Avoid the Iridium Moment

Every company has to make important strategic decisions. We can see with hindsight that some decisions which looked smart at the time turned out to be dumb. Often it was because the wrong assumptions were made. In his excellent book, Exponential Organizations, Salim Ismail coins the phrase an Iridium Moment. He explains how in the late 1980s the telecoms giant Motorola made a huge bet which turned... Read More--


Can Africa’s Entrepreneurs and Innovators solve Africa’s Problems?

What can save Africa from its many problems; grinding poverty, corrupt bureaucrats, incompetent governments and dire infrastructure?  The best hope might lie with the innovations of its home grown entrepreneurs.  Many solutions that work in the developed world do not translate well to Africa so indigenous innovations are often a better answer.  In some cases they leap-frog current Western offerings. Mobile... Read More--


The Benefits of Reverse Mentoring

A Dutch nursing home lets university students live rent-free alongside the elderly residents, as part of a project aimed at warding off the negative effects of aging.  In exchange for small, rent-free apartments, the Humanitas retirement home in Deventer, Netherlands, requires students to spend at least 30 hours per month acting as “good neighbors.”  It is an excellent example  inter-generational... Read More--


Line of Sight Innovation

I sometimes encounter organizations which want to want to become more innovative but whose corporate culture is inimical to agility and innovation.  Such organizations typically display these characteristics: – They have set procedures which are difficult to change. – All decisions are made by committees which meet regularly and require discussion, review and consensus so progress is slow. –... Read More--


How to Broadcast and Reward Innovation Success

When you have a successful innovation be sure to broadcast the fact. Track the source of the original idea that led to the innovation.  It may have come from a brainstorm, a suggestion scheme item, an idea event or some other source and the originator may have been an individual or a team. In any event, if the contributor is agreeable, make a big fuss. Draw up a story about the innovation and place... Read More--


The Innovative Leader encourages Creative Abrasion

Linda Hill is Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. In this TedX talk she argues that when it comes to leading innovation we must unlearn the conventional view of leadership. She has used an ethnographic approach to the study of leadership in innovative organizations. Her studies show that highly successful leaders, such as Ed Catmull, President at Pixar, do not focus... Read More--


Replace Confusion with Clarity

Stewart Butterfield Stewart Butterfield is a Canadian serial entrepreneur. He is famous for founding the photo-sharing site Flickr which he sold to Yahoo. He then developed a gaming application. Glitch, which failed. His latest venture is Slack, a platform for team communication and project management, which has been valued at over $1B. In a recent interview in the Times of India he told of some of... Read More--


The Search for Certainty and Fit kills Innovation.

In the 1990s a group of developers at Microsoft came up with an innovative device for reading electronic books. At that time no such product existed as a commercial entity. The team was excited at the possibilities for this innovation and they sent the working prototype to Bill Gates. He rapidly rejected the idea. It did not fit in with the Microsoft business strategy and the product did not have the... Read More--


How to Fight the Fear of Change

People are naturally apprehensive about change. They fear the unknown. There is a reluctance to take risks. This can be particularly true in a successful enterprise. Success can be an enemy of innovation. Why mess with a model that works? There is little incentive to take risks and try new things. But even successful companies are at risk if they stand still.  Smith Corona was very successful making... Read More--


The Innovation Process at Tesco

Angela Maurer, Head of Tesco Labs, spoke on Innovation at Tesco at the recent CIO Summit in London.  She said that they start with two sources of input – customer needs and future forces.  Customer needs include those of internal departments and stores as well as shoppers.  Future forces include technical, societal, fashion and demographic trends.  Using insights from these two areas they brainstorm... Read More--