Now showing items tagged Innovation

Britain’s first female Member of Parliament, Lady Astor, once observed: “The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change nothing – or everything.”

The need for environmentally sustainable moves in business has been common knowledge for years. However, while many businesses have implemented changes and strategies to address this, many others have been held back by the need to maintain profits and ROI.

‘In my experience, innovation can only come from the bottom. Those closest to the problem are in the best position to solve it. Everyone must be able to experiment, learn, and iterate. Position, obedience and tradition should hold no power.’[1]This statement of Greg Lindon, an instrumental contributor in the design of Amazon’s customer interface, summarises one of innovation’s most crucial keys.

While we celebrate visionary and highly visible innovators such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs, it’s important to remember that innovation is not the domain of a ‘ruling elite’.

Over my years of working in the business world around ideas of innovation and leadership, one lesson I have learned is that there is a lesson to be learned in most places. I must admit though, when I sat down to watch Frozen 2 with my son, I did not expect it to be one of these places.

For many of us in the corporate or educational world, the idea of a Growth Mindset has been front of mind in recent years. In many of my own books and articles I have explored what constitutes a Growth Mindset, what differentiates it from a Fixed Mindset and how it can be fostered in workers, students and leaders.

However, a recent study reveals the emergence of a third kind of mindset that has proved to propel people further into innovation, creativity and efficiency than the other two ever could.

If this time has offered any opportunity to us, it is the radical breaking of convention that businesses, brands and individuals have had to respond and adapt to.

It can certainly feel frustrating to have business teams scattered and separated by isolation – communication becomes challenging, the pace of progress is slowed and the sense of togetherness we aim for in a team feels somewhat lost.

However, there is a significant opportunity that comes with the scattering of a team that business leaders would do well to utilise as we slowly begin returning to regular routine.

Wed Nov 11 2019

HOW TO THINK LIKE A STARTUP

If you ask any high school teacher what the biggest killer of class productivity is in a class of students after lunch they will tell you, in more or less the same words, it is inertia – the tired drag of disinterested students who will not act unless acted upon by an external force, often in the form of a frustrated teacher. The same goes for large and mature organizations. In business, just as it is in nature, size is almost always inversely related to agility, and inertia is the biggest killer of progress and productivity.

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Six hours’ train ride south of Stockholm in the Swedish town of Helsingborg, you will find one of the more interesting museums you’re ever likely to come across. What is most remarkable about this museum is what it celebrates. Inside you will find no exhibits commemorating triumphs of human ingenuity of creativity – rather, you will encounter exhibit after exhibit celebrating, of all things, failure. That’s right, an entire museum dedicated to many of the greatest stuff ups, misfires and train wrecks of human history.

“The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.”

I love the pertinence of this statement of Oren Harari for our culture. As a former business professor at the University of San Francisco, he is sure to know a thing or two about the trends and changes in the business world over the last few decades, and with this one, I believe he is exactly right.

‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’

This old proverb has been renowned and repeated through the decades, declaring that it is impossible to retrain someone or something that is aged and set in its ways. In our current age of disruption in the world of business, this is a toxic way of thinking that destroys the companies which live by it.

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