culture

Org Chart Kool Aid

Since Organizational theory is a hot topic these days, I thought I’d poke a bit of fun at that old corporate tradition that is the Organization Chart. Over the years I’ve seen every type of org chart in existence. Some have come and gone only to come again. Every year or two the latest revolutionary thinking in corporate organizational theory ...

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Culture Doesn't Trump Strategy

I was checking Twitter yesterday while getting ready to board my flight when a quote attributed to @zappos (Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos) came across my timeline. It read “Culture Trumps Strategy.” I did a double-take on this as it just didn’t resonate with me. Then my timeline started to get peppered with Retweets of this quote from some very ...

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Realistic Impossibilities

Being on the wrong end of the continuum between realistic and impossible is what plagues many of today’s large multi-national corporations. The fear of failure by employees who are only partially engaged and don’t entirely feel like valued members of the team, will always translate into goals and ideas that are mediocre and achievable and never ones that are innovative ...

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Creating Conditions for an Innovation Culture

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “creating a culture of innovation”, which is what a lot of firms suggest they want to do. Of course this is a very lofty goal. Changing a corporate culture doesn’t happen easily, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. Yet clearly one of the most significant barriers to innovation is the entrenched culture of ...

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Do you have a Corporate Innovation System?

Co-authored with Peter Skarzynski, CEO of Strategos, in close collaborationwith well-known strategy guru Gary Hamel, I believe that “Innovation to the Core” (Harvard Business School Press) is by far the most important thing I’ve ever done. Lots of people have been asking me for a synopsis of the book, so here goes… Could you describe your company’s “corporate innovation system”? ...

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The Paradox of Innovation from 30,000 Feet

It’s About the Journey, Not the Destination by Robert F. Brands In the C-suites of corporate America, innovation has become a mandate. Executives – from CEOs to marketing officers – believe that to innovate is to embrace the Holy Grail of 21st Century business. But is innovation alone the answer? Is the end – innovation – capable of surviving solely ...

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Detroit's Decline and Fall

In March 2008, British Airways discontinued its decades-old daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit. Not exactly world-shattering news, you might think. But BA’s decision was quite significant. They made it because passenger numbers had dwindled so pathetically low that the flights were no longer profitable. It’s just one of a whole kaleidoscope of symptoms that signaled the Motor City’s ...

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Does your Innovation have a story?

Imagine if you will, somewhere in the distant recesses of our existence, a group of cavemen huddled around a fire. The wiseman of the group gathers the tribe around the fire and regales them with stories of their ancestors – how they fought the neighboring tribes, how they found the food necessary to survive. The shaman passes on the wisdom ...

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Building an Innovation Engine in China

I recently made another trip to China. My purpose was to meet with innovation leaders in order to build further on my understanding of the Chinese innovation community and thus on my global perspectives on innovation. I had a couple of meetings and I did an improvised session at a company. Having met about 15 people and having spent 5 ...

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Developing an Innovation Culture (the TBX approach)

Having been involved in several efforts on developing the innovation culture within companies, I have learned that you need to work with three organizational approaches. I call this the TBX approach: T (Top Down) Get the executives onboard and make them personally committed to the innovation activities. Without executive support, no change occurs. B (Bottom Up) Value creation begins with ...

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