Monday, November 5, 2012

Innovating Innovation Challenge Summary and Global Leadership

Every week, we publish an exciting summary of the best articles, videos, events, and posts that relate to innovative management. This week, check out these summaries of 18 GREAT articles that inspire better management. Enjoy!

HBR/McKinsey M-Prize: Innovating Innovation Challenge

In the creative economy, innovation is more important than ever. Innovation is the only insurance against irrelevance.  It’s the only antidote to margin-crushing competition, the only hope for out-performing a dismal economy, and the only way to truly amaze your customers.  Innovation—in operations, products, business models and ecosystems—isn’t merely a competitive advantage, it’s the competitive advantage. 

With the Innovating Innovation Challenge, we’re looking for examples and ideas that will help us how build innovation into the woof and warp of our organizations.  While there aren’t many businesses that have yet made innovation a true core competence, we can, with your help, build a composite picture of how every element of a company’s management model can be retooled to make it innovation-friendly.   While no one organization has put all the pieces of the innovation puzzle together, we should be able to assemble all of the pieces in one place—via this M-Prize challenge.  In doing so, we’ll give managers around the world the chance to identify the missing pieces in their own innovation programs, and to learn from companies that may have found a piece they’re still looking for.

Skype for Peace

Do you think technology can bring positive change to the world? At Skype, we're driven by the notion that our work makes the lives of our users better by helping make communication as easy and accessible to everyone as possible.

This idea is backed by our strong feeling that it's important to seek new ways to give back to both our users and the local communities we're a part of. For the past three years, we've contributed by providing Skype technology and instruction on how to use it to organizations focused on education, world peace efforts and humanitarian aid.

7 Key Habits of Super Networkers

Effective networking isn't a result of luck -- it requires hard work and persistence. What does it take to be a super networker? Here are seven of the most important habits to develop:
  1. Ask insightful questions.
  2. Add value.
  3. Learn their 'story.'
  4. Share a memorable fact.
  5. Keep a list.
  6. Make small promises and keep them.
  7. Reward your 'power' contacts.

Beam Me to My Meeting

European scientists have integrated robotics, video, and various sensor and display technologies to transport someone into a geographically distant meeting room under the auspices of the Beaming through augmented media for natural networked gatherings (Beaming) project. The European Union-funded effort utilizes immersive virtual reality technologies in which a robotic avatar functions as the meeting participant's eyes, ears, and mouth. The participant wears a head-mounted display and is connected to sensors, enabling them to receive the avatar's video and audio feeds in three dimensions. The two-way connection also enables the participant's movements and responses to be mimicked by the robot. A key challenge for the Beaming collaborators has been development of the system's framework data architecture, which defines how all the visual, audio, motion, and pressure data is packaged and relayed between the participant and their remote environment. It also sets up how the three-dimensional model of the remote location is produced for the participant to generate a strong sense of presence for them. "The purpose of the framework is to make Beaming entirely independent of the hardware or software involved," says project participant Stephen Dunne. "You'll be able to use any robot or any sensor, for example."

Creative Resilience: 5 Strategies to Help You Thrive During Times of Transition

We live in a world of constant change. Nature is an example of constant birth, growth, death, and renewal. Understanding the cycles of creation will help us thrive in change, rather than fear it. While transitions can be painful, they are a source of creativity, growth and transformation.
I don’t believe we can experience a transformation without undergoing a psychological transition, and if we can cultivate resilience, we can proceed with a sense of adventure

These 5 strategies for developing creative resilience will help you thrive during times of transition:
  1. Develop a sense of optimism
  2. Find meaning and purpose even in terrible times
  3. Take control
  4. Be Creative
  5. Improvise

One more strategy:
6.     Hire a coach.

Gamificating Innovation: How to Transform Innovation into a Game

Gamification is a growing trend that involves applying game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging.  Gamification has been called one of the most important trends in technology by several industry experts. Gamification can potentially be applied to any industry and almost anything to create fun and engaging experiences, converting users into players. Fun Theory is the idea that fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better.

If we combine the ideas from "Gamification" and "Fun Theory" to help us transform the innovation process and culture of a company into a game, it has the potential of making innovation more viral and getting people more interested around participating in the organization`s innovation efforts.
According to a 2011 Gartner Research Report it is estimated that by 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes. The trend has been picking up major momentum over the last year and has gained support from industry heavy weights such as Bing GordonAl GoreJ.P. Rangaswami, Chief Scientist of, and many more.
Since creation of the Gamification Wiki in November 2010, Gamification has surged in popularity and Gamification has grown right along with it. It has quickly become one of the most talked about trends in Silicon Valley, with google trends showing the explosive growth continuing to accelerate.

George Lucas Will Donate Disney $4 Billion To Education

George Lucas is ensuring that the force may be with young Jedis everywhere.

The "Star Wars" director will donate the $4.05 billion he will receive from the sale of Lucasfilm Ltd. to Disney to a foundation focused on education, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
On Tuesday, the Walt Disney Company announced it had paid the huge sum to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd., which produced "Star Wars" and is 100 percent owned by George Lucas himself. Disney also announced plans to release a seventh "Star Wars" film, "Star Wars: Episode VII," in 2015.

“For 41 years, the majority of my time and money has been put into the company,” Lucas said in a statement on Wednesday. “As I start a new chapter in my life, it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy.”

Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say

The surveys include some findings that appear contradictory. In the Common Sense report, for instance, some teachers said that even as they saw attention spans wane, students were improving in subjects like math, science and reading.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis, who studies the impact of technology on the brain and is the director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital, emphasized that teachers’ views were subjective but nevertheless could be accurate in sensing dwindling attention spans among students.
His own research shows what happens to attention and focus in mice when they undergo the equivalent of heavy digital stimulation. Students saturated by entertainment media, he said, were experiencing a “supernatural” stimulation that teachers might have to keep up with or simulate.  The heavy technology use, Dr. Christakis said, “makes reality by comparison uninteresting.”

Predicting What Topics Will Trend on Twitter

Twitter uses a proprietary algorithm to determine which items are trending. However, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a new algorithm that can, with 95 percent accuracy, predict which topics will trend an average of 90 minutes before Twitter's algorithm puts them on the trending list. Similar to other machine-learning algorithms, the MIT algorithm combs through data in a sample set and tries to find meaningful patterns. However, what makes the MIT algorithm different is that it is nonparametric, meaning it makes no assumptions about the shape of patterns. The new algorithm compares changes over time in the number of tweets about each new topic to the changes over time of every sample in the training set. Those samples whose statistics resemble those of the new topic are given more weight in predicting whether a new topic will trend or not. The system's accuracy should improve as the size of the training set increases, according to MIT professor Devavrat Shah. Additionally, the new algorithm could be applied to any sequence of measurements performed at regular intervals.

Computer Scientist Turned Artist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Erik Demaine is a computer scientist turned artist with expertise in computational origami, the mathematical study of bending and folding. Together with his father Martin, Demaine has created artworks that explore how science and art inspire each other. Demaine uses computational algorithms to perform his folding research, and he frequently employs a computer drawing program that can draw lines and circles and pinpoint the intersections, so he can print it out and fold it. Demaine notes that although mathematical tools for creating straight crease origami exist, curved creases have been the real challenge. "The mathematical goal is to be able to automatically design, with a computational tool, any [three dimensional] form you want with these curved creases," he says. Among the practical applications to Demaine's work is the challenge of finding ways to move large objects through smaller spaces. "There are a lot of scientific and engineering applications to having a physical object that can change shape," Demaine notes. "This comes up in transportation or in the human body in blood vessels."

5 Ways to Lead with Emotional Intelligence -- and Boost Productivity

Beyond the traditional leadership roles and responsibilities, today’s workplace uncertaintyrequires leaders to be much more sensitive about what matters most to their employees. Too many leaders assume that their colleagues have the same drive to succeed and willingness to sacrifice in order to advance as they do. Everyone is different and leaders must be more mindful to embrace those differences and strategically leverage them to create and sustain unique opportunities within their departments and for the business.
The bottom line is that leaders must be more emotionally intelligent to be more effective and efficient at maximizing outcomes and desired results.     Here are 5 ways to get started.
  1. Care About People
  2. Embrace Differences to Make a Big Difference
  3. Help Employees Experience Significance
  4. Be Accountable Like Everyone Else
  5. Be Mindful of Their Needs

Be a better leader and get the most production from your employees by being more mindful of their needs.    Just because the department’s performance has exceeded the plan doesn’t mean that each employee can’t continue to grow and mature in their work.
A team is more powerful than the sum of its parts – but each part must be continually refurbished and renewed in order for the team to sustain its power.

What Women Know about Leadership that Men Don't

An effective modern leader requires a blend of intellectual qualities — the ability to think analytically, strategically and creatively — and emotional ones, including self-awareness, empathy, and humility. In short, great leadership begins with being a whole human being.
In March, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman reported here on their study of 7300 leaderswho got rated by their peers, supervisors and direct reports. Women scored higher in 12 of 16 key skills — not just developing others, building relationships, collaborating, and practicing self development, but also taking initiative, driving for results and solving problems and analyzing issues.
In another study of 2250 adults conducted by the PEW center, women were rated higher on a range of leadership qualities including honesty, intelligence, diligence, compassion and creativity.

The Art Of Listening

Silence is the source of acknowledgement
Silence is the presence of appreciation.
Silence is the genesis of connecting one with another.
If you can stand the silence you will probably understand the spoken words.
Lead From Within: It is through silence that wisdom comes. The Art of Listening is what we get when we want to be heard.

Ten Steps to Building Employee Engagement

You have the right people on the bus, but how do you keep them engaged? Here are ten simple but powerful steps:
Step 1. Make engagement your mantra
Step 2. Get Social
Step 3. Listen, and listen more
Step 4. Go for the gold
Step 5. Care first
Step 6. Fail forward faster and better
Step 7. Take every opportunity to reinforce the foundation of your house
Step 8. Learn and play forward
Step 9. Generate Enthusiasm.
Step 10. Feed hearts.

Engaging and Developing a Multi-Generational Workforce – Multi-Gen Summit 2012

The Talent Management Alliance held its first Multi-Gen Summit in mid-October in Atlanta to discuss workplace challenges being creating by a changing workforce. Baby Boomers are retiring; Gen Y and Millenials are entering the workforce with new skills and at a pace slower than boomers are leaving, the GenX leadership style and “sandwich managers”, as well as the unique aspects of a multigenerational workforce.
 “Age considers; youth ventures”- Rabindranath Tagore

The Power of Persistence for Leaders

Former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge once said: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
In the world of business leadership and entrepreneurship, persistence is often touted as one of the key success attributes. In a 2011 study conducted by professors at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, persistence was found to be one of the strict criteria for successful CEOs. The researchers examined 300 CEO candidates in firms funded by private equity investors for a variety of personal and executive traits. They then developed a “success” ranking by comparing their investor’s expectations to the actually performance. Among the variety of traits examined, persistence and execution were the most important. As study author Steve Kaplan puts it, “Persistent leaders don’t give up”
Never giving up is common with successful company leaders and business entrepreneurs. Consider the careers of three well-known business leaders for their lessons on persistence

Managers, Employees, and "Success"

Management-Issues Chartered Management Institute study of 1,684 managers in the U.K.that asked the question: "Do managers and employees agree on "success?"  Here's a snapshot of the results:
  • "Nearly half of the managers polled said they judged success by the extent to which they developed their teams, yet only slightly more than a third believed their organizations felt the same way.
  • 25% thought that 'achieving a flexible lifestyle' was an indicator of professional success.
  • Only six per cent thought that their employers shared the same view.
  • Just 13 per cent said they were concerned with 'ensuring the organization is market leader' – yet nearly two thirds thought their employers made this a priority.
  • A similarly small percentage – 16 per cent – of managers believed securing 'sustainability' was important, yet more than half felt their organizations perceived this as a priority.
  • Worryingly, fewer than half of the managers polled believed they had actually achieved their true potential.

How do Leadership Strengths Vary around the Globe?

More than 54% of all HR and business leaders cite "gaps in the global leadership pipeline" as one of their top three challenges to growth. Dealing with this problem, businesses spend more than $11 billion a year on leadership development programs, assessment, executive education, succession management, and various forms of talent mobility.

One of the keys to success over the years has been Expatriate leadership - moving leaders from headquarters to remote locations to help them develop global awareness and bring an integrated leadership model to the whole organization.