GCSP Director Amb. Christian Dussey offers insight on innovation and discovery in 2016
Becoming More Innovative In 2016: Innovation Resolutions
Innovation is much easier to talk about, and to romanticize about, than to actually do. It requires both imagination and discipline, a combination that is far from ubiquitous. Yet, each of us should aspire to be change-agents in the organizations or communities in which we live. So, each year, at this time, I ask a number of innovative people, whose work I admire, to join me in suggesting some behavioral changes that they will resolve to try during the next 12 months. The question is simple: ‘What are you going to do this coming year to be more innovative?” The underlying argument is that innovative organizations deserve innovative leaders and members and if you’re not consciously thinking about how you might improve your own personal innovativeness, then you’re abdicating on an important managerial responsibility.
This is the fifth rendition of these resolutions (earlier resolutions can be found for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015). What follows is a thoughtful selection of relatively global and certainly ambitious good advice, all of which has one overall objective: to make us all more innovative in 2016!
As we face an unprecedented number of global challenges, we need more than ever to open ourselves to the wealth of untapped talents that surrounds us and that we fail to see.
- GCSP Director, Amb. Christian Dussey
Abhijit Bhaduri: Blogger, social media influencer and a creative thinker, Abhijit is the Chief Learning Officer of Wipro @AbhijitBhaduri
Innovations that get implemented and go viral are the ones that have stories that capture our imagination. Ideas travel faster when they ride on the wings of stories. This year I want to improve my storytelling skills by doing the following:
a) Take notes when innovators and entrepreneurs tell their stories
b) Improve visual storytelling skills by drawing something every day
c) Listen to podcasts of storytellers, marketeers & screen writers
Paul Hobcraft: founder and Principal of Agility Innovation, who writes under paul4innovating, framing and discussing different issues around innovation’s understanding @Paul4Innovating
Stop being constantly inventive and just be innovative, using what you have got, not chasing rainbows. That’s where you might find real gold not fool’s gold constantly chasing.
Estelle Métayer: founder and Principal of Competia, former McKinsey consultant and educator, corporate director/board member, painter, pilot and trend-spotter @competia
“Create a “”third space”, somewhere between work and home, a special physical space with no interruption, and no diversion. Invite people from all walks of life for intense one on one discussions. Pay attention to people around me, be alert for out of pattern behaviours, learn from them. Log every day new ideas that came to mind to create a habit”.
My “innovation resolution” for 2016 is to launch a second, even more successful, Learning Consortium for the Creative Economy.[The original, very successful, Learning Consortium includes: Microsoft, Ericsson, Riot Games and CHRobinson]
Haydn Shaughnessy: author of “Shift: a User’s Guide to the New Economy” and c0-founder of The Disruption House @Haydn1701
The big issue for innovation is really transformation and the only way to initiate that is to break down consensus. My resolution is to take on more conflict so I can break down consensus wherever I find it.
Shaun Coffey: experienced advisor, company director and Chief Executive of a variety of Australian, New Zealand & Indonesian private and public organizations @ShaunCoffey
Fortune, as Louis Pasteur observed, favours the prepared mind. In 2016 I want to schedule more time and space to think and engage in dialogue about emerging ideas, both mine and my clients. I want to engage more in destructive criticism; that which pulls an idea apart and forces you to argue your case, or to rebuild the idea based on empirical experience and logic. Test ideas with people who have views or experience different to your own. Reverse your goals, and ask questions not just in the positive, but also in the negative. It is easy to ask questions like – what do we need to do to succeed? Imagine how much more you can “prepare the mind” by asking – what could “we” do to cause failure? Focus on the things you can do, not on what others could do. Thinking people, with prepared minds and open to challenge, innovate, not organisations or countries.
In brief, I’ve resolved to run three counter-intuitive experiments on my own behavior. I asked a good friend to point out areas that are ‘blind spots’ for me, and then I’ve decided try something new in that area that deliberately does not feel ‘natural’ to me. Doesn’t have to be a major thing as long as I actually get it done.
The bit about it being counter-intuitive/unnatural to me is key. Following your gut is generally fine, but (as you know) it also leads people to stay within the same spaces. For instance, I tend to approach everything intellectually, so even when I try new things, they tend to have an intellectual anchoring. So my friend challenged me to try new things in a much more non-cerebral space (eg. physical, emotional), in order to stray outside my usual academic playgrounds of the mind.
The underlying idea, of course, is to expose myself to more new things (a key factor for innovation) – and specifically to do so in ways/areas that yield a high return because they come at an angle to what I’d normally do.
Alex Osterwalder: Co-Founder of Strategyzer and lead author of Business Model Generation and Value Proposition Design; Thinker50 recipient for 2015 @alexosterwalder
For 2016 I have two innovation resolutions. The first one is to visualize the strategic alignment of each and every one of our innovation projects at Strategyzer. The entire team needs to constantly understand how our innovation portfolio maps back to our strategy and business model. We are implementing a new homegrown strategy visualization method to achieve that. The second resolution is to design, test, and implement a better innovation accounting system to measure if we are making progress with our innovation projects.
Josie Gibson: a micro-entrepreneur and co-founder of The Catalyst Network, a unique community of high-impact individuals @JosieJosieg
‘After many years off the agenda, Australia’s new Prime Minister has made innovation a national priority. It’s a welcome shift, and now we must shake Australia out of its complacency.
In 2016 I want to do two things: build on my work creating new collaborative models to tackle some of business and society’s most complex opportunities, and identify the leadership attributes that enable innovation on a large scale. There’s surprisingly little empirical research on the leadership element. While we know it’s a critical factor in successful innovation, we don’t know much about the rare individuals — we call them Catalysts — who navigate complexity without effort and instinctively drive significant transformation in whatever sector, business or organisation they find themselves.
We’re conducting an international search for Catalysts in 2016 as part of a multi-year research program. This will enable us to develop scalable leadership development models better suited to volatile 21st century conditions.’
Sergio Monsalve: Silicon Valley VC — Partner, Norwest Venture Partners (&, full-disclosure, my son-in-law) @VCSerge
“Whenever I do not deeply comprehend something I passionately care about, I will want to spend an extra minute or two to reflect and go much deeper into my knowledge of the subject … I want to take time to ask myself 5 “why’s” instead of just one or two.
I think intense curiosity is *the* most essential ingredient needed to enable true innovation.”
Christian Dussey: Swiss Ambassador, Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy @DusseyCH
As we face an unprecedented number of global challenges, we need more than ever to open ourselves to the wealth of untapped talents that surrounds us and that we fail to see; especially youth, retirees, and refugees. This will not only be a personal resolution for this year but also a mind-set that will best serve our organisation. If you want to be innovative, look around you first.
Ralph Christian-Ohr: Senior Consultant on Innovation Management with emphasis on energy, utilities and integrative innovation @ralph_ohr
For some time, I’ve been advising companies to become organizationally “ambidextrous” for sustainable competitiveness – i.e. to be capable of both exploiting and exploring. In the new year ahead, I will continue to spread the increasing importance of this concept. To become more innovative on the individual level in 2016 and beyond, I will also seek to increasingly make it part of my personal attitude: Exploit opportunities at hand and make an impact by leveraging existing capabilities. In parallel, identify and develop future opportunities to create value for others and yourself by exploring new ideas, fields and connections. This will require continuous development through learning, leaving the comfort zone, challenging the status quo, building new relationships and – occasionally – reinventing yourself.