Innovation is like Oxycontin

Lee VINSEL is an associate professor at Virgina Tech. He gently explains that innovation is like oxycontin in the academic field. And that when he’s pitching innovation to university administrators he does what consultants do when they try to part a customer from its money:

Terrifying them is even more important, though. When I am pitching administrators, I show them threatening charts of how fast cell phones diffused around the planet, which really has nothing to do with anything, and LOADS of curves representing exponential change — like Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World, schwing! — and then I start throwing in phrases like “digital transformation” and “the permanent disruption of college education,” (…)

His view on innovation programs and five-steps methodologies are quite articulate too:

you can pay Stanford $15,000 for a four-day Design Thinking bootcamp. Design Thinkers have never demonstrated persuasively that their quasi-mystical process leads to any especially significant outcomes, and many professional designers will tell you privately that they believe Design Thinking is a scam verging on fraud. After your Stanford bootcamp, you will leave the Bay Area half-a-new-car poorer, but — quite sadly, tragically even — you will still be you.

You know what? You should probably just read his full article here. And his other article on the design thinking fad is also not to be missed.

He’s also tweeting at @sts_news maybe you should also follow him. I know I am.

He’s my new hero.

China innovation now leads the planet, not California

Among other things, China innovation now leads the on-demand mobility revolution with more and more electric vehicles and… bikes.

on-demand mobility china
(Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2018)

While I was already forewarning my customers in luxury, automotive, energy and retail for years, this is now hopefully obvious for everyone.

The country size, the problems it faces with pollution and demography, the rapid growth of its economy, have all shaped it to be the most transformative force on the planet. Industries and startups that are still dreaming of California as THE innovation template are still looking in the rear mirror. 20 of the biggest internet companies by market capitalization are now in China, whilst only 11 are in the US (five years ago it was 2 versus 9). 

These next years will be both thrilling and quite challenging for westerners innovators.

Weak signals and innovation

Your innovation culture is as good as you are at holding two opinions at the same time on weak signals, until they are sorted out by the market. This implies that you monitor weak signals. This also implies you know how to form opinions about them and are not afraid of dissensus. It’s always a tall order.

You Can’t Just Decide To Be Customer Driven

I am very much surprised to see many analysts thinking serioulsy that Facebook facing a colossal data-gate, could turn around and suddenly become customer-driven. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Facebook will be Facebook. But to understand that you have to go past obvious solutionism (they should do this or that) and understand that any successful business was born with a powerful DNA.
And you can’t change your DNA.
Continue reading You Can’t Just Decide To Be Customer Driven

Interview – A digital intrapreneur breaking silos at Airbus

For this first in the series of interviews of Transformation Leaders, I interviewed, at Airbus’ Leadership University, Laurent Fradin, Digital Transformation Leader, from the newly created Digital Transformation Office at Airbus.

“[We got the] digital wave in our face… [let’s] surf the wave…”

He calls himself a “communication guy” and has been a digital pioneer bringing new audio visual technologies, intranet, website, client portals to Airbus Communication Department since the 80’s. For Laurent Fradin, digital is key to succeed in the next transformations of the business to support new ways of working, but it is in no way the “alfa and the omega”. According to him, and I couldn’t agree more, it is more about culture and mindset change than about the tools and technologies. And he says it quite clearly: “[it is] more an Airbus transformation powered by digital than digital transformation for the sake of digital”.

Continue reading Interview – A digital intrapreneur breaking silos at Airbus

Digital is Over for Europe, Now What?

I was presenting a keynote called “Digital Is Over” last week in France. The key discussion was that France (let’s say Europe at this point) had largely missed the digital revolution, but that this is not the end of the world. With just a big “IF”. It’s not the end of the world, if Europe faces the reality of digital markets dominated by US companies, if Europe stops pretending to have the most and the best startups on the planet, and a few other things…

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Mentoring by FabMob – download the white paper

As announced last month, the white paper Mentoring by FabMob (La Fabrique des Mobilités) an organisation aiming to facilitate learning and innovation for actors of the mobility sector, is finally available for all to download (those who read French anyway for now). Here is a short summary of key points. Continue reading Mentoring by FabMob – download the white paper

Transformation Leaders Interviews

In transforming an organisation, so it can evolve with its time, there is never a one-size-fits-all method or tool. Each transformation leader has to grasp many variables, from strategic intent to environmental context, from the company’s cultural aspects to original organisation’s DNA. Any impactful transformation starts with driven leaders within who understand and live the challenges of change, whilst being concerned by the necessity of strategic effectiveness. Each experience being a source of learning, I endeavour to share such transformative stories whether considered as successes or not, in order to inspire, teach, and develop leaders’ complexity intelligence.

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Corporate Culture and HR Strategic Role

A recent podcast about “How to fix your company’s culture” grabbed my attention because it illustrates how rarely big corporations actually work on their culture. Although, I would say the “fixing” entails something is broken and I wouldn’t say that corporate culture could be broken. It might be mismatched with its environment or within itself (vision and values are not aligned with behaviors), or worse, your culture might just have faded away…

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