Thanks 2011. Hello 2012.

That´s the best word to sum up 2011. Since launching Engage // Innovate some 290 days ago, we´ve been creatively insanely busy.

Today, looking back, Re:think, Innovative leadership, Dare to Dream Bigger and Strategic Innovation has been the very essence of 2011.

We have been extremely fortunate to work on some challenging projects and work with some amazing people, of which we are superbly grateful.

In Brazil, we´ve had the pleasure of running our very first management camp at Villa Vista Taiba. This management camp will be a core part of our business in the coming years.

Our collaboration with BI Norwegian Business School has only expanded. From executive education programs to a full-time teaching position, Christian Rangen is now spending more and more time teaching at BI. The fall saw strategy, change management and next generation leadership. This spring he will teach innovation, international marketing, leadership, organizational behaviour – as well as a range of corporate education programs.

In April we were working to launch a web-site. Today we are part of a living online eco-system. Our blog has had thousands of readers in 2011. Through Twitter we connect with thousands more. Through our Linkedin group and Facebook page we are actively experimenting with social medias to share knowledge, inspire conversations and help innovators innovate.

November was spent hovering over the keyboard finalizing our latest book “Dream Bigger – Your Personal Innovation Sketchbook”. Our friends at Young in Aibel got a personalized pre-print edition. In early 2012 we hope to share this fun experiment of a book with thousands more.

For 2012, we aim to radically expand our thinking and writing on innovation, strategy and leadership. We hope to inspire hundreds of students through our teaching. We want to challenge our clients and their executives to dream bigger and execute successfully.

Happy new year, we wish you all sparks, innovation and all cool things coming in 2012.

Elisabeth & Christian

—– In Portuguese ——-

Graças 2011. Olá 2012.

Essa é a melhor palavra para resumir 2011. Desde o lançamento do Engage / / Innovate cerca de 290 dias, temos sido criativamente insanamente ocupado.

Hoje, olhando para trás, Re: pensar, liderança inovadora, Dare to Dream Bigger Inovação e Estratégico tem sido a essência de 2011.

Temos sido extremamente felizes de trabalhar em alguns projetos desafiadores e trabalhar com algumas pessoas incríveis, do qual somos gratos soberbamente.

No Brasil, tivemos o prazer de executar o nosso campo de gestão de primeira no Villa Vista Taiba. Este acampamento de gestão será uma parte essencial do nosso negócio nos próximos anos.

Nossa colaboração com a Escola de Negócios BI Norwegian só tem ampliado. De programas de educação executiva para uma posição de ensino em tempo integral, Christian Rangen agora é gastar tempo ensinando mais e mais em BI. A queda viu estratégia de gestão de mudança e liderança da próxima geração. Esta primavera ele vai ensinar a inovação, marketing internacional, liderança, comportamento organizacional -, bem como uma série de programas de educação corporativa.

Em abril nós estávamos trabalhando para lançar um web-site. Hoje fazemos parte de uma vida on-line eco-sistema. Nosso blog tem tido milhares de leitores em 2011. Através do Twitter nos conectamos com milhares mais. Através do nosso grupo Linkedin e Facebook estamos ativamente fazendo experiências com mídias sociais para compartilhar conhecimento, inspirar conversas e ajudar os inovadores inovar.

Novembro foi gasto pairando sobre o teclado de finalizar a nossa mais recente livro “Dream Bigger – Sua Sketchbook Inovação Pessoal”. Nossos amigos da jovem na Aibel tem uma edição pré-impressão personalizada. No início de 2012 esperamos compartilhar esta experiência divertida de um livro com milhares mais.

Para 2012, pretendemos expandir radicalmente nosso modo de pensar e escrever sobre estratégia, inovação e liderança. Nós esperamos inspirar centenas de alunos através de nosso ensino. Queremos desafiar os nossos clientes e seus executivos a sonhar maior e executar com êxito.

Feliz ano novo, desejamos-lhe todas as centelhas de inovação, e todas as coisas legais que vem em 2012.

Elisabeth y Christian


Your 2012 innovation reading list

Christmas Holidays are coming to an end. It’s time to bring that thinking cap back on again.
So when @hjelle1975 tweeted me for a few suggestions for innovation books for 2012 I couldn’t help whip up this brief list. Here’s a mix of new titles coming out early 2012 as well as a few classic innovation titles. They are all recommended reading.

1) The Little Black Book of Innovation: How It Works, How to Do It
by Scott D. Anthony

Scott D. Anthony is Managing Director of Innosight. While his book technically isn’t out yet (not released on Kindle yet), his blog on HBR is always worth following. Here he blends world wide innovation practices, ground-breaking cases and solid theory. I have great expecations of The Little Black Book of Innovation. Check out the book site here.

2) What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation
By: Gary Hamel
Another book yet to be released, this is Professor Gary Hamel’s most recent call to arms for innovators, revolutionaries, dreamers and doers worldwide. Building on Hamel’s work at the Management Innovation Exchange, this book aims to make innovation and strategic dreaming a part of corporate DNA worldwide – at least, that’s the parts I’ve read so far. The book is scheduled for release on Jan 24th.

3) The Innovator’s DNA
By: Dyer, Gregersen and Christensen
A very interesting book, this one sitting on my desk as I write, is the Innovator’s DNA. The result of a eight year study into what innovative leaders really do. Much like Covey’s work on habits, this one identfies five habits of more innovative leaders. I am increasingly coming back to this book in preparing some upcoming classes on innovation and leadership at BI Norwegian Business School and beyond.

4) The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm
By: Kelly and Litterman
A classic. This is one of those true, lasting, high-quality books you can enjoy over and over again. First published in 2001, this book reveals the process and thinking behind IDEO’s innovation management process. Equally worth reading today.

5) Steve Jobs
By: Isaacson
Marketing Professor Tor Wallin Andresen called this the best book on innovation ever. He is absolutely right. Few, if any , books have managed to describe so succesfully the inside of one of the world’s most innovative companies; Apple. Isaacson reports in detail on the hardships, the emotions and the drive it took to build the success we today see at Apple. A must read for busienss students and executives of all ages.

6) Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity
By: Linkner
We talk about strategic dreaming. Most managers see tight corporate structures and strict policies. But how do you combine the two? How do you create a strict process for dreaming? How do you get creativity in a system? Josh Linkner shows how, using his five-step Disciplined Dreaming to build, nurture, and manage creativity.

7) Creative People Must Be Stopped: 6 Ways We Kill Innovation (Without Even Trying)
By: Owens
Actually, I have not read this one yet. In fact, I purchased it some 30 seconds ago. Thanks to my Kindle App (iPad) and new Kindle Fire (love it), I’ll be reading it this afternoon. According to Amazon “Creative People Must Be Stopped shows how individuals and organizations sabotage their own best intentions to encourage “outside the box” thinking”. I’m thinking this will complement The Innovator’s Dillemma nicely.I have a similar book in Norwegian “Shoot the idea destructors“. Unfortunately, it is out of print and can’t be recommended for my students. I’m hoping this one will fill that gap.

8) Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution
By: Govindarajan and Trimble
Another classic who deserves renewed attention. VG and Trimble have written a compelling book for strategic innovation. They have since expanded greatly on this 2005 publication. But this book is a great entry point into the field of strategic innovation.

9) Innovation to the Core: A Blueprint for Transforming the Way Your Company Innovates
By: Skarzynski and Gibson
I love this book. Written by two consultants, Innovation to the core lays out a specific roadmap for making innovation really happen. Building on consulting projects (Whirlpool) and specific tools and processes, the authors provide a fieldbook for budding innovators.

10) ?
What would you put on the next slot?
I would love to hear any suggestions for more recommended innovation titles.

Happy reading in 2012.

Your 2012 innovation reading list

Management innovation at Young in Aibel

Recently I was invited to give a talk at a Young in Aibel workshop. Little did I know that I would meet a highly passionate, multicultural crew of young leaders. Our upcoming book is titled “Strategy Tools For The Next Generation”. The young crew I met at Aibel is just that Next Generation.

Young in Aibel is the brainchild of Marcus Hølland Eikeland, a project manager and business developer at Aibel. Used to making things happen, and seeing a need for a greater network amongst young employees, Marcus got the ball rolling on Young in Aibel. Hoping to see 30 members by end of October 2011, the Linkedin Group is 117 member strong and quickly growing.

Young in Aibel’s innovator-in-chief, Marcus Hølland Eikeland

It was this engaged group who was willing to stay after work on a Friday afternoon to join the workshop, “Innovation at Aibel”.

Special pre-print edition of our upcoming book
For Aibel we had the unique opportunity to provide a special, custom-made, pre-print edition of our upcoming book, “Dream Bigger: Your Personal Innovation Sketch Book”. Project manager Marcus Hølland Eikeland wrote the perfect introdution:

“Someone smart once said: ‘Life starts at the end of your comfort zone’.This is what ‘Young in Aibel’ is all about. Meeting new people, pushing ideas, and challenging the status quo.
Bring your ideas to life by drawing, writing or sketching them in this notebook. Together we shape the future. – The Young in Aibel Crew.”

This kind of young, self-organized, highly engaged group of people from Norway, Brazil, India, Venezuela and Sweden is something most firms would love to have.

Management innovation in the making
Young in Aibel – and programs like it – has all the characteristicas of Management Innovation. The program is bottom-up. It got kick-started by Marcus. It has no formal organizational structure or unit. It just comes together. The group uses open social media plattform, Linkedin, rather than corporate e-mail to communicate. It is a community of passion, not a formal project. And it is spreading like wildfire to other parts of Aibel’s organization.

But what is Management Innovation
Through our teaching and consulting, people frequently ask us “what is management innovation?
Using Birkenshaw, Hamel and Mol’s definition: “We define management innovation as the invention and implementation of a management practice, process, structure, or technique that is new to the state of the art and is intended to further organizational goals” (Management Innovation, Academy of Management Review, 2008:33) .

A more straight forward defintion is “reinventing management”. Because few firms, few scholars and few employees believe today’s managment model is helping us get the best out of people and organizations. Of all nine levels of innovation, management innovation is the least developed, but this is slowly changing.

Management innovation has been covered in Harvard Business Review in “Moon Shots for Management” (2009) and “Why, What, and How of Management Innovation” (2006).

Hamel and his crew of renegade scholars have also developed a set of “moonshots for management”.

Management innovation coming soon to a company very near you
Over the past few months I’ve had several lectures and talks covering management innovation. Using Google as a case study at BI Norwegian Business School, leads students to define “G-Leadership” – a suggestion for explaning what Google is doing, that the existing models for management (transformational leadership) does not explain.

A recent talk I gave to a group of financial controllers highlighted examples of management innovations. Using the Innovation Pyramid, the examples ranged from “using social medias as a leadership tool” to the big question “Do we really need managers?”. Again, this is very early in a new paradigm for management. But seeing the growing trend, watching the level of engagement on the MIX – Management Innovation Exchange – makes us confident in predicting Management Innovation is coming soon to a company very near you.

One such management innovation is excactly what Aibel is doing. And I believe it is truly exciting.
How do you light a creative spark under your young people, your next generation of leaders? How do you enable them to take charge, seize the moment and help push the creative thinking in the firm? This is excactly what Young in Aibel is doing. ….

The challenge for all firms: How do we reinvent management? How do we become management innovators? How do we create strategy tools for this next generation?

While we were writing this blog post Harvard Business Review published Gary Hamel’s latest article on management innovation “First, Let’s Fire All the Managers”. This December 2012 edition of Harvard Business Review has a great case study on how Morning Star Company generates $700 million in revenue with 400 employees – and no managers. We’ll cover this indepth in an upcoming blog post.

Management innovation at Young in Aibel

Making disruptive innovation work for you

The big challenge in “The Innovator’s Dillema” and the body of research called “Disruptive innovation” is: Can Large, Established Companies truly innovate?

Innovation researcher Bettina von Stammn asks in her book “Is disruptive innovation within a large company possible?” (von Stamm, 2008). And the reality for a lot of firms has been no, we have not been able to reinvent ourselves. We have been getting disrupted and pushed to the sides. Do you remember Myspace, Compaq, Kodak, Borders Bookstores, video rentals, encyclopedias and laptops…… These are all examples of companies or product lines getting highly disrupted.

The classic literature concludes that disruptive innovation in established firms is extremely difficult. But a new body of research is emerging. This one is different. This one shows how large firms are learning to deal with and use the innovator’s dillemma to their own advantage. One such article is
The Empire Strikes Back: How Xerox and other big corporations are harnessing the force of disruptive innovation”. Clayton M. Christensen and Scott D. Anthony, both of Innosight, has written an excellent article on how to master radical innovation in established companies.

Using the case of Xerox (remember, Xerox, with the copiers?), the authors state “ It is a classic story of the “innovator’s dilemma.” Xerox struggled to defend against threats at the low end of its business, failed to create growth in new markets, and found itself on the brink of irrelevance, if not extinction”.

But today, the company is reinveting itself. Moving it’s focus from being “a printer company” to “helping clients simplify business processes” has allowed Xerox to find new avenues for growth. One such avenue is document management services, including buying 74.000 new employees and pusing R&D into not new copiers, but into services.

The authors line up three suggestions for companies seeking more disruptive innovation.

1. Pushing beyond Core Competencies
2. Embracing business-model innovation
3. Managing the old and the new differently

Now, interestingly, most material taught in business schools is “stay with your core competencies”, not push beyond it. Equally, few business schools have traditionally been training managers in radical business model innovation.

Thankfully, work from Innosight and the Business Model Generation team, lead by Alexander Osterwalder is developing the tools and making business model innovation become a reality for companies worldwide. Emerging research on firms like Apple is showing how innovation can become a core competency in itself. Now we just have to step up the number of strategic innovation programs in business schools worldwide. That’s easy.

Since first writing this post, I’ve been teaching strategic innovation both at our Business School and a number of executive consulting programs. I am greatly pleased to see how quickly people ‘get’ strategic innovation, once they have a framework to explain it.
Moving from ‘understanding’ to ‘doing’ is harder, but with training and coaching, every single employee can become a true innovator.
Because, we firmly belive; “Innovation should be everyone’s job”.