Episode 28

Bill Fischer: The myths and magic of innovation

Innovation is a topic that always comes up in my work with CEOs, senior executives and entrepreneurs. We focus on how to:

  • Create an innovation portfolio.
  • Balance different types of innovation.
  • Develop a more innovative culture.
  • Open up the organisation to external stimulus.

But there are lots of myths and misunderstandings. Innovation ‘theatre’ too. People talk a great game, but innovation practice doesn’t live up to the promise. Who better to talk to about these topics than Bill Fischer, a guru on innovation and leadership; he worked with companies, like Haier, long before they became household names. In this episode we talk about:

  • Innovation as a verb.
  • CEOs who have the curiosity to be innovative.
  • The power of conversations.
  • The biggest myths of innovation.
  • Bill’s challenges to design thinking and lean start-up approaches.

If you’re look for somebody to challenge conventional wisdom, and refresh your own mindset and approach to innovation, have a listen.

The best bits of these conversations are captured in my newsletter Flashes+Sparks.

More about Bill

Bill is an Emeritus Professor at IMD in Switzerland and Senior Lecturer at MIT. He was inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame in 2019. He was the Executive President and Dean of the China Europe International Business School, in Shanghai, and served on the faculties of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Clarkson University.

VIEW RUNNING ORDER

02.38 The hardest part of strategy.
04.14 Shift in mindset of a leader.
05.41 Innovation as a verb not a noun.
07.41 Dangerous managerial activities on a S-curve.
08.43 CEOs who have bags of curiosity.
10.58 How Haier has sustained innovation and performance.
15.07 The power of scalable learning.
23.14 Biggest myths about innovation.
24.06 Challenges to design thinking and lean start-up.
24.31 Why strategy might be a myth.
27.51 The meaning of an organisation.

“We have failed to make innovation a reliable type of activity.”

Bill Fischer, Senior Lecturer, MIT, and author

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