Innovation Leader Interview: Helen Jomoa

The Innovation Race

Helen Jomoa Interview - The Innovation Race, Travelers Tales

On Thin Ice AND The Innovation Race: Helen Jomoa polar expeditioner and specialist Tirian presenter talks about the important of team work and collaboration.

The first British woman to reach the North Pole, Helen Jomoa, has told us how it is critical to collaborate in extreme conditions for the mutual survival of the expedition team.

The Innovation Race: It’s interesting to note that Antarctica is the only place on Earth where nations have put aside their differences to focus on a common goal: the future of the planet. Antarctica is possibly the most sustainable and ecologically well-protected continent — and the most politically neutral. A number of countries agreed in a 1959 treaty to prohibit activities that could harm the fragile ecosystem of the continent, including mining, military activity, nuclear explosions and the dumping of nuclear waste. There are no permanent inhabitants on the continent, but it houses up to 5000 people at the different research stations located there. In Antarctica it’s possible to see what a winning innovation strategy might look like. People living and working in Antarctica have a strong sense of purpose, and they must learn to see from multiple perspectives and develop a deep empathy. They work from a foundation of guided freedom (working together with a framework of shared principles), and targeted openness (accepting diversity and building connections), with collaborative engagement (authentic mutually beneficial cooperation between countries) and grounded flexibility (enabled optimism with a stable foundation). Researchers are there because they believe they can make a difference, and use purpose-driven innovation to solve complex problems. We have talked about the concepts of winning, losing and eliminations in the context of the ‘innovation race’. It should now be becoming clear that if we don’t all win, we could all lose and be eliminated. Does Antarctica offer a model for how we can collaborate creatively to solve our most urgent problems? (from The Innovation Race Chapter 10)