ILTA sessions launched into high gear on Monday with the keynote by Frans Johansson entitled The Medici Effect, like his new best-selling book. Johansson captured the attention of the standing-room only crowd when he flashed photos of a giant termite hill, a bikini-clad sunbather, an icy landscape and a disco dance scene. Then he challenged attendees to find the connection to architecture, a burqa, sleeping beds and Martin Luther King.

His fast-paced session asked people to see the connections and combinations in current ideas and remember that Einstein, DaVinci and Richard Branson (Virgin Records) did not succeed on any of their first attempts. Innovation today is seeing the connections and combinations and determining the best way to execute. This requires continual trial and error, tweaks, and adaptations. And through perseverance, we come up with great innovations.

So, what does a giant termite hill and architecture have in common? The tallest building in Zimbabwe has no air-conditioning, but keeps a constant comfortable temperature through a unique venting system, using 90% less energy.

What does ice have to do with sleeping bags? The Ice Hotel draws more than 40,000 people out into the cold and snow every year to experience a chilly, yet pristine experience.

What does Martin Luther King have to do with a disco club? Freedom takes many forms, and in Russia one form is Russian Techno, a unique music trend and their way to pay tribute to King and his ideals.

And the burqa and bikini? Well of course it’s the newest innovation for protective swimming and sun gear that also enables women to swim without the traditional and uncomfortable flowing garments.

With that, ILTA was off and running, and open court to talk innovation, creativity, and technology solutions.

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