(There are always others in pictures like this. From Clickflashphotos on Flickr.)
The last two days I've spent at the New York Forum. If you follow me on Twitter, you might know that and hate me for it!
On Tuesday night, I led a session with some colleagues on rebuilding
trust in the financial system amongst 20-30 year olds. Definitely lots
of energy and fun despite the heady subject. I think they might post the
notes, so if they do I'll share them.
After our session, I took the luxury of attending many of the workshops. The morning session on innovation was quite (and surprisingly) good. There were many highlights, but I thought an idea shared by Shelly Lazarus of Ogilvy was quite important.
Shelly posited that having a collaborator in the formulation of ideas can be extremely productive. The way I captured it was:
"Having another person helps people to be brave. The other person hears an idea and say, 'hey, I think you have something there' which allows you to go further." (or something like that).
Not teaming for a project per se, instead collaborations that stretch over time that evolve a certain dynamism and trust.
I had the pleasure of chatting briefly with Shelly afterwards and she expanded further noting that often that the skill and quality of the two people might not matter. That is, somebody that's not quite as good could still be the missing ingredient to make the other person truly great. And if you break up the dynamic duo, you might see the greatness fade.
Seems pretty simple and anecdotally true for me. Sign of a good insight.
(From Dean Terry's Flckr photostream shared herewith under the auspices of Creative Commons which says "yes.")
When in doubt, don't.
Almost every organization in the world struggles to design and bring new, valuable and cool stuff into the world. With their success, organizations evolve towards consistency and away from variance. As individuals, leaders follow suit. We develop all kinds of strengths and behaviors that help us to perform well at "consistency tasks".
To avoid being too smart, leaders looking to encourage innovation have to learn to catch themselves and overcome the urge to say "no."
Great innovation leaders learn to start with "yes." They see the possibility of new options, give the gift of emotional support for those bringing them new ideas and provide the instrumental support to help these new options progress. The strong ones survive anyway.
See Chapter 16 of Oribiting the Giant Hairball ("The Office of the Paradox") for more on this.
(Some beautiful fungal cultures from Petrichor's Flickr stream.)
I'm in a lot of discussions with clients concerning the idea of creating, developing, instigating and encouraging a more innovative culture.
In these discussions, I've been putting a finer point on the idea of what an "innovation culture" truly is and comparing and contrasting that with other types of cultures. In some instances, a company might not really want or need to create an innovation culture at all.
In particular, I've found myself distinguishing amongst the following cultures (and at an individual level, mindsets):
Operational or Efficient or Productive
What would you add? What do you see as the similarities and differences of each?