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November 4, 2018

Inside large complex organizations, ideas are cheap, often discovered and tossed aside. When we have an idea, our first inclination is to secure leadership support. However, most successful innovation starts with finding a friend. Just think about it for a moment, leaders are inundated with new ideas on a daily basis. They couldn’t possibly endorse them all and keep the business running. As a result, they are predisposed to reject most...

August 16, 2018

That jerk on that other team may actually be helping you.

For years we have been taught that new market opportunities exist wherever there is friction. Business solutions that reduce customer friction can be incredibly successful. Just think about how Netflix came into existence. They were able to solve the problem of DVD rental late fees by providing a direct mail delivery service. Many other famous examples exist, such as Airbnb, who...

June 11, 2018

One of the biggest challenges facing organizations today is the need to be agile. We live in the era of disruption, where the lack of agility is the kiss of death. John Chambers, Executive Chairman of Cisco, said, “If you don’t transform…if you don’t reinvent yourself, change your organization structure; if you don’t talk about speed of innovation—you’re going to get disrupted. And it’ll be a brutal disruption, where the majority of co...

May 12, 2018

Scientists have long marveled at how life flourishes on the edge where the sea thrusts upon the shore, creating the tidal pools. A diverse set of life-forms from mussels, to sea stars, to crabs and anemones lurk in beds of kelp and sea grass. These life-forms engage in a daily feast of food and oxygen. Algae and other intertidal plants grow in the abundant sunlight of the shallow waters, and the constant wave action supplies a rich sou...

April 21, 2018

Agile organizations have a high tolerance for dissent. In fact, they even encourage it. This is the magic of Pixar. The company rarely tries to do the same thing twice and each movie is a new creation with many different ideas. Pixar knows that initial ideas are what they call “ugly babies.” All new ideas begin somewhat awkwardly, being incomplete and fragile. They recognize that every movie begins with ill-defined concepts. Pixar ther...

April 7, 2018

If you have spent any time within an organization you have had the opportunity to experience the energy from the people around you. In some cases, there is a noticeable buzz around a team or project in which ideas flow freely and individuals are able to easily build upon the viewpoints of others. Other times, these interactions are simply grueling. You walk away depleted or de-energized. These day-to-day interactions matter significant...

March 10, 2018

Thomas Edison is credited as the greatest inventor in modern American history. He was dubbed the “Wizard of Menlo Park”, where the phonograph, an incandescent light, a carbon microphone, an electric generator, and the first electric power distribution system were ushered into the world for the first time. In less than a decade, Edison generated more than 400 patents from his “Invention Factory.”

However, if you take a deeper look, there...

February 4, 2018

Researchers from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University show that the geniuses of yesterday, responsible for such scientific breakthroughs as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Euclidean geometry and Nash’s Equilibrium Theory, are now giving way to collaborative scholars working together across boundaries. Led by Brian Uzzi, the research team searched 19.9 million published papers and more than 2.1 million paten...

January 1, 2018

In today’s dynamic business environment, lack of agility is the kiss of death. A study from Washington University shows that an estimated 40% of today’s S&P 500 companies will no longer exist a decade from now. Today organizations need to embrace the mantra, “positively disrupt or be disrupted.” Harvard economist, Joseph Schumpeter, popularized the concept of disruption way back in 1942. His argument was that surges of innovation would...

December 1, 2017

In his book Team of Team, General Stan McChrystal suggests it takes a network to beat a network. Al Qaeda in Iraq operated as a decentralized network that could move swiftly, attack abruptly, and easily disperse into the local community. While the allied forces had tremendous advantages in capabilities and resources, they had difficulty in both anticipating and responding to a new kind of threat. To defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, McChrystal...

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To Innovate, Find a Friend not a Leader

November 4, 2018

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