Is Culture of Innovation De-humanizing?

The last Sunday’s New York Times article describing the almost inhuman culture at Amazon created a firestorm of debate about what is going on in companies behind their doors. It has raised questions about how innovation is created and facilitated through leadership, talent and the working environments. Some wonder whether innovation thrives only in highly competitive and even callous environments. CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos was quick to react to the allegations of the de-humanizing culture there by stating that the company described was not the Amazon he knows. In the times of “talent wars” for the best and the brightest in software and big data engineers, the reputation Computer and phoneof a company is the key attractor of employees. This is why employer review companies like Glassdoor are blossoming and stories like the one by the NY Times can be devastating. Continue reading Is Culture of Innovation De-humanizing?

Treasure hunting gems of leading innovation

I‘m the first to admit that I don’t know much about anything but I know quite a few incredible people who do! And that is what makes my life interesting and exciting.

Realizing that I’m surrounded with leaders who are doing amazing things in the world I decided to begin a treasure hunt for gems of wisdom regarding innovation and leadership from their point of view.

Leadership and innovation are broad concepts, meaning different things depending on the industry and organization. Therefore, they are also very rich for research and insights. In order to capture stories about extraordinary experiences, I’ve been interviewing CEO’s and Executives representing many different sectors because innovation happens everywhere and in many forms.Work-together

This is my effort to explore, chart and share how innovation is being defined by CEOs, and what leaders consider as the crucial human elements to stay innovative in the rapidly changing world. In other words, my interest is in exploring the human side of innovation.  The gems I will share here will be a convergence of quotes and perspectives from Continue reading Treasure hunting gems of leading innovation

Unsuccessful unsubscribing

In the era of knowledge economy we are bombarded with invitations to download information products or attend events – whether in-person conferences or online summits and webinars –  and subsequently be signed up for innumerable e-mail newsletters.

As a person passionate about culture and leadership, I’ve been a participating in the world of coaching, consulting and delivering trainings for years. And I frequently – albeit irregularly – send out my email newsletter inviting people in my sphere to read my blogs or participate in the events I’m involved in. Over the years I’ve also subscribed to receiving information from a wide variety of interesting causes, organizations and people.email stats

Here is what I have noticed, though: just in Continue reading Unsuccessful unsubscribing

Meet a need and innovate

“Innovation is meeting an unmet need,” was an insight by James Kimmel, co-founder and CEO of  Epic Seats when I interviewed him last week for my upcoming book on innovation leadership.  Ever since our conversation I’ve been assessing everything through the lens of “a need being met… or not” seahawks tixand it’s fascinating how the world begins to open up in an exciting way.

James told me how Epic Seats got started by recognizing an unmet need for “consignment” tickets to sports events.  It was actually an unintended consequence of another business idea James and his buddy Scott were starting. They originally thought they’d be in the business of organizing trips for football fans to go to games all around the country. Their first trip was to a game in Ann Arbor, MI in 2002. Unfortunately, it turned out that several people canceled and the guys were left with extra tickets in their hands. When James and Scott decided to sell the leftover tickets on eBay, they realized there was a sweet, untapped opportunity to re-sell unused tickets.

Epic Seats is now an established 12-year old industry leader with a solid track record of outstanding service. They are also known for the supportive and fun company culture where people want to work so badly that they even take pay cuts to work there. It was brilliant how the two young football fans observed the need in the market place and put their smarts to fulfill that need.

This made me wonder what kinds of needs that nobody is fulfilling or that could be done better am I passing by or ignoring in my daily life?Whoever realized there is a need for cappuccino or a latte to go? Whoever realized people would buy toilet paper on a roll? When was it that paying for things on the internet become normal?

Continue reading Meet a need and innovate

Thank you, Satya Nadella! Leadership Lessons from CEO of Microsoft and Pope Francis

Last October, when the Karma-gate exploded at the annual Grace Hopper conference, it was a true blessing for women in corporations everywhere! It was as if two world-class leaders who are passionate about making a difference and leaving a legacy of transformational innovation had staged a cosmic theater play for shifting the consciousness of corporate leaders everywhere.

President of Harvey-Mudd College, Maria Klawe is also one of the two women on board of Microsoft Corporation. This gives her unique access and powers to talk to important leaders like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who agreed to satya nadella and maria klawe at grace hopper oct 2014 Continue reading Thank you, Satya Nadella! Leadership Lessons from CEO of Microsoft and Pope Francis

What you value is where you spend your time and money

Even though time is an arbitrary, man-made construct, its significance in our lives is ever-present. As a child time passed by slowly.  It felt like it almost stood still when I was staring out of the window into the snow-glowing night on Christmas Eve and waiting for Santa to come by with the presents from his workshop in Lapland.  Sometimes I was holding my breath out of excitement so long that I almost fainted when he finally appeared.  As an adult trying to fit all the responsibilities into a day makes time evaporate in front of my eyes (yes, I’m watching the clock on my computer screen).  I still find myself holding my breath – but for a different reason: maybe by doing it, I can slow down time and get more done.tonttu 2014

In my leadership coaching and training of executives and managers we inevitably come to a place where  Continue reading What you value is where you spend your time and money