As business leaders speak of the “Human Age” and claim that capitalism is being replaced by “talentism” -- defined as access to talent as a key resource and differentiator -- many companies have embarked on initiatives to “unleash their human potential.” Those are big words and noble ambitions, and naturally they seem worth striving for. But as one of the hosts of a hackathon in San Francisco this weekend, which invites developers, designers, and other creative minds to “reinvent business,” I have been wondering: What is a “human” business, anyway?
Blog The Editor's Notebook
This week's collection of remarkable marketing links, curated by the frog marketing team.
How Creativity Works: It's All In Your Imagination.
Blog Innovation Leadership
Despite the many case studies and op-eds you might read on the importance of "innovation" as a strategy, in real life many businesses are struggling to be innovative. It doesn't mean that they can't come up with enough new ideas or that they don't have creative people on staff. Instead, executives might find that they cannot implement innovation within their company's structure, or that they get bogged down by distractions that only seem to be taking them on the path to inventions that are timely--and potentially profitable.
In addition, many of the barriers to corporate innovation are forces that are much bigger than internal ones. These hurdles range from the economic challenges in Europe; entire industries dying or at least experiencing troubling states of transition (print and television media, for example, or investment banking); and the shifts in global financial power that are taking place (the rise of China and India, among other "emerging" markets).
But perhaps the biggest dilemma that businesses face when it comes to innovation is that the concept of "innovation" itself must be constantly re-thought to remain relevant. Look at GE's recently released Global Innovation Barometer, a global study that surveyed nearly 3,000 senior executives in 22 nations around the world. Ninety-two percent of respondents said innovation is "the main ingredient for a more competitive national economy" and 86 percent said that "innovation is the best way to create jobs" in their countries. Not surprising. But then another strong statistic emerges: Eighty-eight percent said that companies will innovate in ways that are "totally different than ever before" in the 21st century.
In light of the Arab Spring and the rise of India and China, and propelled by social technologies, the concept of ‘soft power’ (the phrase was coined by Joseph Nye in his 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power; defined as “the ability to obtain what one wants through co-option and attraction”) is ever more relevant. Or, in marketing terms, Push is out, Pull is in. If an idea, aspiration, product, goal, ideology, culture, narrative, or national identity is attractive to its constituents, it minimizes the need for constant reinforcement and regulation – whether that is advertising, promotions, and other persuasive efforts, or bureaucracy, command-and-control, and coercion. Pull is powerful (as John Hagel illustrates in his riveting book The Power of Pull). It has a lot of Pull (pun intended) because one doesn’t have to push. It saves energy that can be invested otherwise, for example, in whatever “it” is that creates Pull. No surprise then that individuals, organizations, societies, and entire nations wish they could rely on it more.
The week's collection of remarkable links curated by the frog marketing team.
Holiday shopping on a budget? Wired's 5 Best Toys of All Time.
What are the top 10 most searched terms on Google?
The top news of 2011, from the Occupy Wall Street movement to the royal wedding, reenacted as Legos.
Blog frogs on the road
You're never too old to make your mind agile, flexible, self-aware, and able to see patterns and connections that more rigid minds miss.
Javier Hans is on a mission to change how the world's youth think about creativity and innovation. At nine, he founded Inventors Without Borders. At 15, he was the winner and youngest entrant of the Invent Your World Challenge sponsored by Ashoka. Most recently, Javier spoke at TEDx Taipei, where he unveiled his immersive role-playing game, Inventors Village.
The logical, deductive approach to problem solving that we are all taught is not always the best for trying to create breakthrough ideas. In fact it can be positively counter-productive. You often need to be "illogical," non-linear, and put the cart before the horse (that is, have the idea before you know why it's valuable) to help get things rolling.
Instead of searching for creativity, we should be fostering it in people we already work with—and redefining what it is.
Bruce Nussbaum was right to close the book on Design Thinking. It is time to move on. Business never really got the message. What businesses continue to care about is innovation. While designers may think that innovation requires Design Thinking, that was an idea that never really stuck in the executive suite. Is “creativity” any different? Most executives will acknowledge that innovation requires some form of creativity. But creativity brings its own baggage.