“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.
Few things are discussed with more enthusiasm in the business world of our day than innovation and creativity. However, implementing innovation within organisations is a much more challenging task. It requires radical risk-taking and unhindered creativity within a culture of boldness. Creating this culture involves sacrificing time, effort and a lot of comfort but the rewards are great. Here are 3 ways you can create a culture of boldness that will encourage the creativity and innovation you are aiming for in business.
“Don’t hire someone like you – you already know what you think.”
A client of mine repeatedly tells this to his clients, and he is absolutely right.
“Innovation is not an idea problem. It’s a recognition problem.”
This quote from David Burkus’s book, The Myths of Creativity, is spot on. Some of the best ideas for innovation, creativity and invention don’t lie somewhere ‘out there’; they are often right under our noses. The real skill in creativity is being able to identify and recognise the ideas that have the potential to be game changers. You have to know where to look.
Recent years have seen the discussion of the relevance of the current education system come to dominate public dialogue. Doubts and fears have risen surrounding the prospects of the current form of education in Western countries, the preparation of students for a rapidly changing technological world, and inequalities within the system.
The need for change is clear, but there is an underlying concern that it seems unachievable and unrealistic to adopt the progressive practices that often seem limited to the north of Europe.
Collaboration is not about gluing together existing ideas. It’s about creating ideas that didn’t exist until everyone entered the room.
In early 2015 I was approached by a number of Rotary International’s key leaders to form part of a strategic planning committee tasked with mapping out Rotary’s future. As an organization that is well over a century old, Rotary’s 1.2 million members have had a phenomenal impact on the globe (including the near-eradication of Polio). However, the organization has languished in recent years as it has struggled to clearly define what a 21st century service movement should look like.
As part of a recent gathering of this strategic planning committee, we reviewed a simple but brilliant TED talk by business strategist Knut Hannes.
What struck me most about Haanaes’s message was the simple way he described some of the common dynamics that can cause an organization to fail. In short, he said that every leader and organization committed to maintaining growth and vitality must strike a balance between two things: