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Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend?
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The innovation mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity: Elon Musk

Entrepreneur Elon Musk is a man with many plans. The founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX sits down with TED curator Chris Anderson to share details about what's next.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Shared from my Change Leadership Watch as a companion to another innovation post about Elon Musk on this stream.

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, July 21, 2013 10:56 PM

A TED talk that has made it to the list, "15 TED Talks That Will Change Your Life," belongs on this stream, and goes with a previous post here a few days ago.  ~  Deb

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Innovation vs. Measurement & Systems: Leadership Is Always The Key

Innovation vs. Measurement & Systems:  Leadership Is Always The Key | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Think of “win-lose” structures in incentives.  If you can only win if someone else loses, what are the odds of your developing a working relationship grounded in trust?"

Trust:

Strong leadership can recognize “win-lose” structures or norms and work to eliminate them.  It seems obvious that leadership drives trust, not systems.


_________________________

Without ...systems ...built to allow for ...individual and group failure, risk will always be a negative organizational value. 


_________________________


DIVERSITY:      . . . of people, points of view, ideas, ethics, and beliefs.  Diversity is what drives and powers iteration, constant challenge, testing, playing, and randomness. Strong leadership will drive (or diminish) diversity much more profoundly than will the most deeply embedded systems.  


RISK:     Risk tolerance and the attractiveness of rapid iteration are the hallmarks of innovative organizations.  Without operational systems that are built to allow for and to contextualize individual and group failure, risk will always be a negative organizational value.


...Should you be thinking a little more about how you encourage and foster strong leadership, and a little less about your systems of measurement and evaluation.?  You might be surprised by where this reflection will take you.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The venture capitalist who wrote this post has a view I share on putting measurement and evaluation within the right context, including a certain tolerance for enough risk-taking to help organizations be adaptive and "anti-fragile." ~  Deb

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, July 5, 2013 8:29 PM

This is also shared here via Performance and Talent Development because of the theme of leadership above performance systems, and leadership to build an innovation, adaptive culture that trumps traditional measurement practices. ~  D

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A Pulp Innovation & Change Chapter: The Innovation Plan includes the Return of Status Quo

A Pulp Innovation & Change Chapter: The Innovation Plan includes the Return of Status Quo | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Pushing an innovation plan forward?  Here comes the first major obstacle instead of a much-needed catalyst, for the rapid plummet to the bottom, roller coaster style in this 'pulp innovation' chapter change story."


This innovation series includes a set of chapter pulp fiction stories, complete with cliff hangers, setting up a series of cautionary tales of how to create innovation as a sustainable, repeatable business process.  


This episode of Jeffrey Phillips's series involves the destablization of those leading change to an innovation culture.  Enter the other staff manager with enough “bandwidth” to actively participate, which means those not senior enough to speed the work.


_______________________________


The annual planning cycle, that recurring monster better known ...as the idea killing process...with no ambiguity and no room for error.

_______________________________


Excerpts:


After the usual pleasantries, Susan and I set out an ambitious plan to build an innovation team, encourage incremental and disruptive innovation throughout the organization and start building innovation communities...


...it seemed that everyone else had a different perspective or intent for our project.


“Great. Do you think we can have new products in the pipeline so we can get budgets in place during the annual planning cycle?”


The annual planning cycle, that recurring monster better known to innovation experts as the idea killing process. There’s no business process or decision making apparatus less welcoming to innovation than the annual planning process, a place where great ideas go to die.


...A rigid, microscopically managed process with no ambiguity and no room for error. ...While the revenue numbers may be a bit inflated and fanciful, the projects that get approved go under a ROI microscope, which inevitably means that many innovative ideas are rejected.


By the end of our first meeting I’d reached the bottom of the roller coaster. ...Even though we had open channels to Brockwell, I didn’t think it would matter. ...


Perhaps we should recruit Mr. Kasamis.”  “Doug Kasamis, the chairman?” ...if he is willing, he could rally most of the organization to a significant change.”


Read the full post here.

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The 12 Masters of Innovation - Perspectives, Slideshare, Harvard Business Review

The 12 Masters of Innovation - Perspectives, Slideshare, Harvard Business Review | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

Worth a good look on leadership in innovation.


Some of who are listed include these educators:


Steve Blank, a seasoned entrepreneur who lectures at Berkeley and Stanford

His most important innovation lesson:

  • A startup is a "temporary organization searching for a repeatable and scalable business model"—a structured search process maximizes your chances of success.
  • If you read one book, read: The Four Steps to the Epiphany (Cafepress.com, 2005)


Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and Innosight co-founder.
His most important innovation lesson:

  • Doing everything right can leave a successful organization susceptible to attack from a disruptive innovator who changes the game with a simple, accessible, or affordable solution.
  • If you read one book, read: The Innovator's Solution (with Michael Raynor; Harvard Business Review Press, 2003)


Peter Drucker, legendary management guru and long-time professor at the Claremont Graduate University
  • His most important innovation lesson: "The customer rarely buys what the company thinks it is selling him." Companies need to take a customer-first perspective to succeed with innovation.
  • If you read one book, read: Innovation and Entrepreneurship (originally published in 1985)



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Negative Innovation: Predatory For-Profit Colleges & GI Bill Money continues, new legislation pending

Negative Innovation:  Predatory For-Profit Colleges & GI Bill Money continues, new legislation pending | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Frontline's expose' (PBS, Frontline)  highlights predatory practices aimed at returning military veterans."  


Weakened legislation has been passed.  More robust legislation is pending, finally, aimed at curbing what sponsors call aggressive marketing of subpar, profit-motive programs.


The abuses include:

  • volume oriented higher-education program recruiting, 
  • inaccurate verbal statements from recruiters about transferable credits that conflict with binding legal documents, and 
  • political wangling about legislation to stop the abuses that, if weakened, can be highly profitable to the politically connected.  

That these for-profit higher education institutions have taken aim at returning war veterans is the most appalling.  Innovation doesn't come with morality guidelines.  That rests solely within leadership ethics.


Excerpt 1:  EXPOSÉ Online [The PBS] film ...Educating Sergeant Pantkze, features, how in recent years, for-profits have increased efforts to attract veterans after the passage of a robust new post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008.   Frontline has also covered for-profit practice in an earlier expose' in 2010, in a program entitled College.Inc.


Excerpt 2:  Predatory for-profit schools
Military columnist Tom Philpott, a former Coast Guardsman, has led the criticism of what he calls the “predatory for-profit schools” that “rob veterans of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.” He quotes Theodore (Ted) L. Daywalt, chief executive officer and president of VetJobs, an online job search firm for military veterans, as saying that he learned about the problem through working with disappointed vets who thought they had used their GI Bill to earn credible degrees only to learn they were “worthless.”


“The eighth for-profit company among the top 10 institutions getting GI Bill payments is Kaplan, owned by The Washington Post. Its Post-9/11 GI Bill payments climbed in 12 months from $17 million to $44 million,” noted Philpott. 


Source 2:  http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/43648

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The Yin and the Yang of Corporate Innovation, Apple & Google CEO shifts in leaders

The Yin and the Yang of Corporate Innovation, Apple & Google CEO shifts in leaders | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Apple and Google take very different paths to innovation, but the gap between their approaches may be closing ."


The New York Times, interviews John Kao, an innovation adviser to corporations and governments — and a jazz pianist — pre-performance and talk at the pending 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


A few excerpts:

The Google model relies on rapid experimentation and data.  It takes a bottom-up approach to customers as participants and partners in product design.


The Apple model is more edited, intuitive and top-down.  Regarding market research into Apple designs, Steve Jobs' standard answer was none. “It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want,” he would add.


From these yin/yang cultures, we have this final quote in the article:


In the months after Larry Page, the Google co-founder, took over as chief executive last April, the company eliminated a diverse collection of more than two dozen projects, a nudge toward top-down leadership.


And Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s C.E.O., will almost surely be a more bottom-up leader than Mr. Jobs.


“What we’re likely to see,” Mr. Kao says, “is Google and Apple each borrowing from the playbook of the other.”

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Innovation, Impact, Change Words: Enough Talk, More Do | The Nonprofit Quarterly

Innovation, Impact, Change Words: Enough Talk, More Do | The Nonprofit Quarterly | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

This matches my current experience.  Does it match yours in the fields of innovation and change leadership?

 

Excerpt:  If you’re a nonprofit news junkie, you know it’s nearly impossible to go a day without reading or hearing the words “innovation” and “impact.

"It’s little surprise, then, that collective eyes are beginning to roll when the terms innovation and impact are tossed around with little explication as to what they look like on the ground and within a more systematic framework. So, maybe it’s time to start putting our money where our mouths are and get serious about assessing what, exactly, is true innovation; and, most important, what are the kinds of innovation that lead to real impact—especially those that can be rigorously assessed and measured..."  Source:  @npquarterly 


Via Karen Steffensen, Deb Nystrom, REVELN
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World for What It Is, or What It Could Be? Elon Musk, Tesla Motors

World for What It Is, or What It Could Be? Elon Musk, Tesla Motors | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

We need people who can execute ...including mastering acceleration.


Elon Musk

Recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article, Musk is compared to Steve Jobs, another visionary, and is then discussed as follows:


Elon Musks's ambitions soar even higher...


His electric-car company Tesla Motors aims to remake the way we drive, while the ultimate goal of his rocket company SpaceX, he said, is to travel to Mars and help build a self-sustaining base there.


______________________

We need people who can execute. Too often people jump ship before they see an idea through...

______________________


Skepticism?  ...each time Mr. Musk delivers a better, less-expensive electric car or launches another rocket successfully, he proves his doubters wrong.


...he co-founded a multibillion-dollar company called PayPal.


...Musk...taught himself to code and program software by the age of 12.


After ...leaving a PhD program at Stanford, Musk dedicated himself to the three important problems that would most affect the future of humanity.  "One was the internet, one was clean energy, and one was space."


All three are revolutionary spaces, and to work in all three most certainly requires an individual willing to completely reinvent himself and his expertise to change course as needed.


We need people who can execute. Too often people jump ship before they see an idea through and don't even begin to master the competency of acceleration before they are onto the next thing.


Related posts from Deb:

     



Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Originally posted on my Change Leadership Watch stream, it also is highly instructive to the innovation theme, especially with the lessons of staying-the-course with the new idea and execution.  ~ Deb

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, July 10, 2013 11:01 AM

The Tesla story has elements of sensing the future that can be instructive for anyone in a change space including innovation.  ~  D

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Innovators Help Business Change From Within - MarketWatch

Innovators Help Business Change From Within - MarketWatch | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Sustainable business innovation & leadership capacity:  The Aspen Institute's 4th cohort of fellows who promote business growth with a sustainable society launches."  


This program looks like it can make a significant leadership impact within institutions who desire to innovate in a healthy, sustainable way.  Aspen fellows are selected based on peer nomination.


Excerpts:


_________________


"There is a clear public call for business to create long-term value for shareholders, communities, employees and the planet. We need innovative leaders who can tackle this challenge."


_________________


The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program today announces the fourth class of First Mover Fellows, individuals who are working within companies to unite business growth with a sustainable society in the products and services they are developing.


The 21 Fellows chosen this year come from a wide variety of industries including finance (Citigroup and BlackRock); energy (GE Energy); retail (Walmart); technology (Microsoft, HP and AOL); clothing (Levi Strauss and Nike); executive search (Egon Zehnder International); and advertising (Arnold Worldwide).


_________________


The 12-month Fellowship...is built around the core themes of innovation, leadership, reflection and community.

_________________


"The work of these remarkable business innovators demonstrates the array of opportunities companies have to achieve financial success and positive social and environmental impacts," says Nancy McGaw, director of the First Movers Fellowship Program.


The 12-month Fellowship, which includes three seminars, is built around the core themes of innovation, leadership, reflection and community.


The program offers individuals a chance to become part of a growing community of innovators who share a passion about their work and belief in new possibilities for business. It also serves as an innovation lab where Fellows develop the skills to make their innovations real and successful in their organizations.


The program offers both a leadership development opportunity for the Fellows and an organizational development strategy for their companies.


"Today there is a clear public call for business to create long-term value for shareholders, communities, employees and the planet. We need innovative leaders who can tackle this challenge," explains McGaw. "This Fellowship program focuses on how to build this kind of leadership capacity within business."


Candidates for the fellowship must be nominated by their peers.

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Leading in a VUCA world

Leading in a VUCA world | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"How’s your leadership working on in your VUCA world (Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous)? "


Liz Guthridge has written a great post on leading in a VUCA world; VCUA stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, a term coined by the US Army War College in the weeks before September 11, 2001.  


Liz & I discussed the need for collaboration and community across disciplines to succeed in a VUCA world in connection with our recent panel + Open Space presentation we did for a global change conference.


__________________________


VUCA can provide threats [and] offer opportunities, especially if you translate VUCA as “vision, understanding, clarity and agility.” ~ Dr. Bob Johansen

__________________________


Here are some excerpts of her take on the insightful presentation by one of our keynote presenters:


"Leading in a VUCA world" is a popular phrase with Bob Johansen, a distinguished fellow and former president of Institute for the Future.


According to Dr. Johansen, who shared his 2020 forecast at the Association of Change Management Professionals global conference this week, our VUCA world is not going away. In fact it’s just going to spin faster during the next decade.


In his talk “External Future Forces That Will Disrupt the Practice of Change Management,” Dr. Johansen noted that VUCA is not necessarily doom and gloom. While VUCA can provide threats, it also can offer opportunities, especially if you translate VUCA as “vision, understanding, clarity and agility.”


As for his two big 2022 predictions for organizational change agents, they are:


1. “The digital natives (now 16 years or younger) will create new practices to make change through gaming.” (The other key phrase besides gaming in this sentence is “make.” Dr. Johansen predicts that a culture of makers will drive the next generation of change. And as a result, leaders need to show the “maker instinct” trait.)


2. “Reciprocity-based innovation will focus on the economic, social and psychological value of reciprocity.” (Two important traits for leaders are smart-mob organizing and commons creating. Think Creative Commons.)


Dr. Johansen challenged the 825 of us in attendance to figure out how to help people and organizations adapt to these changes and others.


To do this, we should watch our terms and our questions.  Read Liz's full post here.

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Tom Hood's curator insight, April 6, 2013 5:16 PM

We just covered this in our townhall this past Monday. Arelene Thomas (AICPA/CGMA) talked about VUCA related to CPAs in Biz/Industry.


VUCA can provide threats [and] offer opportunities, especially if you translate VUCA as “vision, understanding, clarity and agility.” ~ Dr. Bob Johansen

Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, April 6, 2013 5:26 PM

We need to consider VUCA

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How Leaders Lose Their Luck, the Paradox of the Journey to the Top

How Leaders Lose Their Luck, the Paradox of the Journey to the Top | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

While researching his forthcoming book — Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck — co-author Anthony Tjan made a fascinating discovery: a surprising number of company founders and business-builders attribute much of their success to luck.

...


There are ways we create our own luck, as listed on the innovation leadership companion post on this curation stream.  Becoming disconnected, as Anthony describes, on the way to the top, is one way for leaders to lose their luck.


Excerpted:


Almost 25% of those we surveyed came out as "luck-dominant" on the Entrepreneurial Aptitude Test we devised; many more gave luck at least partial credit.


...Here's the paradox:  Once they have made it to the top — after they've reached high levels of entrepreneurial or corporate success — leaders often become disconnected from the crucial lucky qualities and relationships that helped get them there in the first place. By definition, the top is less of a journey and more of an arrival point. A newfound reputation is difficult to risk.


We've identified seven attributes, and they are among the most difficult ones for leaders to master and maintain. They are: humility, intellectual curiosity, optimism, vulnerability, authenticity, generosity, and openness.


The post defines these and begs the question:


How do leaders reconnect to the reality, attitude, and relationships that can sustain and take their company's excellence to a new place?


Author:  Anthony Tjan is CEO, Managing Partner and Founder of the venture capital firm Cue Ball and vice chairman of the advisory firm Parthenon.

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Open Innovation & Organizational Boundaries, in Institutions, Will it Blend? — HBS Working Knowledge

Open Innovation & Organizational Boundaries, in Institutions, Will it Blend? — HBS Working Knowledge | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it
Open innovation, enabled by low-cost communication and the decreased costs of memory and computation, has transformed markets and social relations.


As the authors illustrate, it will be challenging to manage contrasting modes of innovation, and that is exactly what is needed in organizations that expect to innovate and are systemically, culturally, not set up to help this happen. 



Excerpts:

Open innovation, in contrast to firm-centered innovation, is radically decentralized, peer based, and includes intrinsic and pro-social motives.


The authors of this working paper use in-depth examples from Apple, NASA, and Lego to argue that open innovation will at least complement, if not increasingly substitute for, more traditional innovation modes.


This is within the contexts of increasing modularity and decreased communication costs.   (DN:  Just look at digital communication today.  Think ahead 4 months to 1 year of what's next.)


Emerging theories must be informed by these contrasting innovation modes and the implications for governance, incentives, intellectual property, managerial choice, professional and organizational identity, and organizational cultures.


Key concepts include:


  • Leaders and senior teams can take advantage of contrasting innovation modes, paradoxical organizational requirements, and associated dynamic boundaries.

.

  • Leaders need to execute strategic choices with the systems, structures, incentives, cultures, and boundaries tailored to open and firm-based innovation modes.
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  • Multiple types of boundaries will increasingly be employed to manage innovation, from traditional to complex intra firm boundaries (such as ambidextrous designs), to webs of interdependence with partners and potentially anonymous communities.
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  • Senior teams must build their capabilities to deal with contradictions as well as their organization's ability to embrance contradictions.  


A link to the full working paper, downloadable by Assistant Professor, Karim R. Lakhani & colleague is here.


Source:  Karim R. Lakhani is an assistant professor in the Technology and Operations Management unit at Harvard Business School.  


This link was also recommended by Jeffrey DeGraff at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and I also think it's right on, even if the language is quite academic.  It will make you think about your institutional systems, and refresh your vocabulary.    ~  Deb

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Leading Change: Three Major Misconceptions That Hinder Innovation

Leading Change: Three Major Misconceptions That Hinder Innovation | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Innovation has become vital for value creation. More than ever will it distinguish successful institutions from the less successful..."


Three fundamental misconceptions stick out.


1. Innovation is synonym for change:

Too often innovation and change initiatives are mixed up. Many change initiatives are actually improvement oriented and based on knowledge and examples that are already available in the marketplace (best practices, benchmarks, pilots), and are therefore not innovative.


Real innovation requires a company to go first, to go where no one has been before; to be a leader rather than a follower.


2. Innovation is a business goal as any other:

Research shows that successful innovation depends on the level of strategic alignment in the organization: alignment between the corporate strategy, the innovation strategy and the corporate culture (see a recent study in S+B on this). Innovation is therefore more fundamental.


It requires a specific innovation strategy and culture, based on:

  • a profound understanding of the external developments, 
  • how we adjust our strategy to it, 
  • in what part of the business (products, services, processes, systems) we need to innovate, 
  • how we use our qualities and competencies to create innovation, 
  • what competencies we are missing and need to develop, 
  • how we deal with trial & error and failure, 
  • how we will change the way we work in teams, 
  • how we will refocus resources.
=

3. An innovation culture is something you can copy from successful innovative companies:   Wrong, doing what others do is not innovating! You can learn lessons from others, but you will have to translate those to your own reality.

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, December 19, 2011 11:54 AM
Also from Deb: This is one of the better blog posts I've seen out there, especially highlighting specific differences between innovation strategy and change management. The list alone mirrors recent innovation consulting strategy in consulting organizations.
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Where is Your Anchor for Innovation? Be a Leader Not a Hero | Forbes

Where is Your Anchor for Innovation? Be a Leader Not a Hero | Forbes | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

“Managers want authority,” says Seth Godin, author, keynoter and entrepreneur.  “Leaders take responsibility.”

 

In entrepreneurship the comparison isn’t between managers and leaders. It is between leaders and heroes.

 

In the six years that I’ve been following, studying and supporting entrepreneurs, I’ve found that none are interested in being managers. That is counterintuitive to their innate passion and impatience to innovate.

 

...depending on where that passion and impatience to innovate is anchored, entrepreneurs can either be leaders or heroes.

 

Those that chose to become leaders are confidently tied to a vision, knowing, as Godin points out, “where they’d like to go” and understanding that “they can’t get there without their tribe.”

 

Those that are heroes, however, are caught up in the ego, convinced that without them no success can be achieved.

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