Innovating Against All Odds: The Endlessly Adaptable Future of Work


Received wisdom isn’t what it used to be. The future will be made up of shades of grey where few things are certain and the best you can do to prepare is to be endlessly adaptable.

How To Kill Ideas (Part 53)


Many organisations act as inhibitors of innovation. Rules and protocols are put in place, often for very good reasons, that preserve the status quo.  Over time, organisations develop a set of social norms – ‘the way we do things around here’ – that can quell any creativity or dissent. Organisations can quickly develop an autonomic immune response … Continue reading How To Kill Ideas (Part 53)

Why Do We Believe In Silver Bullet Solutions?


In folklore, a bullet cast from silver is often one of the few weapons that are effective against a werewolf or witch. In business, the “silver bullet” is a simple, but sure-fire solution to a complex and/or chronic problem. Once you use it, the problem goes away completely.

Why do we believe in silver bullets?

Community Is The Most Powerful Unit Of Change


We are less pessimistic about our own lives than we are about larger units. We’re not very pessimistic about our village, we are not pessimistic about our town – but we are very pessimistic about our country, and even more pessimistic about the future of our planet. The bigger the unit you look at the … Continue reading Community Is The Most Powerful Unit Of Change

Can The Pandemic Usher In An Era of Creative Disruption?


If we’d followed a conventional big transformation/ big consultancy approach to vaccine development and deployment we’d be getting our jabs sometime around the middle of 2033.

The question is, can your organisation draw on the lessons of the pandemic to forge a more effective partnership with your customers and stakeholders?

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