The Eight Key Qualities of Great Leaders

John Adair John Adair is a highly influential author on leadership topics.  He identifies key characteristics of leaders as: 1. Enthusiasm. Can you think of any leader who lacks enthusiasm? 2. Integrity.  This is the quality that makes people trust you, and trust is essential in all human relationships. 3. Toughness. Leaders are often demanding people, uncomfortable to have around because their... Read More--

Eleven Reasons for the UK’s Poor Productivity

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) UK productivity has fallen to levels it held in 2007.  Productivity in the UK has consistently lagged well behind Germany and France and has now been overtaken by many other countries as this OECD chart shows.  This is the key reason why wages, growth and competitive performance are all held back.  Why is this and what can be done about it? ... Read More--

Twelve Jobs that Robots cannot do

The Hadrian X robot is made by Fastbrick Robotics from Australia.  It can lay 1000 house bricks in an hour.  The average bricklayer lays around 500 bricks a day.  We will soon see robots doing much of the standard work in building assembly with a small number of skilled craftsmen supervising them, applying finishing touches or completing tricky tasks.  McDonald’s is trialling a “Create Your... Read More--

Seven Strong Reasons not to Innovate

If you want to stop your organisation from trying to develop significant new products or services then here are seven solid arguments you can rely on. We are successful. We are growing and making a modest profit.  Innovations absorb resources and cost money. Why should we distract ourselves and mess with success? Everyone is very busy. All staff are working hard on urgent tasks sorting out today’s... Read More--

Kickstart Innovation by Removing the Barriers

Surveys show that the large majority of senior executives see innovation as critical for their businesses but are dissatisfied with progress in this area.  If you want to make your organisation more agile and innovative where should you start?  You could launch a big initiative with grand statements, training classes and an ideas scheme but you tried all those last year and they fizzled out.  It... Read More--

Four Tips on Decision Making from Jeff Bezos

In his 2017 letter to shareholders Jeff Bezos shares some powerful insights into decision making at Amazon. Jeff Bezos “To keep the energy and dynamism of Day 1, you have to somehow make high-quality, high-velocity decisions. Easy for start-ups and very challenging for large organizations. The senior team at Amazon is determined to keep our decision-making velocity high. Speed matters in business... Read More--

Are you a Lateral Leader?

As a leader which column do you fall into? Conventional Leaders   Lateral Leaders   Lead from the front Lead from alongside Direct Inspire Use conventional methods and seek to improve effectiveness and efficiency Develop new methods and seek to change the rules, change partners or change the approach to the problem Think they know best (and often do) Harness the abilities of... Read More--

Which is better – Planned or Emergent Innovation?

Most innovation initiatives are planned and programmatic.  We focus on a challenge, analyse the problem, brainstorm some great ideas and then put together teams to implement the best ones.  For new products the projects might go through a stage-gate process where they have to clear certain hurdles in order to have extra resources released.  There is a program and the projects adhere to it.  Most... Read More--

Six Causes of Failure for Innovation Teams

Once you have identified a great idea for a new product or service innovation what do you do?  Many firms put together a cross-functional team (XFT) and tell them to bring the product to market.  It seems like a good approach. They have budget, people, and empowerment.  What could possibly go wrong?  Lots of things. Here are six common reasons why XFTs fail to deliver. 1. No High-Level Sponsor The... Read More--

Who is your Corporate Innovation Role Model?

Organic foods at the Hospital Can you innovate and improve business performance by copying another company from an entirely different industry?  This is what the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Michigan did when it wanted to transform its customer service and operational efficiency.  The hospital borrowed some of the practices of a five star hotel and even hired a new CEO who had previously... Read More--