Great Leaders point the way forward towards the True North of the compass, inspire faith, and stay determined to the truth.
They also manage to allay all the doubts, fears, and uncertainties of their people, whether they’re other C-level executives, Board members, investors, colleagues, employees, or Managers.
As a Leader You have to provide a path to success, and when this path is obscured — You have to Innovate your way out of the wilderness and the deserts to the promised land.
So start with the Ten Best ways to Innovate early and frequently and built a practice of Organizational Creative Innovation, in order to be able to win through Cooperation and Competition with friends and foe alike.
Innovation build and rollout, ought to be the main job for senior organizational leaders hard at work building adaptive, multi-disciplinary innovation capacity.
Vento: The Sharing Economy and the Innovative StartUp Businesses of Today that work in this heady forward and StartUp aplenty endowed innovation space, have uncovered a Gold Mine. All the new StartUps have found enough wind to fill their sails and push their boats forward, because they found plenty of Venture Capital to burn, plenty of Wealth to create, and plenty of jobs to bring to the people.
Along the way they have also found some shoals in the form of some Hidden and unintended Consequences, that can only be seen, and utilized through Innovation Adaptation.
When we talk about new technology, new services, and the new shared Economy — we frequently stay focused on how it makes our lives easier, faster, smarter, and far more efficient — but we often overlook the way it can affect the “other” people, displaced, or disintermediated, and thus completely reshape the economy.
When I was in China last month, I spoke to a group of business leaders about these ideas and how the shared economy will reduce economic output and industrial output for the producing countries.
I want to talk about how new technologies reshape all of our spending from the household budget for durable good like automobiles and houses to the governmental budgets for infrastructure and for the industrial economy as a whole. For example: If you have access to ZipCars, Flexcars, Gocars, and shared automobile rides like Lyft, Ride, and all others, and even the municipal bike sharing networks — Why would you ever need to buy a private automobile is beyond me…
It’s a good example of how quickly new technology can destabilize several industries — especially the ones that are entrenched and established and feeling all Secure. And even more extreme is the example of how this sea-change can be totally missed by most all the CEOs within the specific business and industry that gets disrupted massively.
And it’s not as if these changes took place over a number of years, and are happening at the margins. Thee are headline grabbing Shared Economy initiative rising-up everywhere. And they do not happen so fast that if you blink you can miss them like a passing star, but they are in your face every time you dial and Uber. ANd every time you make that lunch call with ‘peach” and “oven.”
Of course every time that You see technology precipitate incredibly rapid changes, like what we’ve seen with the rise of the “sharing economy” or the “Shared Economy” we are at best alarmed and then once we start using it — we are overjoyede. This is best xemplified by home-sharing-rental services such as Airbnb or taxi services like Uber and the Chinese equivalent called Kuadi, that they represent a completely different mindset for the use of capital, especially amongst the young people and the one not afraid of Change.
Yet still we tend to think of these services in terms of the way they affect convenience—how they change behaviors, but not of How drastically they might change the GDP of whole countries with major industrial production like the US & China, Germany, and Japan. But as we saw with cars, homes, energy, and jobs — these new technologies and innovative mindsets, can have a profound effect on people, prices, markets, and the way we spend our money all the way from the Minister of Finance and the White House to your house.
For the last four generations, young people all around the world have focused on acquiring two key pieces of property: a home and a car. These purchases are partly status-driven, partly practical. And they’re not identical, of course: Cars tend to depreciate, while homes are seen as an investment.
But both purchases require large amounts of capital or credit, and that is money that could be used more effectively elsewhere. And to do that the people need to have jobs. Good paying jobs to afford capital improvements in their lives…
All the way back to the days of the concern of the Leader for the buying power of his workers — speaking of Henry Ford and his assembly lines — good jobs allowed people to buy the goods they produced.
Yet today the jobs of the new fangled shared economy StartUps like, the TaskBank, the Bitcoin, the TaskRabbit, the Uber, and all the various TimeBanks — are niggerdly — and do not allow these workers to make enough money, nor a steady income to keep their families in food and shelter, let alone earn enough to buy the automobile and the house they desire in order to keep their families happy.
Because with the advent of technologies like Task Rabbit, TimeBank, WorkShare, Lyft, Uber and Airbnb, these long-accepted financial decisions must start to change again. Why bother with the big upfront investment, the hassles of maintenance and parking, or the liability of owning a car, if you can have one available within minutes with one tap on your phone.
As more and more people use sharing services for transportation, personal vehicles will become less important, both financially and in terms of status. As more people use digital currencies — fiat money will deteriorate in status and traditional banks will capitulate to the New World.
People may decide — and I think this would be the right decision for many — to take the cash they would spend on a vehicle, or in keeping a Savings account, and direct it instead towards smart investments.
Think about the scale of this change. Uber was founded just five years ago. In another five years, car-sharing technologies could be replacing car ownership at a meaningful scale. That has significant implications for the global economy, simply by changing the way capital flows through it.
New technology can also have some unpleasant effects. For example, increasing automation is putting significant downward pressure on employment. Take driverless cars, for example: While it’s true that they will eliminate congestion and accidents, over time, they will also eliminate jobs for people like taxi and truck drivers, and even turn all of us into bitching and moaning backseat drivers, like your Mother-In-Law.
And surely that would not be good but we shall overcome. However what will prove difficult to overcome is the people and countries that will stay behind without jobs and without prospects under the sun. Those are the ones who shun Innovation and hope that the sea change will not affect the tide in their little village. Or that the breadwinners of families that are long established and run under the principles of one man – one paycheck, will be majorly disrupted.
Or even the recognition that the countries that will get ahead will not be the ones that train enough workers to do the skilled engineering jobs, the internet development, the designing of software and hardware systems, or the maintaining of sophisticated machines, or writing the code that helps them run — but the ones that will teach their kids how to be noticers, generalists, and good problem solvers, in order to be able to Innovate their way and themselves out of any box….
And am saying all this because Innovation is not A Stand-Alone discipline…
It is widely recognized that Innovation has not been considered a stand-alone creative innovation methodology, or technique for Business since the late 1950s. And when Raw Ideas were considered Innovation — the American workplace became the context in which brainstorming was generating new raw ideas that were thought to be the most valuable new creative currency.
This work attempted to graft that notion onto every aspect of everyday American work life. Of course, that relatively simple 1950s workplace context long ago radically changed, as did the notion that raw idea streams rule supreme in value.
process-oriented, evolving and adapting realizations. Evolving and adapting would be the key words there. Like most of us who are not stuck-in-time stationery objects, the context in which we operate has changed and grown more complex as work has evolved towards Intelligence.
Ideas are only as good as the framing that precedes them, so that framing and orchestration are already evolving into the heavier lifts. Don’t miss that moment and what it means because for more than 50 years the generation of raw solution ideas, in its many variations, has been widely considered the “secret sauce” in the innovation cycle.
It would be no surprise to most of us that any study of any creativity technique or technology that focuses on humans with no training, no skill, and the will to succeed, will result in a clumsy, negative picture. Imagine trying to understand bicycle riding, or piano playing, by conducting a study of folks trying to ride a bike. Or learn to play the piano for the first time with no training. Would the clumsy results mean that there are no master bike riders and no master piano players?
This has been the logic in use around much of the “research” focused in the direction of Innovating.
In addition, much of it has been conducted by academics, holding levels of process skill that would, in the context of practice today, be considered elementary. To add even more fuzz to the mix, many young, ambitious “journalists/bloggers” seeking to generate heat in the on-line attention wars of today can be seen citing the “research” that never made any sense in the first place. This cascade of silly-billy dysfunction has, for years, muddied the waters on this subject.
Perhaps the most important truth in all of that fuzzy mess is to simply appreciate that, we moved beyond brainstorming as we recognized that there were bigger issues to consider. Moving forward, we see broader applications for the principle ingredients or DNA inside the Game of Innovating.
Here is the Basic Innovation Language where with the help of divergence andconvergence. Working on the creation of the first (and later to become highly influential) creative problem solving (CPS) process, we realized that divergence and convergence occurs not once, but rather throughout the multi-phase innovation cycle. At that time such articulation was a milestone that significantly advanced the early thinking about brainstorming solution ideas into a different league of consideration. With this evolution, creative Innovating morphed into a repeating three step dance (divergence, convergence, orchestration) that occurs from end to end in the innovation process. Most innovation process models have between 6 and 10 steps or cycles. It was no longer a one-off event but rather a repeating, adjustable flow-a basic innovation language construction. Still today many do not understand the significance of this milestone in process innovation, many years later.
5. Thinking Integration for INNOVATION has already recognized that building innovation capacity in the context of organizations involves the integration of divergent thinking and convergent thinking. If you stay frozen in the old brainstorming“ideas are king” mode, you never get to those realizations. We see this to be the largely unrecognized founding of the modern integrative thinking movement. Anyone studying Innovation Creativity work would see that thinking integration is a deliberate orchestration or modulation of divergent and convergent thinking, imaginative and analytical thinking. From the outset the essential purpose of the applied creativity movement has been thinking integration. Certainly any enlightened graduate student of applied creativity can tell you that integrative thinking was never intended to be a decision-making technique. That integrative and orchestrative thinking train was already on the tracks, documented and rolling forward decades ago. Many, later arriving others, and current MBA school profs, subsequently built, knowingly or unknowingly, on those foundations. Of course some built without understanding or acknowledging that the foundations already existed in the modern innovation methodology era.
6. Learnable Creative Innovation Behaviours with the integration of divergence and convergence into a visible innovation cycle framework, effectively introduced the notion of learnable creative behaviors. Interconnected was a belief deeply held by these three pioneers: that everyone has the capacity to be creative. These notions, too, were significant process innovation contributions at that time. By working in collaboration with many associates, we developed a behaviour based, experiential learning program, complete with workbooks that rival in detail, many innovation programs seen today. What is important to appreciate, in terms of timeline sequence, is that Creativity is not brainstorming, but rather an entire mash-up of thinking dynamic skills, both divergent and convergent. Teaching end–to-end creative problem finding and solving. Teaching thinking dynamic orchestration and integrative thinking. Among the gems that can be seen in the early workbooks for Creative Innovation is the now popular invitation stem: How Might We be engaged in Creative Innovation? The answer which, of course, had nothing to do with Creative Innovation and everything to do with challenging our thinking. These ideas are light years ahead of our time, and many Leader could benefit from how shared Creative Innovation leads to Creative Behaviours, which encapsulate years of learning in a few hours. This was always the generous and Open Creative Innovation that included all the crown jewels of behavioural applied creativity. Creative People understand Creative Innovation. Middle Managers don’t. So how important is all of that? Behaviours, thinking integration and orchestration all remain not only extremely important but are at the centre of most leading innovation consultancies today. Much of the behaviour oriented innovation methodology work going on today stands on the shoulders.
7. Think-Balance Advocacy because as early applied creativity pioneers, recognized in the 1950s that the default thinking orientation of western culture including the business schools was convergent/judgment thinking (decision-making). In an age of great change both men were deeply concerned about the potential for convergent thinking to overpower and dominate western culture organizations at the expense of divergent thinking. Anyone can see in the literature that strong, consistent advocates of what we consider to be much needed creative change and innovation in American business schools — is lacking. Instead people speak of disruption alone. But we are interested in Creative Innovation and in order to keep it simple, what we have in mind for such schools is to start deliberately teaching a better balance of divergent and convergent thinking for Creativity Change. Underneath, and often underappreciated, is the heavier lift of advocacy for the equal valuing of both Creativity and Innovation in all of our organizations and in society. At its core what that means is that in the context of innovation, convergent thinking (decision-making) cannot be privileged over divergent thinking (idea-making). Take a deep breath and think about the implications of that insight.
Take a wild guess which is being privileged in most organizations today. More than a process innovation milestone, this insight and advocacy was among the most significant, most enduring contributions to the field of creative intelligence. Still today it is a rather unsung advocacy for Creative Innovation that many convergent thinking oriented graduate school & MBA programs still do not reflect. This is perhaps the most significant insight of the Creative Innovation era to come. It certainly explains why integrative thinking cannot be turned into a convergent thinking/decision-making technique. This advocacy, framed as Think-Balance is an arena that we know well and have been deeply involved in for years. It would be difficult to undertake inclusive innovation culture building today without this knowledge that builds from the early work of “How do organizations deliberately construct inclusive and adaptive innovation cultures today? Not by privileging convergent thinking.
The promise of inclusive innovation, inclusive culture building, and Creative Innovation, is that together we move beyond old era cognitive privileging.
8. Slow to Adapt, back in the early 1950s, the Creative perspective on the relationship between thinking dynamics and innovation was embraced by adventuresome business leaders in the real world and largely ignored by many American business school leaders entangled in academic legacy systems. One result was that the applied creativity skill-building or innovation skill-building, business was born, in large measure, outside the business schools in the 1950s. Some might say it remains largely outside still today. Anyone with experience in this industry will know that the modern era of the “Creative Age” began not in 2006 but in the 1950s, The truth is by 2006 the “Creative Age” was not a start-up but was rather into its 6th decade of modern era evolution. Miss that and you miss a lot of methodology innovation. Not exactly early adapters it took more than 50 years for most business school leaders to awaken to the realization that talking creativity and innovation while teaching the privileging of convergence was not a route to innovation leadership.
Although in the last few years this Creative Innovation orientation has finally begun to change, still today the default thinking mode taught as the highest form of value in most graduate business schools remains convergent thinking, decision-making. This continuing phenomenon is well known, inside the innovation enabling industry, to have enormous consequences in organizational contexts. Among the top ten most often seen organizational culture challenges is convergent-thinking-dominated cultures struggling to keep up in a continuously reinventing marketplace. Common symptoms of such corporate cultures include having few ideas in the pipeline and little active generative dialogue. These repeating, deeply ingrained,intergenerational business culture dynamics in part explain the reason for the enduring relevance and interest in the thinking orchestration and integrative thinking work that interest extends far beyond brainstorming.
9. Extending Think-Balance. Today many innovation enabling consultancies help organizations master combinations of thinking styles that work best in their particular organization, depending on many variables including their diagnosed cognitive strengths and weaknesses. In the industry this is now considered rather basic. What leading firms are working on is much more than technique considerations. Leading innovation enabling firms are extending Think-Balance considerations into strategies, values, rewards systems, processes models, leadership teams, thinking styles, technologies, work environments, etc. This is systemic viewing of innovation enabling that builds from and significantly extends the early work of Innovation. This is how the caterpillar transformed itself into a butterfly.
10. Dynamic Capability Building. Perhaps the most relevant dots unfortunately and ironically not connected. How does one enable a “Generation Flux” organization? The dots were sitting right there on the table but they remained unconnected. Apart from a fundamental misreading of brainstorming’s relevance there seems to be a complete absence of understanding regarding the underlying intentions doing was acknowledgement of continuous change and advocacy for continuous adaptability. “Adaptation”, “adapt”, “adapting” are terms used more than twenty times in the 1953 version of Applied Creativity. Obviously there is an urgency for developing in people the ability to live with constant change in a dynamic society. Creative intelligence, creative process mastery, not brainstorming, as the way for humans to realize sustainable adaptability, agility, flexibility, resilience, fluency, fluxability, adaptive capacity or whatever you choose you call that. In view of Creative Innovation process mastery of the business innovation process, CPS, integrative thinking is the learnable engine, and the primary interface of adaptive capacity. The entire body of Creative Innovation work is about equipping leaders with adaptability tools and skills.
All wise practitioners believe that regardless of individual backgrounds those folks who learn such skills deeply will be well equipped to navigate a continuously changing world. We believe deeply that mastery of such skills would help others be successful in whatever next economy arrive. This too is a rather important insight for the interesting time we course through.
Proactively adapting to change was what it was all about for them and that is what it is still about for many organizational leaders today. What is different today is not only the increase in the pace of change but that the tools continue to change and evolve. The good news is that for inclusive culture building, for adaptive capacity building many more strategies and tools now exist.
Seasoned veterans of this business understand that the expressions of organizational needs evolve and change but often the underlying human issues remain surprisingly consistent. Ambidexterity as a Dynamic Capability is the basic problem confronting an organization is to engage in sufficient exploitation to ensure its current viability, and, at the same time, devote enough energy to exploration to ensure its future viability.
To be brief: How leading firms are enabling Ambidexterity in organizations today is, from a methods perspective, tied directly on Building Ambidexterity Capacity as A Methods Perspective.
Keeping Your Sanity means to forget the media constructed brainstorm wars. That is a false drama and a false narrative. In the real world of practice there is no brainstorming advocacy group out there. The innovation enabling community has long ago moved on. So should you.
Today leading innovation consultancies are working with savvy organizational leaders on Building Better Leaders, Better Teams and Better Organizational Cultures. Understanding the role of behaviours is key to every aspect of innovation capacity building today.
With innovation-averse behaviours and values still embedded in many graduate programs tackling these complex capacity building tasks will keep many organizational leaders around the world busy for decades to come.
Every year as I reflect on my Life and work here, and review all of the work I have seen and brought to bear, I am always drawn to the very notion of creativity and what its varied definitions of this rather powerful & meaningful word: “Creativity”
Imagination; Pushing Boundaries; Magic; Never Give Up; Inspiration…interesting choices, and some might add commerce, as in it’s not creative unless it sells, as a watch-out for Creative Innovation, for our community, and obviously for business innovation.
But now back to Data and here is the thing, even the use of Data could be creative – particularly if you believe that Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.
And that is the point – we take on creative product, add it to another and create yet a third. Just think about taking paper, ink and movable type and creating books. Or creating digital behavioural data, Creative Innovation, deep consumer/cultural insights, and brilliant copywriting and design, merged with compelling video production and direction.
And there you have it – I will leave it to you to judge for yourselves and I guarantee that every one of my readers will find their own muse somewhere in the work same as I would love to know where you did.
Creative Innovation seems to be a theme across the notion that simple yet great ideas, great thinking, great Creative Innovation, brilliant execution, and creative success, are neither digital or analog; old or new — they just “ARE”.
And High Touch is back in vogue alongside High-Tech, and maybe even more important in fact, low-tech human scalability trumped Apple Watches more than once…
I leave you with a thought from an incredible creative genius that sums up for me the message to take home: “Listen”
“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
Keep it simple and its way easier to inspire, and in the Business of Creative Innovation, that’s the end game.
The Original “Generation Flux” is still with us today and whether you chose to embrace it, build on it or reject it, the multifaceted work of Innovation Adaptation is worthy of understanding in all of its amazing courage and timely imperfections.
Let’s recognize that the many contributions to creative intelligence and to innovation methodology development in particular are all in the direction of forward motion.