Category Archives: Leaders

Examples of how leaders can apply small wins to their team – everyday.

Why small wins innovation has a big impact

Why small wins innovation has a big impact
Innovation is important but … In my conversations with leaders over the years they all would agree that innovation is one of their top 3 priorities. Yet many of them were not doing anything innovative (they would say). Why the disconnect? in their quieter moments they admitted that innovation involved risk and failure and they were (not surprisingly) not excited about this prospect. This is why I developed Small Wins Innovation. My idea was to overcome this fear of failure and making ... Read more

Creating a win – win for your customer and you

Creating a win – win for your customer and you
I found this ad on the street in Paddington in Sydney near where I live. It’s a nice example of a win – win for a potential customer and the local community. The shopper gets free wi fi and the local shop keepers might obtain some incremental business. I like it also because it creates a shopping hub or destination where every local shop might benefit. Free WiFi is also a powerful example of the new expectation of customers or consumers. Read more

What’s the most important innovative behaviour?

What’s the most important innovative behaviour?
Recently I gave a workshop on creative thinking and innovation to a group of leaders of a well known brand in China. I was particularly keen to talk to the creative director and I asked him about his process for generating ideas or solving problems. He said he shut the door and waited for inspiration to strike. I was intrigued by this approach. It no doubt works for him but i felt that this is too passive. What if inspiration does not strike? I also find it too stressful. My suggestion is ... Read more

How to innovate – one small win at a time*

How to innovate – one small win at a time*
Disruptive innovation is everywhere it seems. There’s an ongoing fixation with the next Uber, Netflix, WhatsApp or Airbnb. Even perennial technology darlings such as Twitter or Facebook seem, well, so yesterday. It’s intoxicating, heady stuff as one technological change can seemingly transform an industry and lead to growth rates going through the roof. But for every game-changing success there are thousands of failures which are not so glamorous. The lesson therefore is to dream big but to ... Read more

What leaders can learn from the ballet

What leaders can learn from the ballet
We just spent a delightful evening at the ballet at the Lincoln Centre in New York. Not only was it an amazing experience but as I reflected on the performance I was struck with how much leaders could learn from this experience also. Here are a few: - The pursuit of excellence. There was nothing ordinary about this performance. The audience expected an was given a world-class show. Leaders — what are your standards? Are you building a world-class team? - The diversity of the group. ... Read more

How to annoy customers – it’s the small things

How to annoy customers – it’s the small things
Business owners have over the years improved their customer service. Rarely do you hear of the complete screw up. And if it does happen, most business leaders know how to handle these situations. But what I have noticed is that the customer experience battlefield is now the small things. Asking 2 or 3 times for a new fork for example. Or the key that does not work when you return to your hotel room. A friend just told me that a new cafe that just visited for the first time charged them $2 ... Read more

What leaders can learn from burnt toast

What leaders can learn from burnt toast
This is a story of burnt toast. Burnt toast you say! Yes I was having breakfast the other day at one of my favourite cafes and I asked for another slice of toast with my scrambled eggs. The friendly staff brought out the toast but it was burnt. Now I should have sent it back or said something. But like most other consumers or customers I did not make a fuss at the time but rather have decided to write a blog about my experience. You see, a slice of toast is a small thing. The cafe is ... Read more

The key to innovation – small steps

The key to innovation – small steps
We like to think of creativity and innovation as a breakthrough moment made by a special individual with amazing gifts. This may be true with artistic creativity. But in the world of organisations and business the truth is somewhat different. For a start, increasingly innovation is a team game. A new product is rarely the result of a lone individual working in a corner. More often it is the result of a team of diverse individuals that have harnessed their talents in pursuit of a collective ... Read more

The secret to innovative organisations

The secret to innovative organisations
Everyone wants to know the secret of innovative organisations. These organisations seem to be able to produce breakthrough new ideas and products — on demand. But how do these innovative organisations do it? My observation is this. They have more people innovating, more often. It’s that simple. Yet so hard. Think of a gym. What makes a vibrant gym? It’s the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the instructors and the gym equipment. But it’s also the number of ... Read more

Speed Thinking in Action

Speed Thinking in Action
I gave a talk yesterday at a conference on *Speed Thinking and it’s tool Ideas Blitz. Speed Thinking is an accelerated way of generating ideas and solving problems that can be used by individuals or small groups or teams. I developed this thinking system based on an insight. My observation working with managers and leaders was: ‘What stopped many people from being as creative or innovative as they could be was their own internal judging or self-limiting voice.’ I found ... Read more