Innovating In An Age Of Uncertainty


Faced with uncertainty, those holding the purse strings will be tempted to stop the clock, peddle simplistic solutions and retreat to the past

Death By Zoom: Have We Failed The Mass Home Working Experiment?


One of the few positives of the pandemic lockdown was the opportunity to reset the way in which we spend our working day. This was the chance to prove that remote work actually works. As someone whose job it is to run workplace experiments I’d say six or seven weeks is a very good point … Continue reading Death By Zoom: Have We Failed The Mass Home Working Experiment?

Did A Virus Just Bring About The End Of The Office?


Remote work has accelerated 10 years in 10 days. The only thing that could pull people back to the office is the ego of the bad middle manager scared of losing control – Chris Herd The revolution in remote working , when it came, was peaceful. Orderly even. There was no fightback from technophobe hold-outs … Continue reading Did A Virus Just Bring About The End Of The Office?

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

Moving From The Reactive To The Pre-Emptive


As Matthew Manos has written, many of us in the social sector are employed in the expectation that the things that go wrong will always go wrong.  Indeed, our work often profits from past societal failure rather than the contemplation of the signals of failures that have yet to exist. The entire premise relies on … Continue reading Moving From The Reactive To The Pre-Emptive

How Technology Can Increase Collaboration And Build Trust


This post is an shortened version of a plenary talk delivered in Cardiff for the Wales Audit Office  Depending on your age it’s likely that the two things you were not taught in school were: a) how to collaborate effectively and b) how to use technology to connect and share with others And yet these … Continue reading How Technology Can Increase Collaboration And Build Trust

What If We Replaced All Our Managers With Robots? 


Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done Peter Drucker Management is the greatest inefficiency in any organisation. Many of you will be familiar with the work of Gary Hamel , but his explanation of how management ‘spreads’ is always helpful. Typically a small organisation might start off … Continue reading What If We Replaced All Our Managers With Robots? 

Why We Are So Bad At Defining Problems


If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions. – Albert Einstein I don’t know whether Einstein ever used those words. It may be just like the Henry Ford “Faster Horses” quote – something perfectly phrased and also perfectly true that … Continue reading Why We Are So Bad At Defining Problems

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

The Social Sector Must Rebuild Trust Through Equal Partnerships


This is a edited version of an article originally written for Inside Housing There is a growing realisation that many of our social institutions and public services have run their course. Communities need something different from what’s currently on offer. We could be at the tipping point, the moment when future relationships between citizens and … Continue reading The Social Sector Must Rebuild Trust Through Equal Partnerships

Creating The Right Culture For Innovation and Change


I’m not sure I buy into the concept of organisations having a culture of innovation. After all, innovation is a process consisting of four things: Having an idea that solves a problem Doing something with that idea Proving that it delivers new value for people Translating it into reality and making it part of the … Continue reading Creating The Right Culture For Innovation and Change

The Fruitless Quest For Inbox Zero: Eight Tips To Protect Your Time


You can seek to impose order on your inbox all you like – but eventually you’ll need to confront the fact that the deluge of messages, and the urge you feel to get them all dealt with, aren’t really about technology. They’re manifestations of larger, more personal dilemmas – Oliver Burkeman At the back-end of … Continue reading The Fruitless Quest For Inbox Zero: Eight Tips To Protect Your Time

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

Failure: We Need To Move From Slow And Stupid To Fast And Intelligent


In the history of pointless technology, it takes a lot to beat the Twitter Peek. Aimed at those interested in Twitter, but who didn’t own a smartphone,  it asked customers to spend $100 plus a monthly subscription. With the benefit of hindsight, it was clearly designed to solve a problem that didn’t really exist.  If you were … Continue reading Failure: We Need To Move From Slow And Stupid To Fast And Intelligent

We Need To Be Boringly Reliable and Radically Disruptive – At The Same Time


Our organisations are generally bad at innovation. That’s because they are designed that way. Just as your body is designed to fight a common cold, most of our cultures protect the organisational DNA from any foreign antibodies. Add something new and it can get rejected. It’s not personal. It’s just an automatic survival mechanism. Purposeful thinking – … Continue reading We Need To Be Boringly Reliable and Radically Disruptive – At The Same Time

5 Reasons You Need To Question What Customers Are Telling You


Despite little evidence of impact, each year millions of pounds are spent on market research, focus groups, and ‘coproduction’. The danger of listening to customers is you end up focusing on wants not needs. Often what a customer wants is diametrically opposed to what they need – and want is often more of a powerful … Continue reading 5 Reasons You Need To Question What Customers Are Telling You

Ending The Myth Of Collaboration


The best organisational cultures are tolerant of the loner, the thinker. – John Wade “If I was you,” said a colleague recently “now would be a very good time to involve customers, to get more people involved”. No, I thought, right now that would be the worst thing we could do. Collaboration can kill creativity. … Continue reading Ending The Myth Of Collaboration