Culture or Conditioning: How Many of Our Problems are Self-made?

Reading the excellent book by James Surowiecki on the Wisdom of Crowds (see side panel for link), one of his examples when talking about the power of convention: seating in public places, got me thinking about the role of convention and norm in determining the shape and feel of our lives, jobs and even destinies…

What drives you: Extrinsic or Intrinsic motivation?

  What drives us is not just a key to the sustainability of our happiness, it also defines us as people more than we think. What is extrinsic and intrinsic motivation? Extrinsic motivation is all that external stuff that tells us we have made it. People’s praise, a fat pay-check, a big watch, a nice…

From Insights to Innovation

  Just back from a conference in lovely Amsterdam on the subject of ‘Converting Insights into Actionable Results’, my mind buzzing with two days’ worth of presentations from the likes of Coca-Cola, Volvo, Sony-Ericsson, Procter & Gamble etc. on how they use insights in their respective companies. In some respects it really sounds like Insights…

How the Power of Imagination can Alter Your Brain

  Many years ago as a kid I was confronted with a particularly grumpy old lady, whose grumpiness was not merely a set of behaviours, but had etched itself deep into to the lines of her face, her posture and general demeanour. Afterwards I told my mum ‘… that lady should think more happy thoughts!’…

The Lessons of Great Followership

Followership? Doesn’t have that sexy ring to it like leadership has. I’m ready to bet there are more blogs and posts out there (including on mine) devoted to what constitutes great leadership, than there is celebrating and pinpointing what makes good followership. Why could this be? Perhaps it is, because leading is what many people…

The Lessons of Great Leadership

There used to be a time when I was suspecting that I had a problem with authority. I didn’t have much respect for my boss at the time, and in general I was feeling very disillusioned. This is not a nice frame of mind to be in so one invariably begins wondering why things are…

The 7 Must-Do’s of Innovators

Having spent the last five years in front-end innovation and now moving into a new role managing an innovation process I have come across a few must-do’s when it comes to enabling innovation in companies. Innovation is one of those hip words that is back on the agenda after everyone has cost-cut their way out…

The Value of Stupid Ideas

On a plane yesterday I was once again indulging my habit of reading random magazines that I pick up at airports while killing time waiting to board. This time equipped with the latest edition of New Scientist (4th November 2006), I stumbled on a fascinating article about Francis Crick, the man who discovered DNA. Apparently…

On Empowerment: 3 Key Principles

Many years ago, fresh out of school I joined a children’s charity, working alternatively on youth empowerment, indicators for sustainable development, designing books written by and for kids on topics like human rights, the environment and in between all of that, doing fund-raising. It was great fun, running teams of volunteers from all over the…

Humble Leaders – An Oxymoron?

Someone once told me I was too polite to be a great leader. Asking people to do stuff and saying ‘please’ was apparently not a sign of setting strong direction and providing uncontested leadership. ‘Women often do that… apologising for giving orders’ they continued. Their argument was that ‘please’ opens things up for discussion and…

The Elusive Concept of Success

What is success? Is success about money, a sense of purpose, seeing the smiling faces of one’s children, or a flash career? Seems the further we travel on the road of life and career, the more this question occupies our minds, having a nagging doubt in the back of our minds that all the vestiges…