I once worked in a large bureaucratic organisation. I was struck by many aspects of the toxic culture, but one aspect of the experience remains with me to this day. Many people in the organisation appeared visibly much older than the age they actually were. It didn’t take long to figure out why and it had nothing to do with genetics or environmental pollution, but everything to do with caged lifeforce. It led to an effect I call the “Reverse Dorian Gray” effect. Before I explain what this is, a very quick recap of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray may help (skip if you know it already).
It is critical to realise that our schemas, these mental shortcuts, while beneficial can produce biases and prejudices that often obscure the truth. As our recent guest on the Innovation Show, Elliot Aronson told us, “Unless we recognize our cognitive limitations we will be enslaved by them.”
Just as innovation-focused restaurants have realised it is better to structure reinvention in a different way to repetition, established companies must empower different teams to manage and conduct reinvention efforts within their organisations. Once they have stumbled upon a successful product, then they can transfer it to an execution team to perfect, refine and replicate. These are different modes of being, thinking and measuring.
The title of Aristotle’s “Politics” literally means “the things concerning the city”. It is the origin of the modern English word politics. In the book, he tells the story of a 7th century BC tyrant named Thrasybulus. Thrasybulus asked his fellow oppressor, Periander of Corinth for advice on how he should govern his people. Without uttering a word, Periander walked over to a grove of poppies and lopped off their flowering heads. The message was clear “do away with eminent citizens” and “don’t let them grow above their station.” This is (one of) the origins of the term Tall Poppy Syndrome. Tall Poppy Syndrome refers to the mindset where those people who stick their head above the parapet are resented, criticized, and cut down.
We have the real pleasure of exploring what it was like trying to innovate from within Kodak with none other than the Inventor of the Digital Camera – Steve Sasson.We discuss so many aspects of Innovation and the struggle to let go of a successful business model.
Long Life Learning: Preparing for Jobs that Don’t Even Exist Yet by Michelle Weise focuses on the disruptive and burgeoning innovations that are laying the foundation for a new learning model that includes clear navigation, wraparound and funding supports, targeted education, and clear connections to more transparent hiring processes.