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--

Silos Impede Innovation – So Break Them

Within larger organisations one of the biggest obstacles to innovation is poor internal communication.  A ‘silo’ mentality develops so that departments guard information and ideas rather than share them.  People work hard – but in isolated groups.  Internal politics can compound the problem with rivalry and turf wars obstructing collaboration.  It can reach the ridiculous stage where the... Read More--

Can you train people to be innovative? You can and you should.

Is innovation some chance occurrence that comes in a flash of brilliance by the CEO? Is it the domain of just a handful of creative geniuses? No. You can establish a culture and a process for innovation throughout the organization. It takes leadership. A good place to start is with training.How did your organization acquire its skills in quality, sales, marketing, people management, finance and all... Read More--

Is Your Management Structure Helping or Hindering Innovation?

Should You Destroy the Hierarchy? The traditional top-down structure in organizations can be a powerful inhibitor to innovation. It is a reflection of a command and control style of leadership where orders are issued at the top and followed by the ranks. People lower down the organization who have great ideas can feel inhibited about promoting them. They feel it is disrespectful to challenge the... Read More--