Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe has been a popular celebrity recently.  I saw her for 10 minutes or so on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.  During those ten minutes she really made an impression.  She came across as a confident, capable, down-to-earth, but more than anything, decisive.  Where many people – including her celebrity teammate – would dither indecisively after discussing the options and coming to no clear conclusion, Ann was right in there with a decision once no more information was forthcoming, and she didn’t seem to regret one of them.

Decisiveness – or at least the ability to make decisions – is a trait often talked about in the context of great leaders.  Very few people are both decisive and have good judgement.  Even fewer also refuse to regret decisions already made, though this last skill is possibly the most important of the three.   I have no idea if Ann Widdecombe regrets, and other people are better placed than I to judge if her decisions were good ones, but I was left in no doubt as to her decisiveness.  British politics has truly lost a lion – one with the courage of her convictions.

innovation principles

Innovation ≠ Idea Creation

Often the insight in innovation is choosing and developing the right ideas, not in coming up with them in the first place.

I have worked on innovation with many blue-chip companies such as Shell, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo.   Often, they’ll come asking for an idea, a solution, the  ‘golden bullet’ that will solve a key business or technical issue.  However I’ve been struck by how often the value in an innovation program is not the ideas that are generated, but the frameworks used to explore and classify the portfolio. Sometimes the solution is already there, ready to be drawn out from the shadows and built into a winner.  Other times there is no right answer – but it turns out the question could be avoided.  Or perhaps the internal team are already doing the right thing, but management needs to be convinced.   Even if your program has come up with the right idea, it still needs to be identified and developed to a level where its value is evident.   An army of ideas is no use if no-one can tell who has the loaded gun.


An invitation to talk

Hello World!

I still remember the first time I wrote those words, when as a child I created my first rudimentary computer program on our battered Acorn computer. Since then my programming skills haven’t got a whole lot better, but I have learnt a lot of other things about life.

I’m particularly interested in innovation, entrepreneurship and the way our minds work, and through this blog I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts and the lessons I’ve learnt.  More than that, though, I’d really like to hear your thoughts and discuss ideas with you, so please do comment on my posts. I will try and reply to everyone who invites a dialogue.