The Key: How Corporations Succeed by Solving the World’s Toughest Problems – Lynda Gratton

This book did something to me. I meant to write about it for some weeks now and I couldn’t as I was not sure how to start and what it really had meant to me. Lynda describes organisations from their core to the far outreach of their network. The Key she is talking about has everything to do with people management. From building inner resilience to making sure the community and your production chain are a part of the network used by the organisation. Not an ordinary approach to innovation. Yes, innovation starts with allowing people to move beyond the boundaries of the office into the field and let people in from the outside. 

Innovation is a term that is almost used too much. Is it about change, new things or are we talking about great inventions. I prefer the definition: the process of doing new or old things in new ways. The reason I like this definition is that it is process driven and it is more than a tangible outcome. When it comes to enhancing innovation at the workfloor I believe strongly in the approach Gratton proposes. I just wonder if all the great examples she gives also have a darker side we do not hear about and if you go out or make your boundaries transparant, what should you have build within the organisation to allow integration? Good food for thought. 

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Ian Dodds, lecture

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Consultancy in Diversity and Inclusion, a lecture from Ian Dodds (founder of Ian Dodds consultancy

A couple of days ago I proposed to write an essay about the influence of cultural diversity in organisations when designing services and innovations. You can imagine how delighted I was to hear that we would get a 5 hour class about creating the right setting of diversity in a company: inclusion. My excitement was answered, Ian told with passion about the successes he has created in various companies. Not just the stories but also how he did that and how he showed managers what was lacking in their company. 

Diversity has not only to do with ethnical or gender differences, there are more layers of diversity that set a tone for a company. Also we focus a lot on how different we are although you might want to built on each others’ similarities. I agreed with most of what Ian proposed. But the top-down implementation makes me hesitate to say it would still work nowadays. I think that many company organisations and people are changing to a more horizontal approach of innovation. If I can use the words of Jan Rotmans, professor in transitions, I would say: our time is about exchange and sharing in all directions, we don’t trust the top-down messages as much as we used to. We are in a change of times in these decades, finding out how our new system will look.