Creating Generational Legacies

Monday, May 25, 2015

Innovation needs conflict and discomfort

"The rhetoric of innovation is often about fun and creativity, but the reality is that innovation can be very taxing and uncomfortable" claims HBR article entitled "Collective Genius" June 2014.
In my business experience, innovation is only possible when everyone in the team is prepared to share their divergent thinking - without fear of judgement, labelling or future retribution.
The essential elements are trust and the preparedness to initiate challenging conversations while also being prepared to "be" challenged. This type of interaction can get very messy which is why constructive and courageous leadership is essential as is an agreed terms of engagement - focussed on the people and the task.
Expect conflict, expect to be challenged, expect your heart to pound as you initiate a challenging conversation - expect discomfort - as everyone is encouraged to shift into their learning zone. Without this we don't innovate!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


There are a number of companies now working to 3-D print food.  The goal is a home meat printer—what kind of meat would you like tonight?  This would make a large positive impact on the environment.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Playing to our Strengths

Catherine Livingstone talks to Tony Malkovich on The need for a 10 year plan

Australia needs to focus on building an implementing a 10 year plan - to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that are on offer says President of the Business Council of Australia -  Catherine Livingstone

4 Focus Points 
We need to focus on the following:- 
1. Shore up free trade agreements 
2. Improving our competitiveness
3. Reigning in the budget deficit (not sure about this one?)
4. Focus on Entrepreneurship and Innovaton 

3 mega trends 
3 mega trends are happening over the next 10 years in Australia that we need to focus on:- 

1. Ageing population
2. Globalisation 
3. All pervasive digital technology in our business and lives 

5 Growth Areas
AUSTRALIA has identified 5 areas in its industry growth centre initiative
1. Advanced manufacturing
2. Food and agribusiness
3. Medical technologies and pharma
4. Mining equipment technology and services
5. Oil , gas and resources 

Where government will encourage deregulation, skills, collaboration and commercialisation.

We need to expand VET (vocational education and training ) to upskill the workforce . There is a serious skills gap at the moment due to lack of funding - this needs to be addressed.

Risk taking , entrepreneurship and innovation  should be encouraged , supported and invested in.
The way we do things now is completely different to what they will be in the future. Current jobs will be made redundant through robotics and new jobs will emerge. We need to be ready to embrace this change.

Collaborative  infrastructure
Needs to be developed and nurtured . 

We need to roll up our sleeves , rethink and reshape our economy - the future wealth and wellbeing is dependent on it! 

About Catherine Livingstone 
Catherine Livingstone is a Chartered Accountant , former CEO of Cochlear and a former chair of CSIRO. She is currently the Chair of Telstra and a Director of Worley Parsons . Catherine is the president of the Business Council of Australia, and in 2008, was awarded an OA for her services for the development of Australian science, technology and innovation to business 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The fundamentals work - look at SIngapore

Innovation Guru Curt Carlson suggests we take a leaf out of Singapores book:-

"I just came back from Singapore where I work with the government.

They take a “different” approach and they are doing fine.

They actually do nothing that would be surprising  they just stick to the fundamentals of innovation, economics, and business and work to continuously improve.

And guess what, it works.

Pretty good for a country that was in poverty 40 years ago without any significant infrastructure and now has a PPP GDP per capita 20-30% above USA. And this with no water, resources, agriculture, energy, hardly any land, and many enemies. 

They do have a port, but they had to develop that too. They are not us, but we can learn a lot from them. The fundamentals work."

Curtis R. Carlson, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO, Practice of Innovation
Former President and CEO of SRI International, 1998-2014

Our Story in 2 Minutes

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Engelbart's Law

Before there was a Moore's Law, Doug Engelbart predicted the following -- call it "Engelbart's Law":

  1. digital technology would became increasingly miniaturized and affordable, 

  2. its injection into all levels of business and society would become increasingly widespread and rapid

  3. this would cause a disruptive ripple effect in society like never before seen -- on a scale more massive than the introduction of fire, written language, agriculture, bronze, printing press and industry combined, all in a significantly compressed timeframe -- shifting us onto an unsustainable trajectory where important challenges are becoming increasingly complex and urgent, with potentially disastrous consequences to humanity and the planet if this phenomenon is not well understood and adequately addressed 

  4. our organizations and institutions, which steer the boat we are all on, are trying to get smarter and faster to stay ahead of the curve; however the vast majority are severely underestimating the magnitude and speed of the curve, and thus are aiming too low, too slow; meanwhile the stakes keep getting higher

  5. it is no longer an option to get incrementally smarter and faster; organizations must become exponentially more intelligent and agile, using successive gains in Collective IQ to accelerate progress toward that goal; those that lag will be rendered increasingly ineffective

The bottom line? Organizations need to double their Collective IQ, and double it again, and again, faster and faster... Our collective objective is to create brilliant organizations, and through them brilliant societies, and evenually, a brilliant world.

How? By adopting a strategy specifically designed for this. Based on his predictions, Doug Engelbart designed such a strategy, first documented and tested in his lab in the early 1960s. As far as we know, it is still the only one in existence. He called it a Bootstrapping Strategy, for bootstrapping our Collective IQ. 

Engelbart stumbled on this important set of discoveries as part of a larger study on how to facilitate the transformation of organizations to be become more effective at perceiving and addressing important problems collectively in a climate of accelerating change. He recognized that organizations would be entering a new frontier that would demand higher and higher collective intelligence in a compressed timeframe. Otherwise our organizations and institutions which shape society would become increasingly less effective. 

Engelbart surmised that it is not simply desirable or important for organizations to jump this curve, it is imperative to our survival as a human race and a planet.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Old Work New Work

Brilliant Article by Esko Kilpi

Industrial firms have given us remarkable material well being over the last few centuries, but are increasingly being criticized for not being suited to handling the needs of today. Organizations need to excel in innovation. Companies need to meet new demands for change and need to embrace uncertainty.
The industrial approach to management places a heavy emphasis on the formulation of plans and intentions and then communicating them as actions to be executed by the organization. The belief is that managers can make useful forecasts and set goals. Their daily responsibility is then to monitor activities to identify gaps between the goals and actual outcomes so that the gaps can be closed. Uncertainty plays a minor role. Managers know what is going on.
Every business is a set of assumptions that are taken as given, thus reducing the perceived uncertainty and psychological anxiety. The whole plan–execute cycle is a process designed to prove assumptions correct. The closer you are to the budget, the better it is. But assumptions are never totally right; often not totally wrong either. Accordingly, it is quite seldom that ideas are turned into a successful business in just the way described in the business plan. Things change.
In conditions of rapid technological change and uncertainty, there has to be a systematic process indicating new opportunities as they emerge. What new possibilities have become visible making our present assumptions outdated? This is much more important than forecasting or planning. It is about asking questions, testing the assumptions continuously and signaling which are helpful and which are not. The new cycle is a process designed to prove assumptions wrong.
The task is not the reduction of uncertainty but to develop the capacity to operate creatively within it. Some of the most creative startups have even gone so far as to take a “let’s just do cool things and see what happens” approach, trying to avoid traditional governance systems. The plan-execute cycle turns into a question-answer cycle: “What is the problem we try to solve? How can people participate in testing the validity of our thinking and in such a way that things continuously develop and change over time?”
The strategic focus is an ongoing movement that is open-ended, and always incomplete. The strategic logic is temporal rather than spatial. When following a spatial metaphor, there is a territory that can be explored and understood, but here the territory is seen as being under continuous development and formation by the exploration itself. “It is impossible to map an area that changes with every step the explorer takes.” People inhabit a world of emergence, uncertainty and complex change. Ilya Prigogine wrote in his book “The End of Certainty” that the future is not given, but under perpetual construction: “Life is about unpredictable novelty where the possible is always richer than the real.”

The entrepreneurial experience of work is very different from the industrial experience. It is about acting into the unknown, not necessarily working towards a goal. It is about creating the future together, not about reductionist separations and job descriptions. It is more about improvising together than clear roles and scripts. It is more about emergence than rational causality. By linking improvisation to a community, like in theatrical improvisation, we get to what is in fact happening in creative work. All of us with our differing intentions, hopes and values, are acting in corporate plays. We are self-organizing in shifting social configurations in the responsive interplay of different players.

In creative work, we are fellow-improvisers in corporate ensembles constantly constructing the future and our part in what is happening in interaction. The idea of improvisation is often associated with notions of unrehearsed, unintentional action. However, the more skilled the players are, the better they can improvise. The better people have planned, the more flexible the organization can be. The more intensely people are present, the more reflexive and responsive they can be.
The Internet, technological intelligence and new sensor technologies are creating a real time company. The most important outcome is that we can focus attention on what we are doing and learning in the present rather than on what we intend to do in the future.
The best way to be future-proof is to be more responsively present in the present moment.