Meet the Advisors: Bill O’Connor

Anthony Cerullo
March 9, 2018

Anyone who knows Bill O’Connor knows what an inspirational force he is. Without Bill, the YouToken concept would never have come to fruition. Bill’s unique brand of consulting manifests itself in the form of Autodesk Innovation Genome Project (AIGP), a vast research project that has taken Bill seven years to develop. (The next research module of the project is called the Nobel Laureate Innovation Project, where he and a team of Berkeley/Haas students have already interviewed 11 Nobel Laureates, talking about innovation and how they do it.) Today the AIGP successfully operates as a methodology that helps clients break out of the “innovation poetry” trap, and move into an environment where actual innovation happens. So let’s meet the man behind the mind, and you’ll come to realize why Bill O’Connor is so influential, and necessary to YouToken’s past, present, and future success.


The Autodesk Innovation Genome Project is a research project and innovation methodology being developed in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. The main goal of the project is to create a unique, effective, and comprehensive innovation methodology that utilizes new innovative techniques that are both powerful and practical. By studying 350 innovations going back 3.5 million years, Bill and his team have unearthed five essential innovation techniques that creative geniuses have used to shape, improve, and ultimately create the world we see all around us. Bill has spent the past seven years developing this methodology and teaching it to others around the world -- and in fact, that’s a rather seamless segue into our next segment.  


The relationship between Bill O’Connor and YouToken CEO Ilya Volkov is not a long one, but it has produced fantastic results thus far. Simply put, the YouToken you know today would not exist without the help of Bill's AIGP methodology. When Bill and Ilya met last year in San Francisco at an Innovation Strategy Session for FXClub and Libertex, the two came to a great realization -- but to first understand this realization, we must understand the “LUMIAMI” technique that serves as the foundation of the AIGP methodology.

"LUMIAMI" is a mnemonic device to help people remember the Seven Essential Innovation Questions -- the powerful, but simple, questions that have been asked by true innovators about the status quo for millions of years. In the course of the AIGP research, Bill and his team actually found seventy-five innovation questions, but these seven have proven to be both the easiest to apply and the most powerful in terms of impact. Here is a top-level look at these timeless questions:

Look: What could we look at in a new way?

Use: What could we use in a new way?

Move: What could we move, changing its position in space or time?

Interconnect: What could we interconnect for the first time or in a new way?

Alter: What could we alter in terms of design and performance?

Make: What can we make that is truly new?

Imagine: What can we imagine that would create a great experience for someone?

These are the “seven essential innovation questions.” If you have a problem to be solved or an opportunity to be addressed (i.e. an "Innovation Target") the first thing to do is to ask these seven questions about the status quo you're facing. That’s exactly what Bill and Ilya did at that workshop, which brings us back to our story.


As established players in the financial industry, FX Club and Libertex are involved with traditional assets like currencies, stocks, bonds, etc. -- all of which are essential to the world of finances today, but none of which are particularly innovative. Using Bill’s Innovation Genome methodology, plus Ilya’s plan to create a new asset in “human intelligence,” the two applied the LUMIAMI technique in a targeted brainstorming session. For example, they “looked” at these assets in a new way, and also figured out how they could “use” them in a way that’s never been done before.

The basic idea they came up with is this: it’s easy to invest in stocks, bonds, and so on. However, until now, there was no way to invest in the asset of human intelligence -- which is, after all, the source, the wellspring, of all true innovation. Using the Innovation Genome methodology YouToken has created a way to materialize this core human asset, converting people’s creative ideas into tokens and allowing other people to invest in and trade them in a fashion similar to the stock market. To put it another way, just as our ancestors took a spear and connected it to a curved piece of wood and a string to create the bow and arrow, Ilya applied a new technology (blockchain) to an old idea. As a result, YouToken was born.


Bill’s research and methodology are relatively new to YouToken, but they are no surprise to the 200+ organizations he’s worked with over the years, from more than 40 countries around the world. As Autodesk’s Innovation Strategist, and via his own consulting, Bill has applied the Autodesk Innovation Genome Project methodology at companies/organizations such as Facebook, Airbnb, Starbucks, Bechtel, Tesla, the U.S. Navy, Google, the World Bank, Fluor, and LucasArts. Today, when he's not helping us to build YouToken, you can find Bill working with clients and speaking at major conferences -- for example, the upcoming Global Blockchain Forum in Silicon Valley -- all over the world.


We can’t emphasize enough how helpful Bill and his research/methodology have been in developing the YouToken concept. Without him, none of this would exist, and we are looking forward to working with Bill to develop YouToken into something that is really special, and successful. And we are also happy to share this innovation methodology with everyone, hopefully resulting in beneficial growth for us all.


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