The other day I asked Mike (a pseudonym) , a mid-career manager “How’s it going?” He replied with quite a tirade.
The essence was that while on holiday, he’d had the space to think about the underlying causes of problems he spent his working days battling with. He had just written (but thankfully not yet sent) a steaming email to his boss demanding that the problems were fixed, or he’d leave. We discussed the issue (basically, a chaotic production department run by an increasingly alcoholic manager producing defective products that upset Mike’s customers) and came up with a constructive solution that he could propose to his boss.
This is of course the holiday season, and I find it interesting how common it is for people to return from holiday having had important creative insights into their careers or problems at work. Continue reading Natural creativity.
The other day I was helping develop some future scenarios, set in 15 years time, envisaging some of the surprising business consequences of the clean-tech energy transition.
Envisaging future scenarios is something I love doing, and I find it really quite easy. It always surprises me that some people find it very hard, because it is an important skill, and one that can be developed. Continue reading That Vision Thing
As the UK embarks on the complicated process of negotiating itself out of the EU, I found myself reflecting about the parallels with innovation.
Many R&D managers will recognise the feeling of being asked to achieve a complex multifaceted project with an apparently impossible timescale and distracting internal politics, while being under-resourced and under huge pressure to “just get on with it”. Continue reading Brexit as Innovation
By 5th May 2017 our rather bizarre devolved region of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will have an elected Mayor. This extends from near Royston in the South up through Fenland to a bit north of Wisbech, and from a bit past Newmarket in the East (but not of course including Newmarket) to near Thrapston in the West.
It’s hardly a coherent geographical region. I, like most people round here, was initially pretty unconvinced that we needed another layer of government, but our councils voted for it, and so now we need to make the best of it.
One of the important areas where the Mayor could make a difference is in the whole area of the environment, climate change and sustainability. Continue reading The Power of a Mayor
Over the last few months I’ve been involved with several organisations exploring the way disruptive innovation is transforming the ways we get around. Continue reading The way ahead
Brainstorming is a 15 minute podcast of a conversation on brainstorming between Anne Miller and Ieva Martinaityte, Creativity Researcher at the University of East Anglia. It discusses the brainstorming rules, the role of the facilitator and various tools and techniques you can use to achieve a good result.
It should be very useful if you need to facilitate a creative workshop.
This is a fictional scenario, but everything described is a plausible possibility, particularly in the light of President Trump’s election in the USA. It is not a prediction (the future is too unpredictable for that) but aims to stimulate creative thinking by policy makers, business and NGOs. Continue reading A post-Trumpian cautionary scenario
As I write, it’s been a good month for global environmental agreements. First, the Paris Agreement was ratified and so entered into force on 4 November 2016. Although some environmentalists will rightly say that it’s currently inadequate, it is an extremely significant step forward. This is because it’s setting a very clear signal about the direction of travel, and smart businesses are very good at responding to this. Trillions of $ of investment are starting to flow in new directions, and many companies are investing for the new reality, significantly ahead of governments and regulators. Continue reading Cool technology
Probably the best known ideation technique of all is brainstorming. In this, a group of around 6-12 people get together to develop new ideas, guided by a facilitator and a few basic rules. These rules can be summarised as
- build on previous ideas,
- encourage wild ideas,
- go for quantity,
- no negativity.
Continue reading To brainstorm, or not to brainstorm?
The world can seem an uncertain, dangerous place at the moment. As I write, the consequences of the Brexit vote are still uncertain in a wide range of fields. The Labour party is in turmoil, Syria is in rather worse turmoil, terrorism continues, climate change continues, and we look with incredulity at the prospect of a Trump presidency. Continue reading Voyaging into an uncertain future.