The Learning CEO

“The Learning CEO” is a phrase I coined a number of years back to help my clients understand the high correlation between actionable, applied knowledge and success as a leader. As an advisor to CEOs, there is little doubt that I’m passionate about CEO development. There is one simple reason why…it works. Great CEOs are like a sponge when it comes to the acquisition of knowledge, the development of new skill sets, and the constant refinement of existing competencies. In today’s post I’ll examine the benefits of being a Learning CEO. I get along very well with successful CEOs largely because our relationships are often focused on both the acquisition and application of knowledge. Conversely, I have little patience for those leaders who are “too busy” or “too smart” or “too important” to learn. Put simply, if you’re not learning you have no business leading. I believe Michael Angelo said … Continue reading

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Outsourcing Innovation

Over the last 20 years or so, as global barriers fell and telecommunications and information infrastructure increased, it has become easier and cheaper to outsource some functions. In the US this started with NAFTA for manufacturing and then moved to Taiwan and to mainland China. For services it started in the nineties as many firms moved high overhead operations like call centers to places like India and the Philippines. Today, we are reaching the point where anything that can be reduced to information can be outsourced. For example, when you have an x-ray or CAT scan, there’s a good chance someone overseas is reviewing that and sending information back. It won’t be long before much of our back-office accounting and financial planning will be done overseas as well. Richard Florida wrote a post recently entitled The Global Innovation Paradox, which points out that we think that …

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Reframing is a Strategic Skill and a Design Thinking Skill

It Is What Many Of Us Do On A Daily Basis. by Idris Mootee It is a beautiful day in NYC. Just finished a full day or workshop and I am back to my day job. If people ask what I do for a living, I might say reframing issues and coming up with creative solutions. Reframing is a strategic thinking skill, a design thinking skill, and system thinking skills and a design skill. It is a key element in the front end of any innovation process, to look at a problem and to position the problem, situation, or opportunity in a way that the result is actionable. Reframing is a multi-part process for exploring data that are often contradictory and ambiguous and making sense of them. Companies have overly invested in their last hypothesis and operating on out dated business models, often unwilling or unable to get away from … Continue reading

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Driven by Innovation - Corporate Culture & Responsibility

What themes do you expect to emerge when you gather a bunch of leading businesspeople and experts on innovation and organizational change, and have them present their thoughts in a two-day conference in New York City? Bonus point if you guessed innovation as a theme, but only because I haven’t yet revealed the name of the conference: The World Innovation Forum. As such, presenters were long on how cultures of innovation can be fostered and nurtured within companies, and very specific in underlining the point that companies that fail to innovate today will fail to thrive in coming years. Up until the second day of the conference, most of the talk around innovation concerned the how of the subject. If the why was mentioned at all, it was usually couched in terms of general benefit: it’s good for your company’s bottom line; it’s good for your career; it’ll help you … Continue reading

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Apple - The Open Innovation Exception

Ben Verleg recently asked about my views on Apple and innovation. The short version is that I am big fan of Apple products and if you can make such great products, you obviously also do well with regards to innovation. One thing I really like about Apple is that they seem to understand that innovation goes beyond the product itself. Think iTunes, other services, design and marketing. They execute very well on this. Apple is a very unique company and innovation is in their corporate DNA. This is the highest level of innovation maturity a company can reach and it is a very strong asset that other companies have a hard time competing against. Such a strong innovation culture is the envy of many companies and they try hard to achieve a similar position. I have no doubt that they can find much inspiration at Apple. However, innovation DNA is … Continue reading

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Seth Godin Interview (World Innovation Forum)

I had the opportunity to interview Seth Godin, author of “Linchpin”, “Purple Cow”, “Tribes” and nine other books, at the World Innovation Forum 2010 in New York, NY. On stage, Seth Godin presented mostly a fusion of content from “Tribes” and “Linchpin”. He started by defining innovation as doing ‘stuff’ that’s impossible, otherwise someone would already be doing it. Seth spent a good deal of time talking about the importance of movements and the failings of traditional marketing and advertising. One of the examples he used was that of the Candy Shoppe, along a highway somewhere in America, right next to a store that offered gas, donuts, burgers, fries, etc. The Candy Shoppe was so successful that it built a second identical store directly across the street so that people going the other direction didn’t have to try and make a left turn or a u-turn to visit them. A … Continue reading

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World Innovation Forum 2010 - Wendy Kopp

I had the opportunity to interview Wendy Kopp, Founder and CEO of Teach for America at the World Innovation Forum. Wendy is also the CEO and Founder of Teach For All, and the author of “One Day, All Children…”. “Twenty years ago, the prevailing notion was that there was no way to eliminate educational inequality based on socio-economics in the United States. Today there are hundreds of examples of success in Teach For America.” (session summary courtesy @fhinnovation) I’d like to share a video interview I did with Wendy during the event about innovation in education, and what she’s learned over the last 20 years of the program: Image credit: Don’t miss an article – Subscribe to our RSS feed and join our Continuous Innovation group! Braden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden … Continue reading

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