Samsung innovation workshop in Dubai

I just traveled to the Middle East for the first time to lead a two-day innovation workshop in Dubai, U.A.E. I wanted to share some of the highlights. I created a lot of new material to fill a curriculum of two full days, and I’m planning more of these longer format sessions in 2013.

The event was sponsored by Samsung and the launch of their Galaxy Note II, and hosted by the talented team at Training Hotline. Our meeting room overlooked the Dubai skyline on one side and a horse and camel racing track on the other. Thanks to everyone for an amazing and inspiring couple of days.

I titled the workshop “Innovation Worth Sharing: Beyond New and Improved”. The basic thesis is that there has never been a better time for marketers with a story to share. Yet many innovations are not worth sharing. In the two days, we worked to create innovation with a meaningful point of difference. Innovation is shaped both by the ideas themselves and how those ideas are brought to life. We started the first day with “creating killer ideas” and continued the second day with “overcoming idea killers”.

The days were filled with cartoons, case studies, and lots of interactive workshops that involved visual storytelling. Over the two days, we simulated bringing actual products to life from the idea stage to marketing launch. Ideas ranged from watches to beverages to fashion apps.

Doodling is the simplest form of prototyping. It’s also a universal way to communicate. We used doodling and visual storytelling to share ideas and illustrate every step in the journey (which is much more engaging than yet another boring PowerPoint).

Samsung lent us a room full of devices to use during the event, which are great tools for doodling, capturing ideas, and sharing ideas with a team.

We set up the back of the room as a “Wiki Wall”. When I worked at method, we had floor-to-ceiling whiteboards on every vertical surface to capture all of the ideas in process. We called it the “Wiki Wall” because everyone in the company could add to it an any real time. It allows ideas to evolve. It was amazing to watch how the ideas developed and took shape over the two days.

Here’s a quick summary of the modules we covered in the course. I’ll keep you posted as we plan more in 2013.

Day 1: From the Start: Creating Killer Ideas

1) What Makes a Killer Idea

2) Starting With Purpose

3) Finding Your Niche

4) Breaking The Rules Of The Category

5) Making Your Users Awesome

6) Communicating Without Camouflaging

Day 2: After the Brainstorm: Overcoming Idea Killers

1) What Are The Idea Killers

2) David Within Goliath

3) We All Work In Marketing

4) The Abominable No Men

5) The Last Mile

6) Always In Beta

7) Telling The Story



  1. Mark Moreno says:


    Very Cool! I am sure that I speak for myself (only one person at a time on my keyboard) when I say that as a raving fan and ardent follower when I say that your very cool and irreverent and the world needs more like you although I doubt few could be as creative. Can you do a cartoon on restaurant marketing? Maybe something that has some silly bent on social media.

    Travel Safe,


  2. Omar Abedin says:

    We really enjoyed hosting you Tom, look forward to the next event :) Thanks again!

  3. Maher Dosoqi says:

    Hi Tom,

    Wish I knew you were in Dubai. I would liked to meet you in person! I am a big fan of your art, thanks for adding great humor to our lives as marketers.


  4. Shravan Shetty says:

    Hi Tom

    I like your approach to innovation. Very Hands on and insightful.
    Let me know if you Facilitate a open workshop in India at Bangalore . I would love to attend. please do let me know if you have authored a book on ” The Tom Fishburne Technique”
    If you havent , Please write a Book , I will be the first one to line up and buy ..May your tribe increase
    We need a fresh approach to innovation . Glad to see the assortment that you have taken from concept to implementation.

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