Complex Problems Require Rapid Experiments


“Multiple iterations almost always beat a single-minded commitment to building your first idea” – Peter Skillman Most of you will have taken part in the Marshmallow Challenge or a variant of it. It’s the team exercise where you get a load of spaghetti, some tape, a marshmallow, a piece of string, and 18 minutes to … Continue reading Complex Problems Require Rapid Experiments

How Much Good Does Your Organisation Really Achieve?


We don’t usually think of achievements in terms of what would have happened otherwise, but we should. What matters is not who does good but whether good is done.” ― William MacAskill, Doing Good Better We all love an uplifting story of a simple innovation that solves a tricky social problem. Anyone who’s been to … Continue reading How Much Good Does Your Organisation Really Achieve?

Embracing Challenge to Build a Stronger Innovation Culture


  Just as your body is designed to fight a common cold, most of our cultures protect the organisational DNA from any antibodies. Add something new and it can get rejected. As Chris Bolton has written organisations can have immune systems and idea antibodies. As Chris says – It’s not personal. It’s just an automatic survival mechanism. … Continue reading Embracing Challenge to Build a Stronger Innovation Culture

Why Collaboration Does Not Equal Innovation


Transformation can’t happen without discovery and discovery can’t happen without experimentation. It’s a new year and at Bromford we are planning a reboot of our approach to innovation (actually we are planning a reboot of everything). My emerging thoughts are we need less talk of accelerated fast fail innovation and more a systemic and systematic … Continue reading Why Collaboration Does Not Equal Innovation

Is Your Organisation Making The Impossible Possible?


2016 was the year the social media bubble burst. The year we woke up to the fact that – despite what Twitter and Facebook tell us – a lot of people think exactly the opposite to what we do. It was us, not them, who were in a bubble. I spent New Year travelling – … Continue reading Is Your Organisation Making The Impossible Possible?

How To Fast Track Innovation


If you speak at conferences about innovation you’ll almost always encounter some frustrated people. They approach you at the end, or contact you a few days later. They often have one thing in common. They, and others like them , have ideas that are being shut down because they don’t fit the system. They tend not … Continue reading How To Fast Track Innovation

Why You Need To Selectively Forget Your Own Past


Reset All Assumptions We must selectively forget the past. That means not accepting current practices but challenging underlying assumptions, our solutions and mindsets, and the way we tackle the problem. We need services designed as people need them – not as we have learned to do them. Bromford Design Principle 1 (Draft) I’m doing some work at … Continue reading Why You Need To Selectively Forget Your Own Past

Can Working Out Loud Inspire Creativity and Inclusion?


Collaboration – for all the rhetoric – is much harder , and for many of us less preferable, than working in isolation. Today we’ve woken up to find the  UK has made a historic choice. A choice that could be interpreted as a desire to go it alone rather than working with others. To seize … Continue reading Can Working Out Loud Inspire Creativity and Inclusion?

How To Kill Creativity (And How To Rebuild It)


Many of our organisations , without realising it , 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’ designed to protect the business from failure. One of the biggest inhibitors of … Continue reading How To Kill Creativity (And How To Rebuild It)

Holiday in Cambodia: 13 Innovations in Pictures


In 1975 Cambodia attempted the most radical reinvention of society and community in history. This was ‘Year Zero’ – a beginning of a new era where people would return to a mythic past. Self sufficiency and collectivism were promoted, technology and creativity mistrusted. City dwellers, professionals and intellectuals returned to toil the land alongside peasants. About 1.7 … Continue reading Holiday in Cambodia: 13 Innovations in Pictures

We Need Less Talk of Innovation and More Evidence of Impact


In my last post I looked at why change fails and how most corporate programmes are destined for failure. Year on year, huge resources are invested in them. Yet we somehow hope for a different outcome.  The biggest reason change fails is employee resistance. Indeed – it’s the downfall of nearly 40% of programmes. However, … Continue reading We Need Less Talk of Innovation and More Evidence of Impact

We need to encourage organisations to seek risk – and forgive failure


“I’ve focused on the idea of failure being the engine for innovation. Not being afraid of failure but seeing it as a learning opportunity, and the value of getting out into the world and testing things earlier rather than later.” – Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots, Google X Risk is still a toxic word across much … Continue reading We need to encourage organisations to seek risk – and forgive failure

Three Ways Organisations Kill Ideas (And How You Can Remove Them)


 Many organisations , without realising it , 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 either promote creativity or quell it. Our employees generate … Continue reading Three Ways Organisations Kill Ideas (And How You Can Remove Them)

Best Practice, Benchmarking and the Race to Mediocrity


We must be different. We must be lopsided. No more herdlike regression toward the mean – we must find the things at which we’re great, and build on those – Tim Kastelle A few years ago my organisation adopted a new way of working. We implemented it , with the help of consultants, as it had achieved glowing … Continue reading Best Practice, Benchmarking and the Race to Mediocrity

We need less talk about innovation and more about mediocrity


  “The only way to get mediocre is one step at a time. But you don’t have to settle. It’s a choice you get to make every day.” – Seth Godin In my last post I named innovation as the most overused word of 2014. It’s consistently misapplied to things that really aren’t innovative at … Continue reading We need less talk about innovation and more about mediocrity

Your Own Personal Social Media Policy: 10 Top Tips


“Companies often want this one single voice but when you have thousands of employees there’s no way you can have a single voice and be authentic,”  – Professor Joonas Rokka One of the best links I saw last week was about how employees active on social media play a crucial role in corporate brand management. … Continue reading Your Own Personal Social Media Policy: 10 Top Tips

Three Ways To Get Cool Stuff Done Quickly At Work


It’s hard to imagine anyone not knowing Helen Reynolds – such is her reputation – but it would be rude not to give an introduction. Helen is Digital and Social Media Manager at Monmouthshire County Council , and one of the foremost innovators in digital communications. She’s also one of the nicest people you could ever … Continue reading Three Ways To Get Cool Stuff Done Quickly At Work

Why Your Business Plan Just Killed Innovation


 Unless you are a fortune teller, long term business planning is a fantasy. Why don’t we call plans what they really are: guesses. Start referring to your business plans as business guesses , your financial plans as financial guesses and your strategic plans as strategic guesses. Now you can stop worrying about them so much. … Continue reading Why Your Business Plan Just Killed Innovation

Adapt or Die: 3 Challenges To Going Digital


Yesterday was a significant day. The sector in which I work put on a huge show of newly found digital awareness. My Twitter timeline nearly melted. As Shirley Ayres correctly observed: This , just one year after the 2012 Northern Housing Consortium Social Media event – which was the first mainstream housing conference to promote … Continue reading Adapt or Die: 3 Challenges To Going Digital

Why Living In Paradise Is Bad For Business


Here is a story about what can happen when you don’t anticipate change. When you get used to things being easy for everyone. It’s a story you will have heard before but, like all the best tales , is as relevant today as when it was first told: There was once a lucky little bird … Continue reading Why Living In Paradise Is Bad For Business