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The Innovation Ecosystem: changing perspectives, one podcast at a time

Join us, as we interview remarkable and thought-provoking guests about innovation, leadership and culture in the world of business. We do this by exposing you to multiple perspectives from the arenas of business, academia, science and sports. We bring you key insights and proven tools you can use straight away to enrich your ecosystem so you are better able to respond to change. Full show notes available at InnovationEcosystem.com
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Dec 11, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by author and journalist, Gillian Tett, to discuss the role anthropology plays in today’s business world. Gillian is the author of the award-winning book, Fool’s Gold, which analyses the origin of the 2008 financial crisis, and most recently, The Silo Effect, and is currently a columnist and US Managing Editor of The Financial Times.

What Was Covered

  • Why more and more companies today are turning to anthropologists for insight into employee and consumer culture.
  • What executives can do to prevent silos from developing within their organizations.
  • How anthropology and cultural awareness can help us to understand and predict the future of the digital and technology economy.

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Social silences: why we should pay more attention to what we’re not talking about.
  • Insider-outsider perspective: how empathizing and contextualizing can help executives to analyze their own company cultures and structures.
  • Slack: why the freedom to collide with the unexpected can lead to innovation.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Dec 4, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by Hal Gregersen, author of The Innovator’s DNA, to discuss his latest book, Questions are the Answer. Hal is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Innovation and the Executive Director of the Leadership Center at MIT, and has previously taught at Dartmouth College, The World Economic Forum, and the London Business School.

What was covered

  • Why Hal believes most CEOs have trouble asking questions and how to pivot from answer-centric to question-led leadership.
  • How to be a better leader by asking the ‘different, better question’ and using the ‘power of the pause’.
  • How Hal’s question-first process of reframing of challenges can help us discover the winning solution.

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Associational thinking: how observing, networking, and experimenting helps the world’s top leaders find novel solutions nobody has thought of before.
  • Catalytic questions: why challenging our false assumptions of the world forces us to create new beliefs and act on our questions.
  • Question bursts: why receiving no answers to our questions can help us to innovatively solve problems.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Nov 27, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by Amy C. Edmondson to discuss her latest book, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth. Amy is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School and is the world expert on psychological safety, a topic recently made famous by the findings of Google’s Project Aristotle, the quest to build the perfect team.

What Was Covered

  • How leaders can create psychologically safe environments in the workplace, in service of innovation and profitable growth.
  • The ‘fearless’ organization, and why fear-based leadership strategies are a recipe for failure.
  • How leaders leverage approaches from indigenous cultures to deal with some of the worlds more pressing VUCA challenges

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Psychological safety: why workplaces should be safe spaces for employees to explore, experiment and solve problems.
  • Uncertainty and interdependence: why human and interpersonal fears create unsafe work environments.
  • Silence: why keeping quiet can be dangerous and result in enormous mistakes and value destruction, as well as lost market opportunities.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Nov 20, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by writer and speaker, Adam Fisher, to discuss his latest book, Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom). Adam has previously worked as a freelance journalist for a variety of prestigious publications and as Features Editor of New York Magazine and Wired Magazine.

  • The Silicon Valley of today, and why Adam believes the industry is now a game between the old and the young
  • The origins of gaming, and the declining role played by women over the course of its evolution
  • The counterculture of Silicon Valley, and why today’s social media obsessed society has corrupted the science of computing

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Nerd culture: how today’s popular culture has been taken over by the less popular
  • Morality: how a social media obsessed world is failing humanity
  • Doing: why the future of computing innovation relies on doing and not talking

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Nov 14, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by Wanda Draper, who is the Executive Director at Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture to discuss her experience on the board of a museum and how museums can influence innovation. Wanda has over 40 years of experience in both broadcast and print journalism and has previously worked as Director of Programming at NBC-affiliated WBALTV, Director of Public Information for the Governor of Maryland, and as a reporter for The Baltimore Sun.

  • How Wanda uses her transferable communication skills from her time as a journalist to create a new communicative culture.
  • Why museums can offer fresh and creative perspectives that can help spark innovation.
  • How Wanda is helping to shape a new and different kind of museum experience.

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Inclusivity: how museums are helping to influence visitors of all generations and ethnicities to learn and connect.
  • Lessons: why exhibitions and artworks offer a lesson to be learned.
  • Growth: how museums today are offering unique and personal learning experiences.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Nov 6, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by cognitive psychologist, Christopher Chabris, who is perhaps best known for his collaborative research on the Ig Nobel prize-winning ‘Gorillas in Our Midst’ experiment and his subsequent popular psychology book, The Invisible Gorilla. Chris is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Union College in New York and a Senior Investigator at Geisinger Health System.

  • Why Chris believes companies often fail the test of inattentional blindness during the product design phase.
  • Why our attention is more limited than we think and how learning self-control can help us to take in more information.
  • Why we overvalue confidence and how we can work to recognize and overcome our own cognitive biases.

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Inattentional blindness: the surprising facts on how limited our attention is.
  • Illusion of attention: why we think we pay more attention to things than we actually do.
  • Human cognitive architecture: how understanding the limitations and foibles of the human mind can lead to successful product and technology design.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Oct 23, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by author and social scientist, Dolly Chugh, to discuss her book, The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias, which studies how implicit bias and unintentional ethical behavior affects our everyday decision making. Dolly is a Professor of Management and Organizations at New York University, has won several awards for excellence in teaching and ethics, and is a monthly columnist for Forbes.com.

  • Why our brains are biased, and the ways in which we can begin to recognize our own conscious and unconscious biases
  • Why confirmation bias can hinder the success of a recruiting the best potential talent in the workplace
  • How we can learn to recognize and use our own privileges to challenge and help change other people’s biases

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • The growth mindset: why seeing ourselves as a ‘work in progress’ can help us to learn from other perspectives
  • Conscious and unconscious biases: why affinities and associations with our personal identity can lead us to make less successful decisions
  • The business benefits that come from bringing in different perspectives to core business processes, including higher levels of innovation, increased creativity, improved employee retention and recruiting success

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Oct 9, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by Steven MacGregor, who is the founder and CEO of The Leadership Academy of Barcelona and author of Sustaining Executive Performance and his latest book is Chief Wellbeing Officer, in which he discusses the importance of maintaining positive mental health in the workplace. Steven is also an academic specializing in executive education and has taught at Stanford University, IMD at Lausanne, and CIBS in Shanghai.

  • Why Steven believes that positive mental health and humanity will help us to thrive in the future world of work .
  • How not to be over busy, and the benefits of slowing down in the workplace.
  • Why Steven believes we should focus on the small picture, and how to quickly learn new and automatic habits.

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Ambiguity: why being flexible, employing different solutions and the ability to pivot is an essential skill set for successful senior executives.
  • Small gains: how multiple improvements, however small, can have a big impact on results.
  • Mindfulness and well being: how taking care of your mental health can help lead you become a top performer.
  • Agility: how movement can help to boost innovation and allow us to learn fresh perspectives.
  • Nudges: how to take back your worries and feel healthier by hacking your social and environment rituals.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Sep 25, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by Angela Duckworth, who is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, which proposes the concept of ‘grit’ as using passion and personal conscientiousness to achieve long-term goals. Angela has also been a winner of the MacArthur Genius Fellowship.

What Was Covered

  • How passion and perseverance is at the heart of grit and its contribution to high performance
  • The naturalness bias and our preference towards those we perceive as naturally talented compared to those who strive to achieve success
  • The mundanity of excellence and how champions learn to love the discipline of working on their craft
  • How successful people use hopeful mindset to solve challenges, setbacks, and failures.

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Focus: why the most successful gritty high performers spend up to 70% of their time developing their passion alone.
  • Assets of passion: the four developmental stages we experience in realizing our passions in life.
  • Top level goals: how to set your most important priorities aside from lesser interests as a path to achieving your top-level goal.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Sep 11, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by author and professor, Ed Hess. Ed has published several notable books on learning and innovation including Learn or Die and his most recent work, Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age. Ed is currently a professor, Batten Executive-in-Residence and Batten Faculty Fellow at the Darden Graduate Business School at the University of Virginia.

  • The company of the future in the smart machine age is one where innovation is the strategic differentiator - as operational excellence is going to be primarily technology enabled
  • How human learning underpins both operational excellence and innovation
  • Why mitigating and overcoming fear and ego is the key to becoming a better learner.

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • ‘Unbossing’ and how to create an idea meritocracy by devaluing the hierarchy of empowerment.
  • How the future of technology will humanize business, help people to overcome their own personal limitations and develop as highly creative, intuitive, and innovative human beings.
  • How changing our mental models can help us develop listening and engagement skills to connect with others to drive innovation.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Jul 24, 2018

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. So said Winston Churchill, a man who had his fair share of professional disasters to accompany his well known successes.

A less painful and more practical strategy for many of us might be to learn from other people’s mistakes. There can be no doubt that you will encounter unexpected and unwanted outcomes as a result of looking at the world through multiple perspectives, or as a result of changing or adapting your work habits in order to remain fresh and creative. So we all need to be prepared for the inevitable lows and I believe that the key is to quickly identify your mistake and take action.

It is for this reason we ask every guest about their most significant lows, and what they have learned from them.

Given their diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, here are some examples from the trenches about how a few of our highly accomplished guests from Season 4 from the worlds of business, academia, sports, science, and the arts have emerged from there lows and how they take that learning forward to create success.

What was covered:

Previous Wrap Up Episodes:

Jul 10, 2018

We believe passionately in the power of multiple perspectives to build and sustain innovation ecosystems.

And yet we are all creatures of habits, following schedules and routines that enable us to continue to perform at high levels, but which might leave us with little room for exploring the new. So unless we proactively seek out fresh perspectives, we run the risk of remaining in our own personal bubbles, surrounded by people who think only like us, so increasing the risk of biases like groupthink, not-invented-here and confirmation bias.

We always ask our guests what they do to remain fresh, to seek out diverse perspectives, and the answers are often surprisingly simple and practical. Here we provide a selection of tactics, all of which are easy to do, but are equally easy not to do. By regularly exercising your innovation muscles, the benefits to you and your organization will build up and compound over time, as these world class performers have discovered.

Jun 26, 2018

Season 4 of the Innovation Ecosystem Podcast has been a long one, starting with episode 48, and ending with episode 74. As ever, we have been extremely fortunate to have been able to attract some remarkable guests from the worlds of business, academia, sports, science and the arts, and all of these guests are world-class in their chosen field.

We ask our guests the same three questions, which get to the heart of what it takes as a leader to create an innovation ecosystem in your organization, irrespective of what business you are in, and where you are located.  The guests are given these questions in advance so that they can reflect on them and the answers are invariably very insightful. The first of these three questions, "What Have You Changed Your Mind About Recently?" is the topic for this wrap up episode. The other two questions are featured in subsequent episodes.

The inspiration for the first question came from Charlie Munger, who in many respects constitutes one of the main wellsprings of inspiration for the Innovation Ecosystem.

Several years ago Charlie Munger made the following statement: “a year in which you do not change your mind on some big idea that is important to you is a wasted year”.  This question gets to the heart of the unconscious biases that we as individuals all suffer from. Many of us go through life seeking confirmatory evidence to reinforce our decisions. Sometimes however, we are able to overcome this confirmation bias and change our minds on something big. From a business point of view it is key that you are able to overcome the organizational biases like "not invented here" syndrome, groupthink, the halo effect, stereotyping: this is how we can start to look at the market differently,  to build our innovation muscles, to innovate around multiple value drivers,  to change our perspective and the perspectives of those around us. So this is why we ask our guests this question, and the answers are fascinating.

Jun 12, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by economist and entrepreneur, Ricardo Amorim. Ricardo is founder and CEO of Ricam Consultoria, a financial and investment consultancy, and recent startups AAA Academy and Smartrips. Ricardo is also the author of the best-selling book, After the Storm, is a host on Brazil’s leading news channel, GloboNews, and is a lecturer and keynote speaker.

  • Why Brazil’s market has been historically volatile, and what Ricardo believes are the solutions to this
  • Why Ricardo forecasts that despite a recent ‘economic depression’, Brazil’s economy is set to boom in the next three to five years
  • Why Brazil’s agribusiness is set to soar in the near future, and how available land and advancing technology is helping to bring investment to the country’s farmlands

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • How the country is recovering from recent economic crisis by focusing on innovation and startups to rival South America’s smaller markets and the larger global markets
  • The challenges that Brazilian companies face in attracting home and foreign business investments, and why this creates hidden opportunities for potential investors
  • The role that culture and history have played in Brazil’s tendency towards short term thinking in business and the steps being taken to encourage more of an ‘owners mindset’ to to take advantage of the enormous opportunities in that market

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

May 29, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by entrepreneur and innovation influencer, Jean-Claude Bastos. Jean-Claude is the founder of Quantum Global Group, Banco Kwanza, Angola’s first investment bank, and The African Innovation Foundation (AIF), which aims to support sustainable projects in Africa and hosts the annual Innovation Prize for Africa.

  • Jean-Claude’s perspectives on Africa developed from his long experience through education, innovation hubs, and technology training and why he sees the continent as “the last frontier in business and innovation"
  • How the demographics of Africa - where in 60% of the population is under 19 -years of age - impacts its approach to innovation
  • How the African Innovation Foundation has helped innovators transform $13m of investment into $200m of valuations

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • How the AIF’s created an innovation ecosystem, which includes an incubator, accelerator, co-working spaces, make it spaces, and cultural hubs to connect innovators and investors in Africa
  • How companies who have invested in Africa have used employee ”loyalty programs” as an approach to retain local talent, where social safety nets are often weak
  • The traps international businesses risk falling into if they view Africa as a monolith. Its diversity of histories, languages and cultures, etc., mean that approaches to business vary widely across the continent

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

 

May 15, 2018

In this episode, writer, speaker, and intrapreneur, Gib Bulloch, joins us to discuss his newly released book, The Intrapreneur: Confessions of a Corporate Insurgent. He spent 20 years at Accenture where he started Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), a buinsess unit set up to leverage that business’s expertise and experience in service of global development organizations.Gib now works as a consultant specializing in intrapreneurship, social enterprise, and cross-sectoral partnerships. He is also a noted public speaker and has contributed to The Huffington Post, Businessweek, and The Stanford Social Innovation Review.

  • Why CEOs and leaders need to make changes in organisational processes and to cultural norms to reflect the changing needs of the workforce of tomorrow
  • How best practices from the world’s most admired companies can be used to deliver impact via the work of global development organizations
  • Why if people “want to think out of the box" they need to get out of the box to apply their skills; a different context as a way of seeing things they would not otherwise see in their normal daily routines

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • How organisational cultures, norms, and middle management (the “corporate immune system”) conspire invisibly to stop innovation in its tracks
  • The power of bottom-up change; Gib’s call to action for millennials to push for change within their organizations both individually and collectively
  • The possibilities of “not for loss” business models that are cost neutral to shareholders and have measurable business benefits

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

May 1, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by Whitney Johnson to discuss her upcoming book, Build an A-Team. Whitney is the author of the bestselling book Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Innovation to Work, and is the founder of the accompanying Disrupt Yourself podcast. Whitney is also a noted speaker, and executive and innovation coach, and is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review.

What was covered

  • The S-curve, and how it can be used to gauge not only product growth and investment, but individual learning and innovation
  • The stages of learning in the S-curve, and how to predict challenges and boredom in the individual learning process in order to drive growth and prevent a lack of innovation
  • Why Whitney believes organizations should hire “disruptively”, taking on market rather than competitive risk for this core business process

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • ‘Onrampers’ and ‘boomerangers’, and how organizations can benefit from hiring these ex-employees who return with fresh skills and competitor and client knowledge
  • ‘Taking the pulse of the workplace’ and how to optimize your people for innovation and predict disruption by analyzing the different stages of learning within your team
  • ‘Learn, leap, repeat’; Whitney’s theory for leaders on how to use the S-curve model to lead teams towards innovation by implementing fresh learning cycles

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

 

Apr 17, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by Robert Hagstrom, who is an author, investment strategist, and portfolio manager. His books include The New York Times bestselling The Warren Buffett Way and The NASCAR Way: The Business That Drives the Sport and the recently republished Investing: The Last Liberal Art, in which he investigates investment concepts that lie out with traditional economics.

What Was Covered

  • Robert's commitment to the “latticework” theory of investing, which is based on building connections between different mental models and disciplines
  • The reasons that Robert views biology as the better discipline to think about markets rather than the physics based approach most commonly used in modern portfolio theory
  • The risks of comparative analysis for decision making given our tendency to look for what is similar more than what is different

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Steps to being a better investor by using multiple models of comparison and analysis and observing multiple perspectives
  • Robert's advice on the questions to ask yourself before investing in companies, and how he personally looks for growth in potential new investments
  • How to think outside of traditional economic theory and use concepts from biology, philosophy, and psychology to make better business decisions

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Apr 3, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Frans Johansson. Frans is the author of the bestselling book, The Medici Effect, from which the now popular term was coined, and more recently, The Click Moment. Frans is the Founder and CEO of The Medici Group, a consultancy firm which promotes innovation through diversity.

  • The Medici Effect, the name given to what happened in a period in Florence history where creative individuals from myriad disciplines, sculptors, architects, painters, philosophers, etc., were able to break down the boundaries between the different disciplines and cultures and ignite what became one of the most creative eras in Europe's history and the lessons it has for today’s workd of business
  • How the instinct to surround yourself with people like yourself creates barriers to innovation
  • How organizations typically do not properly capitalize on the valuable resource that new hires bring – a critical period where new concepts and ideas can be introduced
  • How to introduce diversity at executive level by overcoming the fear of the unpredictability of innovation

Key Takeaways and Learning

  • How diversity drives innovation through different perspectives that build upon each other to break new ground
  • The concept of “Intersectional hunting” - to actively look for a field or a discipline or a person or a culture that doesn't necessarily make immediate sense and then through that make a connection, then using this to tackle the issue, opportunity, challenge that you have at hand in a new way

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Mar 20, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by David Novak, former CEO and Founder of Yum! Brands which includes Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC. David is the author of several books including Taking People With You and his biography The Education of An Accidental CEO. Most recently, David has co-founded oGoLead, a digital leadership training platform that aims to change the world by building better leaders.

  • Why David believes there is a toxic leadership problem in today’s business world and the role leadership training has to play in solving this problem
  • The recognition methods and processes that are central to David’s leadership philosophy
  • How David uses his experience as a marketer to get inside the minds of the people he leads to learn perceptions, habits, and beliefs and so better understand where to focus efforts to achieve change

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • ‘Heartwiring’ and ‘Hardwiring’; why leading from your heart and making others feel valued is just as important to business results as process excellence
  • ‘Freedom within a framework’; how David boosted the international market for US fast food brands through localization
  • ‘Extraordinary authenticity’; why self-awareness and being confident yet vulnerable is the key to becoming a better leader

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Mar 6, 2018

In this episode, author and journalist Warren Berger joins us to discuss his book, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry in Sparking Breakthrough Ideas, which examines the ways in which deep questioning fuels innovation. Warren has contributed articles and stories to The New York Times, GQ, New York magazine, and The Los Angeles Times, and was previously magazine editor for CBS and contributing editor for Wired.

  • How questioning leads to innovation and why Warren believes the best innovation is fuelled by an endless cycle of questioning at every stage
  • The benefits of both informed and uninformed questioning and how these differences interplay within different work cultures
  • How to get into deep questioning within the constraints of existing processes and routines

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • How to use combinatorial thinking and sharing questions with other people, colleagues, and experts to learn perspectives and arrive at solutions that others hadn’t necessarily looked at before
  • How ‘Why?’,‘How might I?’ and ‘What if?’ questions help to create new realities by combining things that don’t typically work together
  • How to develop the habit of asking questions as a leader, and how to encourage your colleagues and team members to question with courage, curiosity, and focus

Links and Resources Covered in this Episode

Feb 20, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by David Marquet, who was the Captain of the USS Santa Fe from 1990 to 2001 and now works as a leadership expert with businesses worldwide. We cover his book, Turn The Ship Around! A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking Rules, which has been recently re-released with a new companion workbook.

  • Why it is essential to have a longer-term perspective in your people development processes. Because while achievement scorecard runs while you're at an organization, your leadership scorecard starts counting the day you leave
  • Why leadership should be centered on ‘leaning back’ and inviting your team to ‘lean forward’
  • Why David believes it is important to alternate between two sets of behaviors, languages, and mindsets to optimize between production and  decision-making scenarios

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • How pausing – and fighting the urge to take immediate action – is essential to developing the  ‘leadership muscle’ of a team
  • The differences between a ‘prove’ and ‘improve’ mindset and how to signal to your team which mindset should be adopted in different situations
  • Actions to create a system thinkers and leaders at every level, how this develops organizational resilience and inoculates it against stupid decisions
  • How leaders need to ‘flatten the power gradient’, to make themselves accessible and create the environment for others to contribute

Links and Resources Covered in this Episode

 

Feb 7, 2018

In this episode we are joined by Piyush Chowhan who is the Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer for Arvind Lifestyle Brands, which operates more than a thousand apparel retail stores across India. Piyush has extensive experience in retail strategy, business analytics, customer loyalty and CRM, retail business consulting and supply chain management.

What was covered

  • How technology is rapidly changing the apparel retail industry and how Arvind implements innovation to help to keep up the pace with changing consumer behavior
  • The digital transformation happening in retail as brands look to move from simply selling a fashion product to offering the customer a fashion experience
  • How the next generation of employees in India is leading the change towards a more open, communicative, and grassroots innovation process

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • The concept of ‘jugaad’, an Indian term that is used in a number of situations, including the application of frugal innovation and carving a path for yourself
  •  How a focus on design-led innovation and a marketing shift towards online influencers is helping to Indian brands to reach a global audience in the rapidly and massively changing apparel retail industry
  • Piyush’s observations of the key differences within Indian based organizations compared to the US and Europe, including structural and management differences, and innovative processes

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episde

Jan 9, 2018

In this episode, we are joined by Scott E. Page, a Professor of Complex Systems, Politcal Sciences, and Economics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Scott is an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute and is an author and speaker who has worked with Google, Bloomberg, Blackrock and NASA. Today, he discusses his latest book, The Diversity Bonus.

What was covered

  • Why diversity within teams must be based on cognitive differences and not solely differences in identity
  • How the best problem-solvers and forecasters use several models and equations to assess the best strategy for solving complex economic issues
  • Why cognitive diversity is a strategic asset given its impact on high-value problem solving, predictions and strategic planning

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • The Diversity Bonus; the added value that comes from team members thinking about problem solving differently, bringing different tools together and how to realize this bonus
  • Avoiding the ‘siren call of sameness’ – why business leaders go wrong in employing people that are similar in identity and experience
  • If you have one way to look at the world you would be better off flipping a coin to support your business decision making

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Podcast

Dec 19, 2017

This week we are joined by entrepreneur, author and venture capitalist, Brad Feld. Brad is a co-founder of Techstars, a platform for startups to access funding and entrepreneurial networking, and is also the co-founder of venture capital firm, Foundry Group. Brad is the author of several books on startups as well as an entrepreneurial advice blog. He sits on the board of several technology startups and was an early investor in Fitbit, Zynga, and Harmonix.

What Was Covered

  • How startup ecosystems have changed – and become more democratized – in the 30 years in which Brad has been active within them
  • How digitization of production, distribution, customer relationships, etc., is making strategic “moats” much more penetrable than they were before
  • How diversity of an ecosystem builds resilience but how our biases (both conscious and unconscious) make this difficult for us

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Those large organizations that are extracting greatest benefit from startup ecosystems are doing so not through control (typical of a hierarchy) but through engagement and feeding back learning into their own institution – creating high levels of “return on learning”
  • This large company engagement with entrepreneurs also builds loyalty, so that as startups grow they can become a positive weapon rather than a threat
  • Great innovation leaders combine continua practical skills development (getting good at your work) with endless and radical self-inquiry (embracing lifelong learning and exploration)

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Podcast

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