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--


How do you Revolutionize a Complacent Company Culture?

Burton Lee It is said that when it comes to business success, ‘Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast.’ The biggest single barrier to agility and innovation is a stodgy corporate culture. So how can you revolutionize a complacent culture? Changing the corporate culture is one of the toughest tasks that a new CEO faces. If you want to replace comfort with energy and risk aversion with innovation where... Read More--


Public Sector Procurement deters Innovation

I recently met the CEO of a dynamic small company in a technology sector. He had some great ideas and was actively working with a large company on an open innovation initiative. He also had a radical proposal which would improve services and reduce costs for his local City Council. However, he was disinclined to submit it. ‘If I suggest this idea, I know what will happen,’ he told me. ‘They will... Read More--


Fighting Groupthink

One of the most common obstacles to effective decision making by teams is groupthink. The term is used to describe the observation that many groups make poor decisions because they try to reach a consensus and minimize conflict. In doing so they suppress dissenting viewpoints, eschew controversial issues and isolate themselves from outside influences. The result is that they do not seriously consider... Read More--


Sometimes it pays to be an Antisocial Know-it-all

Ben Horowitz Ben Horowitz is an entrepreneur who developed a data centre software company, Opsware and sold it to HP for $1.6B in 2007. In 2009 he and Marc Andreesen (who created Netscape and Mosaic) founded the venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz. It has had some spectacularly successful investments including Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Pinterest. Horowitz talked about today’s leading... Read More--


Bad Attitudes can lead to Good Innovation

I give workshops on creative leadership for major organisations around the world. I always ask delegates, ‘What is impeding innovation in your business?’ The answers often involve cultural issues such as aversion to risk, complacency or lack of motivation to experiment. When I gave a workshop in Taiwan one of the cultural issues raised was, ‘We have too much respect’.  Middle... Read More--


Why Leaders should Choose Their Words with Care

Let’s say the challenge is to win an important bid. You say to your team, ‘We must win this bid. We’ve got to do everything possible to win it.’ You are in command mode, effectively issuing orders and an implied threat. On the other hand you could say, ‘We really want to win this bid. Let’s think of every possible way we can succeed.’ Now you are being inclusive... Read More--