A Caterpillar Stuck in a Cocoon

Confined to the Cocoon: More Ways To Skin A Caterpillar (Cake)

Incremental innovation remains a critical component for organisations. However, when an organisation only rewards incremental endeavours (recognition, remuneration and promotion), why would anybody want to risk their career with transformational effort? Give the customer a 12-blade razor, a chai-latte-flavoured soda or a 6G Origami phone. By all means, be a fast-moving caterpillar-cake copycat, but invest some of the profits from the incremental present into the transformational future. Don’t use the future to fuel your present.

Image of Goat Looking in a Mirror but seeing a Unicorn

Gilding The Reflections of Others: The Venetian Mirror Effect

This week’s Thursday Thought explores the intriguing relationship between Venetian mirrors and two contrasting psychological phenomena, the Pygmalion and Golem effects. By examining these effects, we can gain valuable insights into the power of our beliefs and the responsibility we bear in shaping the perceptions and potentials of those around us.

The Paradox of Convenience – Necessary Friction

Friction s an often-overlooked aspect of innovation and new product development. The following stories illustrate the importance of empathy, jobs-to-be-done research and understanding the balance of friction and progress. 

Corporate-Controlled Burn: “Right Way Fire” 

The Aboriginal tradition of “Right Way Fire” involves the controlled use of fire to maintain and restore ecosystems. Strategic small-scale slow burns in targeted areas during the early dry season minimise the risks of uncontrollable wildfires in the dry season. This practice is deeply rooted in the understanding that mindfully clearing away the old and stagnant creates space for new growth and vitality. This collective ancestral wisdom, long ignored, is now changing practices across several countries with similar savannah grasslands.)

Image of Mr Potato Head falling apart

The Potato Principle And The Differentiation Dividend

Diversity of species, genetics, age, thinking and specialism (skillsets) is fundamental to the health of an ecosystem. As we will explore in this Thursday’s Thought, homogeneity risks ecosystems. Despite mother nature’s wisdom, we often think we know better. A drive for profits and short-termism frequently trump what is best for the long term.

Dual Transformation: Subversive Serrapeptase; Catalysing Collagen

“Without changing the structure of your organisation, I would argue that [innovation] will not work.” – John Chambers (former CEO Cisco)
Many of us feel the bodily repercussions of middle age with joint pain, scar tissue and stiff muscles. While we mostly forget what led to these issues, our bodies keep the score. About two years ago, I embarked on a journey of physical reinvention. It strikes me how much this experience mirrors the formidable task of organisational transformation. To elaborate, I use the analogy of two supplements: serrapeptase to break down existing structures and collagen to rebuild them anew.

Don’t Eat Your Seed Corn: Tenant Farmers Don’t Pick Up Rocks

“Tenant farmers don’t pick up rocks.” Just as tenant farmers, who have short-term leases on the land they cultivate, lack the incentive to invest in long-term improvements like clearing the fields of rocks, some leaders with increasingly short tenures hesitate to make crucial investments in the future of their organisations. Rather than focus on initiatives that require time and resources to bear fruit, they often shutter them, earn a bonus on their efforts, and are out the gate before the lack of seedcorn becomes apparent. Consequently, the organisation becomes stuck in a cycle of short-term gains, missing out on the long-term benefits that arise from seedcorn investments and productivity programmes akin to picking up rocks.

Dragon attacking a ship

Here Be Dragons: Embracing Uncertainty

To successfully navigate the new world, we must humbly accept; that we don’t know what we don’t know. Like the mapmakers of the past, we must accept that accepting ignorance had to come before embracing knowledge. In the business world, this means a departure from the world of a five-year plan (map) in favour of the uncertain harbour of a five-year direction, where an organisational North Star serves as a magnetic force. This new mental map leaves enough room for uncertainty, deviation and exploration, just like the Ribeiro map.

An image of balloons shrinking

The Rise Before The Stall: The Seneca Effect

The Seneca Effect, also known as the Seneca Cliff or Seneca Collapse, is a concept named after the ancient Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca. The effect is based on Seneca’s quote, “Fortune is of sluggish growth, but ruin is rapid.” He observed that many things in nature, including human affairs, systems and civilisations, tend to decline much more rapidly than they ascend.

An image of one bad apple

Black Walnuts, Broken Windows, Bad Apples: Hire Slow and Fire Fast

If you neglect to remove the black walnut, you will see a gradual departure of the surrounding species to healthier pastures, with the younger saplings leading the way. In conclusion, just as removing a black walnut tree from an environment restores balance and promotes healthy growth, it’s essential to address toxic employees in the workplace to maintain a positive and productive work environment. It is essential to repair the broken windows.

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