We sat down with Business Management with Entrepreneurship student, Jaap Lall, to discuss her experience of the Disrupt London: Innovation and Creativity event, hosted by Duncan Wardle.

Could you give an overview of the event…

Duncan Wardle ran a Creativity and Innovation Masterclass in London, the first time he ran the class outside of the USA. The aim of the event was to give the attendees the tools to be able to encourage creativity and innovation in business, overcoming the barriers to creativity and generally boosting the energy of members of organisations.

Who is Duncan Wardle?

Duncan Wardle is the former Head of Creativity and Innovation at Disney. He worked there for 30 years and won a trophy too!

What was your role on the day?

Our role was to welcome all of the guests, who came from all over the world: Mexico, Madrid, and all over the UK which was fun. We aided where we were needed during the day and assisted where possible and then helped to pack down the event in the evening.

Some of us were leading some of the game activities that the attendees were participating in and some of us were packing up leftover lunches to distribute to homeless people after the event.

Our main role was to ensure that everything ran smoothly. The variety of roles we got involved in also allowed us to network with the guests.

What was the best thing about the day?

I loved meeting Duncan and all of the people there - everyone was from such different and diverse environments which exposed me to so many new things. I think that the whole day was magical because Duncan has a fantastic way of engaging everyone and elevating the energy and connecting everyone together; he made everyone feel special and it was just a great day overall!

What did you take away from the event that is most beneficial to you?

There were a couple of things that stuck with me from the event:

  1. Duncan said that the biggest barrier to creativity is time to think. When you think too much about something, you end up not going ahead with the idea because you put it down and overthink it.
  2. He also said that there is no such thing as a bad idea, just bad timing. He told us a story about his time at Disney where he proposed an idea to them, which they rejected. He presented the same idea six months later and they thought it was the best thing in the world and went ahead with it.

Duncan is really creative and as well as getting Buzz Lightyear to and from the NASA Space Station, he was able to work in the slums in India on a project to light up 400,000 huts where there is no electricity. Someone questioned him and said that money is a barrier to creativity; he said that no it is not and that in actual fact some of the most entrepreneurial people he has ever met are located in those slums in India. It was actually a child that sparked the solution to the problem; he was then able to call in his team to make it happen and give those 400,000 huts light.

I think that was a really amazing story to prove that no idea is crazy, you just need to persevere and keep going, as well as how to engage your team in your future business ideas.

Was there anything that you learned on the day that can support your studies?

I think that the main thing that Duncan taught me, aside from creativity and innovation, was around presentation skills. He reiterated the importance of ensuring that your presentation caters to all members of the audience, regardless of the type of learner they are and the way in which they learn best, such as audiovisual and kinesthetic.

For example, Duncan used a flipchart as a part of his presentation that he used to create illustrations and then he stuck the illustrations all around the room to allow the audience to view again during the breaks which was incredible.

He said that a visual presentation definitely makes it more engaging and talked further about how to engage and appeal to an audience, ensuring that everyone feels like they are heard.