Articles & Interviews
The test of true leadership is the ability to manage contradictions and
the first step is to identify what these are
10 September 2012
It's Friday evening and you are starting to think about a relaxing weekend ahead when suddenly the challenges you are facing as a leader come to mind: achieving growth in economically difficult times, continuously innovating to stay ahead of the competition, embracing change in an increasingly complex environment, being a visionary and engaging leader.
While all of these represent big challenges, there is another challenge that runs through them all and is bigger than any of them. This is that leaders need to do things simultaneously that are commonly considered to be contradictions. Therefore, the biggest challenge facing those who want to succeed in the complex and fast-moving world, is learning to embrace paradoxes.
The Future of Innovation
Innovation is considered to be the major driver of growth, be it by government, industry or the third sector. We talk about growth and innovation similarly – both seem to have become an end in themselves rather than being the means to an end. Do we really want growth and innovation for the sake of it? Both are really measures for something else.
Change Starts with You
The call for innovation is everywhere: in business, in government and in society. Yet at the same time there is a painful awareness that it is not always easy to answer that call. I believe we need to address three disconnects in order to achieve the kind of innovation required to secure our future.
Traditional MBA skills are no longer enough
19 December 2012
Are you thinking about a future in business and envisaging an MBA as a vehicle to get you there? Think again. The MBA as most commonly taught is outdated and does not provide its students with the skills and mindset that are required to succeed in business today, let alone tomorrow.
Looking For Innovation
Wall Street Journal: In collaboration with MIT Sloan Management Review
22 June 2012
Co-writers: John Bessant & Kathrin Mosein
Companies stretch beyond comfort zone for eureka moments. If you want to understand why some companies lack innovative ideas. For the past several years, we and other researchers have participated in workshops with more than 100 companies discussing and experimenting with new ways of looking for and developing innovations. Here are nine examples of practices with the potential to produce a company's eureka moment.
Why Context is King For Innovation
Imaginatik.com: An Interview with Bettina von Stamm
30 May 2012
Published on Imaginatik.com
An interview with Imaginatik about innovation and leadership. In particular, the importance of “context” in determining innovation’s success or failure, and about the essential role of senior leadership in making innovation sustainable.
FT CEO Breakfast 10 min
Financial Times: Why do we talk about growth and innovation?
What is it that we know about innovation generally? Having thought about innovation, what it means and how it happens (or not) for the past nearly 20 years I have arrived at the following, “Innovation is choosing the path of change to create value.”
Open Innovation...and taming the competitive spirit
An interview by David Eldridge, Crane Communications Inc.
14 July 2011
“The question should always be, ‘what are we trying to achieve? If collaboration is the
best means for achieving innovation, then we should tame the competitive spirit.”
Articles & Interviews
As some top brands have shown, embracing sustainability actually improves profits – to think otherwise would be a mistake.
The Guardian | Friday 22 February 2013 10.26 GMT
A few years ago when I asked a senior manager of a well known British firm whether sustainability was on the agenda, he replied: "Of course, sustainability of our product portfolio and growth is of major concern to us." Ah. Not the kind of sustainability I had in mind! The desire to maintain growth and profitability are at the forefront of most managers minds and always have been. Sustainability, in the sense that we need to find a way to manage our planet's resources for generations to come seems to be quite a different matter.
Or is it?
Radical innovators and people who are keen on operational detail don't always see eye to eye but are both essential for a successful business
The Guardian | Monday 18 March 2013 15.57 GMT
Is innovation one of the top values or priorities in your organisation? If not, perhaps it should be – how else is your organisation going to survive?
Innovation comes in many shapes and sizes from big and radical to small and incremental. It is not just about inventing new products but increasingly about service innovation, process innovation, business model innovation and social innovation.
In these straitened times organisations have become expert at cutting costs and improving efficiency. But what about their innovation performance?
Finding the equilibrium in an organisation can be a tough balancing act. What will you need to consider?
The Guardian | Thursday 11 April 2013 12.48 BST
If achieving innovation and operational excellence is about understanding the importance of diversity - continuity and change is about how to allocate resources across different activities.
There is a need for change: we, individually and organisationally, need to adapt to changing circumstances if we want to avoid becoming redundant. However, there is a balance that needs to be found between change and continuity: if everything were changing all the time we would sink into chaos, not knowing in which direction to go, or what to do first.
Collaborating with people who think in the same way is never going to produce anything radical. Companies need work with the unusual suspects
The Guardian | Tuesday 14 May 2013 12.58 BST
If someone suggested you ought to collaborate with your competitors, what would your immediate reaction be? "Don't be ridiculous?" Or perhaps "why would I want to do that?" The latter is a much more interesting question.
As no organisation operates in a vacuum it must be that all organisations collaborate in some way. How, where and why organisations collaborate varies according to time frame, degree of commitment and level of interdependence, among other reasons.
There are at least three reasons why we might want to collaborate more today, and why we might want to think differently about the 'why', the 'how' and particularly the 'with whom'.
If you want to thrive not just survive, embracing the principles of complexity theory can be extremely valuable
The Guardian | Thursday 6 June 2013 15.57 BST
If you are thinking about preparing yourself and your organisation for the future, where do you seek inspiration and guidance? Management gurus or consultancies? Current best practice? Things that have worked for you in the past? That may no longer be enough. While pace and extent of change in fields such as military, communication or transportation technology have increased exponentially in the past few decades it seems leadership assumptions, education paradigms and organisational structures have remained pretty much the same.