Here is a brief excerpt from an article written by Mitra Best for the PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Innovation blog. To read the complete article, check out other resources, and sign up for email updates, please click here.
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I spent a good portion of my youth imagining galactic travel, robots on other planets, and space habitats. (And yes, I watched every episode of Star Trek – a remarkable source of new inventions.) So, when Marty Waszak, Strategic Relations Officer at NASA Langley Research Center, a kindred spirit and fellow crusader of innovation, invited me to speak to a group of senior scientists and engineers about the creative process, I was over the moon!
While thrilled with the invitation, I wondered what a lecture from me could possibly contribute to innovation at NASA — the pioneering leader in research, development and design… and an organization filled with rocket scientists.
Then, it occurred to me that PwC and NASA might have a few challenges and opportunities in common. We are both heavily regulated organizations, obligated to deliver projects on budget and on time, staffed with highly technical people, and expected to continuously think creatively to provide clients with competitive advantage.
This realization helped me focus on lessons I’ve learned as the Innovation Leader at PwC and what I could share with NASA.
[Here are the first two of five "lessons.]
Lesson #1: Innovation can come from anyone, anywhere
Innovation is the introduction of anything new or different. Anything new or different implies innovation can happen anywhere, not just in labs or R&D centers, and by anyone, not only scientists and researchers. At PwC, we have simplified our innovation mission into one question that is relevant to every member of our organization: “What can I do differently today to deliver more value to my client?”
Lesson # 2: People want to be engaged and empowered
At a time when user-generated content rules the web, everyone wants to be empowered to develop strategies previously limited to boardrooms in the executive suite. Employees want to be part of something meaningful and big, and they often surprise if given the opportunity. NASA and PwC, hire some of the brightest people. Let’s give them a virtual seat in the boardroom and empower them to cultivate their own vision and contribute to the success of the organization.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Mitra M. Best is the U.S. Innovation Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, leading the disciplined approach to inspire, evaluate and implement innovative ideas across the organization with the critical mission to support the development of new services and market opportunities across industries. Mitra influences and advises PwC senior leaders on new ideas and approaches to organizational strategy, works with clients and third parties to foster open innovation, and promotes the PwC brand as an innovative leader in the marketplace. She joined PricewaterhouseCoopers in April 1999 in the Office of Global CIO, as marketer, technologist and strategist. Before being appointed as the Innovation Leader for the U.S firm, Mitra served at the Technology Leader for the PwC Knowledge Services Organization and Business Strategy Leader for the PwC Center for Advanced Research.
Prior to joining PwC, Mitra’s professional roles included Vice President, Business Development at BookMark Communications, and Founding Partner at Syntext, managing technology clients for a creative agency. She began her career as a software engineer and quickly moved into product and marketing strategy. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science & Linguistics from UCLA and a Graduate Management Certificate in Innovation & Strategy from MIT.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by George Bradt, a regular columnist at the Forbes magazine website. To read the complete article, please click here.
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Most leaders are unbalanced. They are relatively stronger in some areas than others. The secret to making them more productive is to let them play to their strengths, while at the same time bringing in someone to work with them that has complementary strengths.
Eisner and Wells at Disney
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner was the organization’s enthusiastic, visionary leader. When I worked at the Disney Institute, our team met with him and the room was electric. He applauded our best ideas, built on them, went into excruciating detail to make sure the creative vision carried through everything, and demolished our bad ideas without a second glance. When he approved things, we were inspired to get going.
But then we had to stop.
Because once we’d sold Eisner on the idea, we had to go to then COO Frank Wells to make sure it would work. Wells focused on the business side, making sure we knew what we were going to invest, how, over what time frame to make the business proposition work.
The two were stronger together than either was on his own. Having Wells there allowed Eisner to let his creative instincts run. Having Eisner there allowed Wells to focus on the practical side of things.
Ivester and Zyman at Coca-Cola
At the start of each year’s annual planning process at Coca-Cola then President Doug Ivester would send out a note laying out his expectations. To reinforce the importance of consistency and follow through, he would attach the notes he’d sent us in each of the previous three years.
At one meeting he said, “We need to be consistent.” At the next moment, then Chief Marketing Officer Sergio Zyman replied, “Well, I’m inconsistent and proud of it.”
There was a fiery tension between the two. Ivester was the southern accountant who had joined Coca-Cola as controller and then became CFO, president, and eventually CEO. Zyman was the Mexican advertising and brand guy who was passionate about surprising and exciting consumers.
Each was incomplete on his own. Together, they were amazing.
Each of you has your own favorite example of this: Jobs and Wozniak, Gates and Allen, Anthony and Cleopatra, Martin and Lewis.
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Make your organization ever more ADEPT by Acquiring, Developing, Encouraging, Planning, and Transitioning talent:
• Acquire: Recruit, attract, and onboard the right people
• Develop: Assess and build skills and knowledge
• Encourage: Direct, support, recognize and reward
• Plan: Monitor, assess, plan career moves over time
• Transition: Migrate to different roles as appropriate
Please click here to read about each step in the playbook.
Please click here for YouTube videos highlighting each step.
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The New Leader’s Playbook includes the 10 steps that executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis uses to help new leaders and their teams get done in 100-days what would normally take six to twelve months.
George Bradt is PrimeGenesis’ managing director, and co-author of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan (Wiley, 3rd edition 2011) and the iPad app New Leader Smart Tools. Follow him at @georgebradt or on YouTube.