At the age of 19, Natalie, CEO and Founder of The Entheo Network, led a team of nine people, working with street kids, across the Philippines and Colombia. At the age of 22 she was a political journalist and activist for human rights in Palestine.
As organisations strive and strain through the current economic storm, the survival driven response might well be to batten down the hatches, then steer straight ahead, steady-as-she-goes. Those rocking the boat are most likely to end up walking the plank. But Natalie Turner believes that now is the very time when captains of industry, and indeed skippers of L&D, ought to be trying something new. (more…)
The need for new ways of thinking about strategy is critical. With the rate of commoditisation increasing, even in highly innovative markets, companies need to be able to differentiate their products with something unique, that is not easily copied by competitors, and which is valued by customers.
In the demanding world of Equity funded organisations one third of Venture Capitalists give their CEOs less than a year to prove themselves, whilst less than a tenth of company founders can expect to remain in charge of their businesses after Venture Capital investment; so rang headlines in the Financial Times in February 2008. Based on research, commissioned by the European Leadership Programme (ELP), a London based forum for CEOs of venture or private equity backed businesses, 52 UK based venture capitalists,1 gave their views on all aspects of the life cycle of the CEO. Ashley Ward, a founder of the ELP, says, “many companies bring in a new CEO in the hope that they can turn around an underperforming business, but this often doesn’t solve their problems.” The requirement for better qualified Boards, a support network of experienced experts, and leadership education that is practical and specific to the needs of high tech CEOs are just three pre-requisites for success, often measures that many venture capitalists fail to realise.
This article will explore the latter of the three criteria, the need for appropriate, hard edged leadership education equipped with management tools designed to address the challenges of 21st Century Leadership in hightech companies; fast moving, multi-cultural, adaptive, and overwhelmingly results orientated.
If 75% of CEOs claim that their strongest competitive advantage is unique products and services supported by processes that can power them to market why do only 20% of them have an innovation management system? Or a clear “journey” of how ideas get selected, backed and taken to market. Just under half have a well defined innovation strategy but 47% say that they lack clear cut competencies for innovation. Innovation management, that curious blend of creativity and discipline, is a long way off from being seen as a professional function like marketing, HR or client management.
If innovation is creating value from new ideas, then the future of innovation largely depends on the type of world we want to create. The future of innovation is in the future of how we think. For good or bad, our thinking patterns to date have brought us to where we are now but are vastly inadequate, and insufficient for the challenges that this century, and beyond will pose.