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--

The Main Impediment to Innovation

What is impeding innovation in your business today? I asked this question at a Master Class on Innovation I ran recently for senior executives leaders in large organizations. The answers included many corporate culture issues such as: – We are risk averse. – There is a fear of failure. – There is a fear of the unknown. – People like to stick to the ways they have always done... Read More--

Shell Gamechanger – A Supertanker of Innovation

The Shell Gamechanger initiative was launched in 1996.  Its mission was to deliver innovative options that have the potential to drastically impact the energy future.  In 1999, Gary Hamel commented, ‘The Gamechanger programme is still fragile. The 1998 slump in oil prices threw Shell into a frenzy of cost cutting. Whether Gamechanger will survive in its current form remains to be seen. But it... Read More--

The Leader of Innovation Paints a Vision of a Better Future

Anne Mulcahy When Anne Mulcahy was appointed CEO of Xerox Corp. in 2001, many people were surprised, including Mulcahy herself. She had never run a company before and had little financial experience, having worked mainly in Sales and Human Resources functions. Xerox faced huge financial problems and the stock price fell 15% on news of her appointment. The financial market had little confidence in her... Read More--

Innovation is not a Game for Juniors

I am often asked to give corporate innovation training workshops. I always request that the senior executives attend but sometimes when I arrive I find a class full of keen young troops and a sprinkling of middle managers. The youngsters are eager, intelligent and motivated. They readily absorb the ideas and the methods. In the interactive modules they generate and select great ideas for the company.... Read More--