A Relentless Focus On Efficiency Can Kill Innovation


Why do organisations who say they are innovative fail to put their money where their mouth is and invest in innovation in the same way Amazon do?

How To Make Decisions In A World Of Uncertainty When Not Knowing Or Being Sure Of Anything Is The Only Answer We Have (TLDR: Get comfortable with failure..)


In a high stakes environment , where people will die whatever you do next, nobody wants to talk about failure. For companies large and small, to make progress in complex situations means re-evaluating our relationship with the F Word.

How Can We Move Towards A Better Normal?


We are living through an era of intense turbulence and disillusionment. Even before COVID-19 we were faced with circumstances which the scholar and critic Ziauddin Sardar has described as uncertain, rapidly changing and chaotic.   He describes this as a period where the old orthodoxies are dying, but new ones have yet to be born, and … Continue reading How Can We Move Towards A Better Normal?

Black Swans Can Inspire A New Era of Innovation


A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight Back in November I was listening to a talk from Melissa Sterry, … Continue reading Black Swans Can Inspire A New Era of Innovation

What Coronavirus Tells Us About Risk


As I sit down to write this post I’ve just received an email from a weekly design blog I subscribe to. This edition is titled , alarmingly, ‘Pandemic Prep’. It begins “We are interrupting our regularly scheduled newsletter format and rhythm to advise our clients and subscribers to prepare for the possible impacts of the … Continue reading What Coronavirus Tells Us About Risk

The Creative Value Of Open-Mindedness


Innovation is, essentially, about being endlessly curious. Curious, and a little bit paranoid that the way you do things isn’t the best way. Looking outside your organisation means gathering and understanding trends and weak signals that indicate emerging needs or opportunities. These weak signals are often overlooked or ignored by organisations that will only listen … Continue reading The Creative Value Of Open-Mindedness

How To Resist Corporate Hoarding


Many companies are still using software built or purchased from a time when Blockbuster were fining us for late returned videos. Most of the companies we admire for their innovation , your Amazons, your Netflixes or your Apples have no such legacy ways of working holding them back. They either cleared them out years ago … Continue reading How To Resist Corporate Hoarding

Putting The Needs Of The User Before The System


Are some countries more innovative than others? Certainly many have tried to measure it, with the UK being outperformed by the likes of South Korea, Israel and Finland. As the CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla has said, the role of Government when it comes to encouraging innovation is crucial: “We need to make sure that … Continue reading Putting The Needs Of The User Before The System

Redesigning Organisations For Positive Deviance


What if the traditional way that we think change happens is all wrong? What if our focus on the spread and scale of innovative business solutions isn’t the answer – but is part of the fundamental problem? In 1990, an American couple named Jerry and Monique Sternin were sent by Save the Children to fight … Continue reading Redesigning Organisations For Positive Deviance

How To Kill Doomed Projects


The challenge for managers in the “can-do” culture of business is to distinguish between belief as a key driver of success—and belief as something that can blind managers to a project’s ultimate failure – Isabelle Royer  It’s always easier to start something new than it is to stop doing something. Many of our organisations are … Continue reading How To Kill Doomed Projects

Does Regulation Really Stifle Innovation?


Last week I did a presentation to a group of managers when the issue of governance and regulation ‘getting in the way’ of innovation came up. People often think regulations stifle innovation, new business and services. They assume that regulators are there to control and curtail what they want to do. “We are so heavily … Continue reading Does Regulation Really Stifle Innovation?

How To Kill Ideas


We were asked a really good question last week with the visit to Bromford of the Disruptive Innovators Network. How long should you spend on an idea? In the early days of Bromford Lab we had a 12 WEEKS MAX rule. If we couldn’t get an idea up and running within that time – it should … Continue reading How To Kill Ideas

Lessons Learned From Five Years of Failure


Sometimes the execution of the idea doesn’t need to be the best to succeed. In 1989 a video game designer called Gunpei Yokoi changed the world with the launch of the original Nintendo Game Boy. It took gaming out of the hands of geeks and paved the way for the industry to become the most … Continue reading Lessons Learned From Five Years of Failure

Minority Dissent: Why Intelligent People Fail To Solve Problems


At the end of November 2018 my blog posts dried up. I’ve not published one for over seven weeks – the longest gap for a couple of years. The problem wasn’t that I had nothing to write, rather I was afraid of the reaction to what I’d say. I have five draft posts I’ve struggled to … Continue reading Minority Dissent: Why Intelligent People Fail To Solve Problems

Nine Ways To Unlock Creativity In Your Organisation


Some organisations are obsessive about finding the silver bullet—the one-shot wonder that solves everything. In an effort to strengthen performance, we’ll often make disproportionate investments in a single initiative to invoke change. Others are fixed on generating ideas – jumping towards uncontrolled creativity as the solution. However most of our organisations don’t suffer from a … Continue reading Nine Ways To Unlock Creativity In Your Organisation

How To Avoid Innovation Theatre


Consistent investment, dedicated teams, proper evidencing of decisions, alignment with strategy. A simple but critical recipe for innovation in future-ready organisations – Tom Cheesewright One of the questions I get asked most frequently is“How do you define innovation?” This week I’ve been asked it several times so here’s a short post to recap my thoughts. … Continue reading How To Avoid Innovation Theatre

The Rise Of Business Bullshit – And How We Can Fight It


“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this, but we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves.” – Harry Frankfurt  On Bullshit Many people in the social sector will have heard about … Continue reading The Rise Of Business Bullshit – And How We Can Fight It

The Danger Of Listening To People Who Talk A Lot


Research indicates that even when everyone within a group recognizes who the subject matter expert is, they defer to that member just 62% of the time; when they don’t, they listen to the most extroverted person – Khalil Smith Innovation must be founded on a deep understanding of the problem we are seeking to solve. It … Continue reading The Danger Of Listening To People Who Talk A Lot