The Innovation Gap – Leaders versus Teams

Most large organizations are built to optimize a set of predictable processes which support and maintain a given set of products or services. Over time our management styles have migrated to the point where we’ve optimized these processes and the products they enable to the detriment of new thinking, new products and new services. At least that’s what the senior executives think. What they miss is that while we’ve gotten really good at managing the status quo, most people aren’t energized by that work, and actually have plenty of free brain cycles left to commit to interesting new work. Most senior executives not only remember the organization as it was, but underestimate the engagement, capability and insight of the people who are in those roles now, or just don’t make enough demands of those teams. To those executives, the organization seems “brittle” – too unwilling or unable to change to meet the dynamics of the marketplace. That’s too bad, because I suspect they are wrong about their organizations.


by Jeffrey Phillips

The Innovation Gap - Leaders versus TeamsIt strikes me regularly that senior executives of many firms underestimate the insights and abilities of their companies. I guess that many of us grow up with a backward-looking preference. We prefer to remember how things were “when we were there” and expect those attributes and features to remain the same. For most of us, the people we worked with and the companies we worked for are still locked in the past, unbending and unchanging. I’m stealing a bit from Seth Godin’s recent post about “senior management“. His point, and mine, aren’t that senior managers are myopic or uninspired, although that’s certainly possible. It’s more that they have a vision but often aren’t confident that the organization can achieve the vision without painful change. These executives remember the organization as it was, rather than as it is.

Most large organizations are built to optimize a set of predictable processes which support and maintain a given set of products or services. Over time our management styles have migrated to the point where we’ve optimized these processes and the products they enable to the detriment of new thinking, new products and new services. At least that’s what the senior executives think. What they miss is that while we’ve gotten really good at managing the status quo, most people aren’t energized by that work, and actually have plenty of free brain cycles left to commit to interesting new work. Most senior executives not only remember the organization as it was, but underestimate the engagement, capability and insight of the people who are in those roles now, or just don’t make enough demands of those teams. To those executives, the organization seems “brittle” – too unwilling or unable to change to meet the dynamics of the marketplace. That’s too bad, because I suspect they are wrong about their organizations. Leer más “The Innovation Gap – Leaders versus Teams”

No Strategy – No Innovation

What kills innovation at the start, in the middle and at the end is the lack of a clearly defined, articulated and executed strategy. The reason is simple. If your firm can’t concisely define and communicate what it offers, and why it is different, than other firms, differentiation is almost impossible, and in some cases perhaps undesired. If it can’t define it’s position in the market, as a product innovator, or a service leader, or the operational excellence leader, then it isn’t a leader at all. Simply a follower who believes that “innovation” is quickly copying what other firms are doing. Trying to innovate in the absence of a clear strategy is like driving on a narrow, twisty road socked in with fog. Every turn is fraught with danger, and you move, if at all cautiously, continually testing the roadbed before committing.


by Jeffrey Phillips

No Strategy - No InnovationYou’d think with all the fawning press many companies and executives receive that defining a clear, concise corporate strategy would be a “no brainer”. After all, don’t we hire and pay executives exorbitant sums due to their vision and strategy? You’d think that with the hordes of “management consultants” available from a wide array of highly compensated consulting firms that well-conceived strategic plans would simply flow like water from these founts of knowledge. And let’s not forget the virtual library of books on corporate strategy, from the likes of Drucker, Porter, Hamel, Prahalad, and so forth. Clearly there is a wealth of information, advice and knowledge about corporate strategy. Or at least there is a good facsimile.

What kills innovation at the start, in the middle and at the end is the lack of a clearly defined, articulated and executed strategy. The reason is simple. If your firm can’t concisely define and communicate what it offers, and why it is different, than other firms, differentiation is almost impossible, and in some cases perhaps undesired. If it can’t define it’s position in the market, as a product innovator, or a service leader, or the operational excellence leader, then it isn’t a leader at all. Simply a follower who believes that “innovation” is quickly copying what other firms are doing. Trying to innovate in the absence of a clear strategy is like driving on a narrow, twisty road socked in with fog. Every turn is fraught with danger, and you move, if at all cautiously, continually testing the roadbed before committing. Leer más “No Strategy – No Innovation”

Some great readings this week! Really!!

por jabaldaia

Enjoy it!

What Is A Social Enterprise? There Is Still A Lot Of Debate? By Idris Mootee

Social enterprise is a hot idea. Being asocial entrepreneurship these days is way cooler than being a iBanker. I think we are only seeing the beginning of a long term trend, people realize it takes a new kind of enterprise to solve the world’s problem. And NGOs are not the solutions.

Innovation Failure & Ownership: What happens when we own our successes and abdicate our failures by Andrew (DrewCM)

Innovation is a high-stakes endeavor. Much may be risked on the hoped-for chance of reward. The success or failure of a single innovation may win or lose reputations and careers. In some organizations, the retribution for failure may be swift and harsh, while the rewards for success may be just as fickle

Is Innovation a Process or an Outcome? By Karen Christensen via Ralph Ohr

You believe that everything we know and desire is the outcome of a single discovery that was made 1.9 million years ago. Please explain.


por jabaldaia

Enjoy it!

What Is A Social Enterprise? There Is Still A Lot Of Debate? By Idris Mootee

Social enterprise is a hot idea. Being asocial entrepreneurship these days is way cooler than being a iBanker. I think we are only seeing the beginning of a long term trend, people realize it takes a new kind of enterprise to solve the world’s problem. And NGOs are not the solutions.

Innovation Failure & Ownership: What happens when we own our successes and abdicate our failures by Andrew (DrewCM)

Innovation is a high-stakes endeavor. Much may be risked on the hoped-for chance of reward. The success or failure of a single innovation may win or lose reputations and careers. In some organizations, the retribution for failure may be swift and harsh, while the rewards for success may be just as fickle

Is Innovation a Process or an Outcome? By Karen Christensen via Ralph Ohr

You believe that everything we know and desire is the outcome of a single discovery that was made 1.9 million years ago. Please explain. Leer más “Some great readings this week! Really!!”