Facing The Innovators Salmon Run

I was reading about one of natures wonders about the famous salmon run. Have you ever actually witnessed one or watch the documentary on this incredible journey and all its obstacles? it is an amazing story of determination to overcome odds to bring new life into the world.

This “run” is the time when salmon migrate from the ocean and swim to the upper reaches of the rivers, where they spawn on gravel beds.

This event is an annual run where grizzly bears, bald eagles and sports fisherman all “feed” off the struggling salmon as it attempts to make it “upstream”. It is one of the natures more arduous journeys.

This set me thinking about the innovator within a company. They face the same “salmon run” or gauntlet when they try to bring to life a new innovation. The innovation equally has to swim “upstream” of validation, encountering all sort of obstacles along the way to get approval. Actually can we make a further parallel here? Continue reading

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Framing innovation around four management dimensions

Julian Birkinshaw, the London Business School Professor for Strategy and Entrepreneurship wrote in his book “Reinvention Management” about the failure of management. He is a strong advocate of reinventing and broadening out the awareness and need for a more disciplined and up to date practice of management

Working through a kind of contingency theory of management

Julian points out different situations demand different kinds of management. To be effective, a manager needs to adapt to the demands of the situation. Managerial behaviour is mapped on four dimensions: bureaucracy-to-emergence, hierarchy-to-collective wisdom, alignment-to-obliquity, and extrinsic-to-intrinsic motivation.

The principles of emergence, collective wisdom, obliquity and intrinsic are newer ways of thinking about management. I must say I like these as I do his framework as a really good way to think about the approach we need to explore that fits with the strategy and the way we want to develop a business and its environment.

Innovation needs to exploit all the ‘opposing’ principles across the four dimensions

Continue reading