Keynote speaker says he will focus on identifying opportunities for change

Cufaude The 64th International Auctioneers Conference and Show’s theme, “Driving Innovation,” takes Jeffrey Cufaude’s mind to Heinz’s “Dip and Squeeze” ketchup packet.

This handy product makes dipping food in ketchup, even while driving, more doable and also offers the traditional ketchup squeeze option — all while carrying three times more ketchup than the standard packet.

“By watching how people use ketchup packets, they took a problem that people had been experiencing for a long time and came up with a better way for people to use ketchup packets,” Cufaude says of the product, which launched in 2011.

“So how do you become more innovative? It all begins with paying attention to human behavior. Look for opportunities where people are frustrated, where they’ve created a work around, or they want to do something but can’t figure out how to do it.”

Cufaude is scheduled as the keynote speaker at the July 16-20 Conference and Show in Indianapolis. He calls himself an architect of ideas and has an Indianapolis-based business, Idea Architects.

Cufaude’s past experience includes serving as Executive Director of two national associations and working as a student affairs staff member at two public universities. He now aims to build communities of ideas and idealists through his writing, facilitation, consulting and speaking.

Innovation, Cufaude says, is often misunderstood. People often think innovative is a synonym of creative, which he says isn’t the case. Nor does innovation have to be revolutionary, like the iPhone, he says.

“Innovation is a change that improves value or performance,” he says, adding he learned the definition from the late business expert Peter Drucker.

Expect Cufaude’s keynote to explain why innovation is increasingly important for organizations to embrace, offer some simple habits that attendees can incorporate into daily life to foster innovative results, and show examples of what innovate organizations and individuals look like in action.

He asks that attendees bring their problems.

“Be looking for opportunities to innovate,” he says. “What is it that you would most like to change? Hopefully, my keynote will help answer that question.”

Many times, a popular innovative solution is something most people didn’t know they needed.

“Did you know you needed Swiffer before Swiffer was invented? We made it through all these years without Swiffer, and now we have all these different types of Swiffers in our homes,” Cufaude says.

“Proctor and Gamble discovered an opportunity by watching the way people do or don’t clean their homes.”

Anyone, not just big companies, can land a breakthrough.

“There are innovative opportunities around us all the time. We just have to slow down and watch,” he says.

And once the problem is identified, the hardest part is over, he says.

“Once you know what you are trying to solve, there are really simple processes that you can use,” he says.

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