Fernando Fischmann

Becoming More Innovative In 2016: Innovation Resolutions

21 January, 2016 / Articles

Innovation is much easier to talk about, and to romanticize about, than to actually do. It requires both imagination and discipline, a combination that is far from ubiquitous. Yet, each of us should aspire to be change-agents in the organizations or communities in which we live. So, each year, at this time, I ask a number of innovative people, whose work I admire, to join me in suggesting some behavioral changes that they will resolve to try during the next 12 months. The question is simple: ‘What are you going to do this coming year to be more innovative?” The underlying argument is that innovative organizations deserve innovative leaders and members and if you’re not consciously thinking about how you might improve your own personal innovativeness, then you’re abdicating on an important managerial responsibility.

This is the fifth rendition of these resolutions (earlier resolutions can be found for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015). What follows is a thoughtful selection of relatively global and certainly ambitious good advice, all of which has one overall objective: to make us all more innovative in 2016!

Abhijit Bhaduri: Blogger, social media influencer and a creative thinker, Abhijit is the Chief Learning Officer of Wipro @AbhijitBhaduri

Innovations that get implemented and go viral are the ones that have stories that capture our imagination. Ideas travel faster when they ride on the wings of stories. This year I want to improve my storytelling skills by doing the following:

  1. a)      Take notes when innovators and entrepreneurs tell their stories
  2. b)      Improve visual storytelling skills by drawing something every day
  3. c)       Listen to podcasts of storytellers, marketeers & screen writers

Paul Hobcraft: founder and Principal of Agility Innovation, who writes underpaul4innovating, framing and discussing different issues around innovation’s understanding @Paul4Innovating

Stop being constantly inventive and just be innovative, using what you have got, not chasing rainbows. That’s where you might find real gold not fool’s gold constantly chasing.

Estelle Métayer: founder and Principal of Competia, former McKinsey consultant and educator, corporate director/board member, painter, pilot and trend-spotter @competia

“Create a “”third space”, somewhere between work and home, a special physical space with no interruption, and no diversion. Invite people from all walks of life for intense one on one discussions. Pay attention to people around me, be alert for out of pattern behaviours, learn from them. Log every day new ideas that came to mind to create a habit”.

Steve Denning: @Forbes contributor, author of The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management:   Reinventing the Workplace, formerly Program Director, Knowledge Management at the World Bank  @stevedenning

My “innovation resolution” for 2016 is to launch a second, even more successful, Learning Consortium for the Creative Economy.[The original, very successful, Learning Consortium includes: Microsoft, Ericsson, Riot Games and CHRobinson]

Haydn Shaughnessy: author of “Shift: a User’s Guide to the New Economy” and c0-founder of The Disruption House @Haydn1701

The big issue for innovation is really transformation and the only way to initiate that is to break down consensus. My resolution is to take on more conflict so I can break down consensus wherever I find it.

Shaun Coffey: experienced advisor, company director and Chief Executive of a variety of Australian, New Zealand & Indonesian private and public organizations  @ShaunCoffey

Fortune, as Louis Pasteur observed, favours the prepared mind.  In 2016 I want to schedule more time and space to think and engage in dialogue about emerging ideas, both mine and my clients.  I want to engage more in destructive criticism; that which pulls an idea apart and forces you to argue your case, or to rebuild the idea based on empirical experience and logic. Test ideas with people who have views or experience different to your own.  Reverse your goals, and ask questions not just in the positive, but also in the negative.  It is easy to ask questions like – what do we need to do to succeed? Imagine how much more you can “prepare the mind” by asking – what could “we” do to cause failure?  Focus on the things you can do, not on what others could do. Thinking people, with prepared minds and open to challenge, innovate, not organisations or countries.

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg: co-author of Innovation as Usual, Partner at The Innovation Architects & advisor to the venture development firm Prehype@thomaswedell

In brief, I’ve resolved to run three counter-intuitive experiments on my own behavior. I asked a good friend to point out areas that are ‘blind spots’ for me, and then I’ve decided try something new in that area that deliberately does not feel ‘natural’ to me. Doesn’t have to be a major thing as long as I actually get it done.

The bit about it being counter-intuitive/unnatural to me is key. Following your gut is generally fine, but (as you know) it also leads people to stay within the same spaces. For instance, I tend to approach everything intellectually, so even when I try new things, they tend to have an intellectual anchoring. So my friend challenged me to try new things in a much more non-cerebral space (eg. physical, emotional), in order to stray outside my usual academic playgrounds of the mind.

The underlying idea, of course, is to expose myself to more new things (a key factor for innovation) – and specifically to do so in ways/areas that yield a high return because they come at an angle to what I’d normally do.

Alex Osterwalder: Co-Founder of Strategyzer and lead author of Business Model Generation and Value Proposition Design; Thinker50 recipient for 2015  @alexosterwalder

For 2016 I have two innovation resolutions. The first one is to visualize the strategic alignment of each and every one of our innovation projects at Strategyzer. The entire team needs to constantly understand how our innovation portfolio maps back to our strategy and business model. We are implementing a new homegrown strategy visualization method to achieve that. The second resolution is to design, test, and implement a better innovation accounting system to measure if we are making progress with our innovation projects.

Josie Gibson:  a micro-entrepreneur and co-founder of The Catalyst Network, a unique community of high-impact individuals @JosieJosieg

‘After many years off the agenda, Australia’s new Prime Minister has made innovation a national priority. It’s a welcome shift, and now we must shake Australia out of its complacency.

In 2016 I want to do two things: build on my work creating new collaborative models to tackle some of business and society’s most complex opportunities, and identify the leadership attributes that enable innovation on a large scale. There’s surprisingly little empirical research on the leadership element. While we know it’s a critical factor in successful innovation, we don’t know much about the rare individuals — we call them Catalysts — who navigate complexity without effort and instinctively drive significant transformation in whatever sector, business or organisation they find themselves.

We’re conducting an international search for Catalysts in 2016 as part of a multi-year research program. This will enable us to develop scalable leadership development models better suited to volatile 21st century conditions.’

Sergio Monsalve: Silicon Valley VC — Partner, Norwest Venture Partners  (&, full-disclosure,  my son-in-law)   @VCSerge

“Whenever I do not deeply comprehend something I passionately care about, I will want to spend an extra minute or two to reflect and go much deeper into my knowledge of the subject … I want to take time to ask myself 5 “why’s” instead of just one or two.

I think intense curiosity is *the* most essential ingredient needed to enable true innovation.”

Chistian Dussey: Swiss Ambassador, Director of the Geneva Center for Security Policy @DusseyCH

As we face an unprecedented number of global challenges, we need more than ever to open ourselves to the wealth of untapped talents that surrounds us and that we fail to see;  especially youth, retirees, and refugees. This will not only be a personal resolution for this year but also a mind-set that will best serve our organization. If you want to be innovative, look around you first.

Ralph Christian-Ohr: Senior Consultant on Innovation Management with emphasis on energy, utilities and integrative innovation @ralph_ohr

For some time, I’ve been advising companies to become organizationally “ambidextrous” for sustainable competitiveness – i.e. to be capable of both exploiting and exploring. In the new year ahead, I will continue to spread the increasing importance of this concept. To become more innovative on the individual level in 2016 and beyond, I will also seek to increasingly make it part of my personal attitude: Exploit opportunities at hand and make an impact by leveraging existing capabilities. In parallel, identify and develop future opportunities to create value for others and yourself by exploring new ideas, fields and connections. This will require continuous development through learning, leaving the comfort zone, challenging the status quo, building new relationships and – occasionally – reinventing yourself.

Tim Kastelle:  Teacher of innovation management  at the University of QueenslandBusiness School  @TimKastelle

Focus on doing the things that only I can do, and delegate things that others can do. In particular, I’ve built some skill in building programs that help big organizations use lean startup methods to innovate, and I want to use that skill as much as possible throughout the year.

Bart Doorneweert: Value Chain Developer at LEI-Wageningen UR, and founder of Value Chain Generation @bartdoorneweert

Last year my personal innovation resolution was to create new partnerships to open up interesting opportunities. This worked out nicely! In 2015, I became co-founder of a new peer-to-peer entrepreneurship education initiative called Source Institute. Source gives me the humbling experience of working with a group of highly talented tech startup entrepreneurs, who dedicate part of their time to teaching.

Of course my research and teaching on partnerships through the PartnershipCanvas will be continued within Source, but my resolution for 2016 is to be mindful of uncharted terrain: that is where the opportunities reside. I intend to purposefully navigate Source Institute’s line-up of tech

entrepreneurship talent towards new shores, like curricular education at universities, and research on access and adoption of IT in emerging

economies. That way we can continue to empower unlikely founders in unlikely places to  achieve unlikely things!

Willem Smit: Assistant Professor of Marketing at Asia School of Business, International Faculty Fellow at MIT Sloan School of Management    @WillemSmit

My innovation resolution for 2016 is to make this year my most innovative ever. A bit unfair, because the odds of that to happen are extraordinarily great. It is my privilege to be part of the ASB startup team and to set up a new premier business school in one of the world’s growth regions, South East Asia. In the partnership between MIT Sloan and Malaysia’s central bank Bank Negara, we intend to create a new school that brings together very different ecosystems: inventors and regulators, innovation and finance, startups and institutions, Americas and Asia, developed and emerging economies. These totally different worlds together can only be an inexhaustible source of new ideas  – especially when these networks become united in their joint vision to establish an impactful MBA program, based on MIT’s Mens-et-Manus pedagogy, for Asia-ready change makers. In that vision, my innovation resolution is not only about identifying the ideas, but also channeling and co-creating these with parties which enhance the diversity of our ASB ecosystem.

Kevin Anselmo: Founder & Principal at Experimental Communications, Former Director of Public Relations for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and Host of FIR Higher Education podcast   @kevinanselmo

There is so much content out there and relying on my own expertise to further build my business will only take me so far. In 2016, I am making it a point to bring together ideas and individuals in new ways. First, I am going to launch my first Experiential Media Event on Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which will bring together entrepreneurs, academics, PR directors and media in person to network and learn. In addition, I will be introducing a new content theme centered around asking one question and soliciting responses from multiple individuals (similar to the format of this 2016 Innovation Resolutions piece). This new content theme would compliment my higher education communications podcast interview show.

Bill Fischer: Professor of Innovation Management, IMD   @bill_fischer

In order to talk innovation, I believe that you have to live innovatively. Empathetic thinking, openness & inclusiveness, experimentation and the like have to become a philosophy of life; ever-present attributes of how work is conducted. We need to demystify innovation and make it a verb — the way we work– rather than a noun — some department, function or group that is responsible for innovation. In fact, we must all become responsible for innovation in our organizations and communities. Last year, I started to emphasize sketch-noting and “working out loud” as elements to include in all of my activities. I will continue those, but also try to build  a broader portfolio of social media approaches to broaden the community with which I interact. I’m hoping to experiment more in the coming year with Periscope, podcasts and tweet chats as ways of doing this.



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