Culture & Complexity

Innovate or Die… sounds brutal, but it can be the truth.

These words – unknown, unprecedented, unexpected – haven’t merely framed recent history, but characterise periods of significant change and innovation through the ages.

Disrupting our taken for granted assumptions.

Dislocating our predictable causal-linear solutions.

Discomforting our familiar contentment.

On the upside, times like these can be a catalyst to explore new and innovative ways for the future.  It may be tempting to look back and long for what was once comfortable and familiar, rather than step into the messiness and see what’s possible in a new future. But the reality for some organisations is ‘innovate or die’. The landscape has changed so much that this is the only option.

How do we innovate (and not die)?
It starts with perspective. How do you see the problem?

Clear. Follow the stepped out plan to reach the pre-defined future. 
Follow the recipe and the cake (kinda) looks like the picture.

Complicated. Follow the manual, get in the expert to reach the pre-defined future.
The skilled watchmaker can make your watch work like new.

In these cases, the problem is the sum of its parts. But what if the pre-defined future is no longer relevant your problem. 

There’s another way to see the problem. Is it…

Complex? Start fresh, be open to possibilities and re-imagine the future.
Raising kids… no manual to follow, more like one step forward two steps back.

The complex problem is greater than the sum of its parts.

Is complexity for you?

Is your focus: maintaining business as usual?

  • Optimising
  • Streamlining
  • Maintaining the hierarchical structure
  • Operating a stable business in a stable environment

No, keep going the way you always have and all the best with maintaining the status quo in a volatile environment.

Is your focus: reinventing, reimagining and being responsive to changing circumstances?

  • Aligning culture
  • Exploring new ways
  • Releasing control and empowering people
  • Developing new emergent opportunities 

Yes, this is exciting. 

But where do you start? Complexity works within a co-created, collaborative culture. It eschews an environment that is controlling, and dependent on reacting to top-down directives and empowers people as agents of change. Where the team (not the individual) is the fundamental work unit.

Some questions I can help you with to innovate:

  • Are we working in a complex environment?
  • What is our culture and is it ready to deal with complexity?
  • Do we have clarity on our identity and the difference we can make in the world?
  • How do I lead change in complexity?
  • Where the heck do we start?

I can help you. Get in touch.

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