Monday, 28 June 2010

Creative Leadership is It

The latest IBM Global Chief Executive Officer Study, published a few weeks ago, has a rather extraordinary finding. The quality most cited and sought by CEOs around the world is CREATIVE LEADERSHIP.

This is not some small-sample, quick-fix survey. They interviewed over 1,500 CEOs all over the world and in all sectors – industry, services and public sector.

What’s more, it’s the fourth such study, and creativity has never been close to the number one previously. In fact, this time it ranked way ahead of the field at 60%, followed (at some distance) by integrity, global thinking, influence and openness.

There are several questions that arise in my mind:

What has pushed creative leadership to the forefront in CEOs minds? What is driving the dramatic rise in its importance? What do they really mean by creativity in leaders? How would they know when they've got it? And what are they doing to recruit, promote and support creativity and creative leaders?

One more question: Why has this rather dramatic shift not received more media attention? I think the answer to that is contained in the way the study has been packaged up by IBM. It’s entitled, for some reason, “Capitalizing on Complexity”, and you have to get to page 23 before you get to the important news.

I’ll be tackling all the issues surrounding creative leadership at the masterclass we’ll be running at Cass Business School on Thursday 9 September. More info on that here:

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Inventing lawn tennis: a tale of two majors

With Wimbledon almost upon us, I’ve been thinking about who might have invented the game.

Like so many innovations, it seems to have emerged in two different places at much the same time.

On a croquet lawn in Birmingham, an Englishman, Major Harry Gem, and his Spanish friend, Augurio Perera, started playing a game that combined rackets with the Basque game, pelota. In 1872 they founded the first tennis club at Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

And in 1874 Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, a Welshman, invented a game with similar characteristics that he called “sphairistike” – from the Greek meaning skill at playing ball. He actually patented the net.

Why is it that inventions and discoveries so often appear in parallel?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Taking the MICL

Top priority, since I joined City University in London to set up their Centre for Creativity, has been the development of an interdisciplinary Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership – the MICL.

That’s done now and over the past two weeks we have started the marketing campaign for it. A real opportunity, it seemed to me, for the marketing communications folk in the university to strut their stuff with this unique new offering.

Not so fast!

Because the Centre itself is interdisciplinary, the marketing people in the School of Informatics, where we live, said, “Sorry, you’re not part of our School. Nothing to do with us, Guv.” And the people in the corporate team said, “We don’t market academic courses, that’s all done by the specialists in the Schools. Nothing to do with us, Guv.”

The consequence has been that we decided to hire a dynamic, hungry young team at Claremont, who helped us shape up a complete strategy and plan, and went on to develop a range of exciting and unusual marketing materials.

The one I like best is the video they created for us, which links a Big City Brainstorm we ran together with the new Masters:

The MICL is designed to give innovation leaders all the tools to turn ideas into action. It’s a two-year programme for people with experience who are looking for accelerated career progression.

You can read more about it here:

Something for you? Or for a colleague?