Tuesday, October 27, 2009


In the book ‘Old Masters and Young Geniuses’ by David Galenson there are two types of innovators researched. His analysis of the life cycles of creativity has considered painters, sculptors, poets, novelists and movie directors.

It appears that creativity is not the exclusive domain of either theorists or empirists, nor are major innovations made exclusively by the young or old.

Conceptual innovators  work deductively. They are most often the young geniuses, who revolutionize their disciplines early in their careers. Conceptual innovators state their ideas or emotions, often summarily and without hesitation.
The central elements of conceptual innovators’ major contributions often arrive in brief moments of inspiration, and they can often be recorded and communicated quickly. A fundamental characteristic of conceptual innovators is certainty; most have great confidence in the validity and significance of their contributions, and this allows them to put forward dramatic new works early in their careers in spite of their knowledge that most practioners of their disciplines will be hostile to their new ideas.

Experimental innovators work inductively. They are the old masters, whose greatest achievements usually arrive late in their lives. Experimental innovators think of their careers as an extended process of searching for the elusive means of understanding and expressing their perceptions.
Their major contributions typically involve superb craftsmanship, the result of painstaking effort and experience acquired over the course of long careers. Even their major works are not generally intended as definitive statements, but are provisional, subject to later modification or further development, reflecting their author’s lack of certainty in their accomplishment. Uncertainty is perhaps the most common characteristic of great experimental innovators.

A basic result that has emerged from this research is the recognition that both conceptual and experimental innovations have played an enormous role in the modern history of each of the artistic activities that have been studied.
It implies that aptitude and ambition are more important factors in allowing people to make contributions to a chosen discipline than the ability to think and work in a particular way, either deductively or inductively.

So, what kind of innovator are you?!


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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It looks like the gap, the divide is getting bigger instead of getting smaller.
Which gap? Well, between on one hand the Corporate leaders and managers who are not open to change, who continue to do business as they have done for many years now and on the other hand mostly the consultants, bloggers and entrepreneurs who know that the 21st century requires a new way of doing business.

So, what is needed are bridge builders. People who can bridge the gap and thus connect the merits of both approaches.
What is needed to be a great bridge builder?

-       Focus on the strengths of both ways of doing business
-       Communicate in a simple and clear way
-       Explain the respective benefits
-       Listen open minded
-       Speak both ‘languages’
-       Look for the commonalities instead of for the differences
-       Help to build new cultures and behaviors
-       Be the examples

Bridge builders are not a nice to have, they are urgently needed to close the gap in the Corporate world.
Are you volunteering to be a bridge builder?



Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Most recruiting companies list in their job requirements exactly what experience the candidate should bring. They prefer to hire someone who has done exactly the same job in another company, but in the same industry.
They think that they play it safe in this way. When there is a fit, they think that there is hardly any risk, as the person has done that particular job before.

However, this practice stimulates conformity and averageness. Once the new hire understands the way of working in his or her new company, they will quickly become complacent, risk avoiding and bored. There is no trigger to learn and develop new skills and knowledge. Also that person will not initiate complete new points of view.
So, there is no professional as well as personal growth, both for the individual and for the company.

This very competitive market requires another attitude. You need to differentiate your company to get and maintain customers. There is already too much averageness in the world, so you need to distinguish yourself! And what is the best and only way to do this? To have great people who awe your customers. These people have to grow continuously and like it as well.

This means that you have to hire people who have the skills, qualities and motivation to grow into the job. Preferably they should have a different background. It is more important that they are eager to learn, willing to take risks and are excited about the opportunity.

Growth has to be the essence of your company. Growing your people is the only way to do this. So, hire people who love to grow and learn. Go for awesomeness! 


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


 On one hand it is clear that changes are speeding up, in business, technology, the market, legislation, demographics and so on. It is a challenge to keep up to date with all these new developments.
On the other hand there is an increased focus on the inner workings of an organization. Most of the attention is directed towards restructuring, lay-offs and financial survival.

This paradox creates even more challenges and thus tension. The more you focus internally, the more you miss threats as well as opportunities in the marketplace. Your internal, operational focus widens the gap with the frontrunners in your industry.

If you want to be a frontrunner yourself, you have to make sure that your organization learns continuously from these external trends. And then you have to adapt yourself to these new learnings and conditions. Therefore it is crucial to build a team of explorers, who continuously monitor the market and propose changes for the internal way of working.

It is likely that these explorers will be a part of marketing. And you need a culture of engagement and learning. To get a culture of engagement and learning, you need diversity, conflict and agility in your team (Linda Hill, Harvard).

These explorers should be facilitated to:
-       attend seminars and workshops, within and outside your industry
-       give lectures, internal and external
-       form partnerships with government, universities and NGO’s
-       read books, blogs, research reports etc
-       fully use social media
-       network, cross-functionally and cross-industries
-       visit leading, state of the art companies
-       run internal brainstorm sessions
-       translate external learnings into internal changes

This investment will allow you to close the gap with the frontrunners in your industry and even makes it possible to become number 1!

So, what are you doing to support the explorers?