I have been doing a lot of work in the innovation space lately. I reckon we have to be very careful when launching an innovation initiative through an existing business. Let's take the IDEATION stage in an innovation roll out; this is the stage when you are generating cool ideas and asking the whole business for suggestions on what the business can do. If you simply collate these ideas and never report them, never track the source, don't allow forum style comments in an open source manner and actually run idea competitions to close this 'generating' and 'commenting' phase, you will disengage your people. What's worse, is you may not execute on your brilliant ideas.
So, in a few lines:
Your culture and execution frameworks then become key to making innovation happen. If you define innovation as cool ideas then it's not the goal. If however we define innovation as great ideas that have been turned into commercial realities then it's a perfect goal.
Entries in innovation (6)
Happy New Year!
As we launch into a new decade we get to ask some big questions...
For me, the big questions are those around the idea of foresight.... so, what will stay the same and what will change over this decade?
For me, the best business question is; ‘what idea, technology or innovation will disrupt your business this decade?
If TV manufacturers knew the 'flat' screen would be the norm, would they have stayed on the 'fat' screens for so long?
Will local video stores survive or will digital downloads kill them? Are they already dead but don't know it yet?
Web page designers are being replaced by cloud solutions. Check out http://www.squarespace.com to get an idea of what I mean.
Imagine your primary way of making money and existing were to disappear. What would you then do? Alan Kay who invented the pretty way we look at computers (GUI) said that 'The only way to predict the future is to invent it!'
So, keep an eye on the future and adapt what you do so you are relevant and positioned on the leading edge of change.
Subject matter experts are those people in your business with knowledge about how to do things better. They have something to offer an industry or a sector. They make a difference on your projects as what they know has a direct impact on how others do things in your business. They are your Thought Leaders.
They are innovators and original thinkers!
Often they don't realise that they are and even if they do, they don't always have the skills to communicate those ideas in a way that others get them.
In a recent study by Rainmaker, the online platform for sales and marketing professionals, they placed speaking at conferences and tradeshows and producing white papers as some of the best ways of selling any product or service. The thinking is that people trust people and that expertise and authority are true business currencies.
How are you developing your expertise or nurturing the talent in your organisation to stand up and be regarded as Thought Leaders?
Andy Warhol said in 1968, "In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes!" By the late 80's it had become a reality for many. Simon Cowell, a.k.a. Spice Girls and American Idol, suggests that with reality TV "everyone can be obscure for 15 minutes". And now with face book, blogging and other social media, everyone can be famous to at least 15 people (not including my mum).
Warhols 15 minutes refers to the fleeting condition of celebrity that is a result of some fickle media grabbing onto some often self-created buzz.
I don't like the idea of celebrity!
I don't think those who have it like it very much either. A certain Miss Hilton aside most, would rather you watched their movies and enjoyed their acting, not their very human relationship issues. I don't like the idea of celebrity and certainly not the light entertainment magazine selling kind. I think it is a consequence of exposure without substance. I'd almost prefer notoriety where I am known for disagreeing with some famous stance. Or "IDEAreity' where I am known for something I said or thought.
When people follow what you wear you are a fashion celebrity. When people discover in you a way to express an idea they themselves have had but could not explain, that's thought leadership. When people get to entertain an idea that they had not yet considered that's thought leadership. With Thought Leadership, you get something way more valuable than celebrity.
Your thinking is more important than your styling, but stylish thinking will win on both fronts. Let's start a magazine called ‘The Idea' and replace ‘No Idea' on the news stands. Let's make it sexy, full of well-crafted ideas, ideas that contribute to a conversation or contradict a conversation.
Thinking needs an extreme make over. It needs a U2 soundtrack and an OBAMAesque charisma. It needs to inspire not just inform, it needs to engage the right hemisphere and not simply be logic to the left.
Thinking is no longer the realm of the clever PHD waving residents of Ivory Tower. We need to popularise ideas. We need to shape them into sound bytes and deliver them Haiku style on a long tail to all who will listen. Ideas shape thinking, thinking will save the planet, change your world and deliver fulfillment on a scale we can't even imagine.
Here are 15 minimums of claim, a prescription for Thought Leadership…
- Claim a piece of mental real estate; own an idea
- Start a blog on that idea
- Create a screencast about your idea
- Publish a book
- Mentor someone
- Give a speech
- Start a movement
- Write a white paper about your idea
- Contribute to an existing conversation
- Contradict an existing conversation
- Create a conference around your idea
- Start a Twitter on your idea
- Create a network around your idea
- Publish a newspaper on your idea
- Invite others to evangelize your idea
Learn. Think. Share.
As a leader in the 21st century, it is necessary to really think about what leadership means and more specifically, Thought Leadership.
The world has changed fundamentally in the last 10 years and dramatically in the last 6 months. A subtle shift in power and information accessibility has flipped the models for leadership in the organisational and entrepreneurial arenas.
We used to be about systems, process, structure and hierarchy. We now see an emerging requirement for inspirational, creative thinking, consultative styles and effective partnering. We see crowded marketplaces, information overwhelmed clients and a massive loss of trust in the media.
All of these trend indicators point to a new way of being the leader in business and life, and any manager, business leader, innovator, anyone charged with the responsibility of positioning themselves, their business or project to thrive within the next 5-10 years and anyone in an advice or strategy role needs to know what it takes to be a Thought Leader.
Thought Leadership requires the leaders of today to know about nine essential skills…
You need to know what your own uniqueness is. It is necessary to know what your personal value proposition is to effectively differentiate yourself to the internal and external clients. This is the key to talent management. (Who are you?)
You must have the ability to quickly unpack what you know so others can share your expertise and the benefit of your knowledge. In a developed world it's the thinking innovations that matter. (What do you know?)
Be aware of and share the foresight of the major trends redefining what it means to lead a business into the future. (What is going on around you?)
Know how to position yourself, your business or your organisation so people know exactly what you do and why they should do business only with you. (What do you do?)
Develop communication skills that help you get your point across in an engaging, relevant and meaningful way. (How do you share ideas?)
Learn how others think, their mindsets, and use this knowledge to create more effective consensus and/or cut through in your world. (How do others think?)
Know how to pitch you, your business or your ideas more effectively. (How do you get it out?)
Execute on your great ideas and bring them to reality. Go beyond simple creativity and deliver the results. (How do you launch a concept?)
Sell your vision and influence others so they engage and enrol with your ideas. (How do you sell the vision?)
It is imperative for the leaders of today and tomorrow to step up and into their Thought Leadership.
How does your Thought Leadership shape up? Which skill do you need to strengthen?