…[H]ere’s the real crux of it, the thing that puts bounce in the step of the ones already on this path – there is the chance to be part of possibly the greatest project in the history of civilization, to be at the forefront of the generation that confronted the worst conflagration the world had ever seen – and sorted it out. Scientific American calls climate change “arguably the most imposing scientific and technical challenge that humanity ever faced”; a veteran British politician warns of “an ecological time bomb ticking away”; and the former chief economist of the World Bank predicts “major disruptions on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the twentieth century.” To look back, perhaps half a century from now, to say to our children – to our grandchildren – that we took all this on, fought and thought, worked our asses off, tried and failed and tried again, and finally got this wondrous new contraption moving down a clear path toward the sustainable city on a hill – what could be better, more worthwhile, more flat-out balls-to-the-wall exhilarating, than to be part of that?… more
A year and a half ago I ventured down to the charming city of Providence to check out an ideas conference being hosted by Rhode Island’s “Business Innovation Factory.” It turned out to be an outstanding event, attended by many bright minds with numerous inspiring stories from a wide range of fields. (I returned last year too.) Beyond all of the ideas, however, the main takeaway was just how advantageous being small actually is for tiny Rhode Island when it comes to actually capitalizing on innovation. And they know it! For this installment of the eclectic curiosity interview series, I chat with Saul Kaplan, the “Chief Catalyst” leading the BIF charge.… more
Leaders as Generalists
We need generalist leaders. This is especially true in the context of company management.
Leaders are, ideally, generalists that can understand and handle many different parts of a company. Innovation is dependent on an organization’s ability to regularly access and sift through large volumes of available information, determine which is most important and pertinent and then to apply it to unique situations in new ways. This role – essentially one of direction and delegation – is the province of leaders.
The irony of this of course is that companies naturally specialize and the people working at modern day companies are trained to be specialists, managers.… more