the Sydney Festival. Sorry about some of the sync problems – I blame Ian’s iPhone – but only marginally more than I blame my Flip video. Hope you enjoy!


Undercover Innovators looks beneath the surface to find and share the stories of innovators that you may know – or may want to get to know better. If you know someone who is a good candidate, be sure to drop me a line!