Posts Tagged ‘innovation’



Today marks the release of a new book (UK & Canada, US in early April) by Peter Cook called “Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise” with Bloomsbury books. I met Peter through my friend and colleague Nadine Hack, and was fortunate to have Peter include our FACTS Framework in his new book. Nadine, Peter and I are firm believers in the power of collaboration. I asked Peter for some insights into the book, the 11th he has written or contributed to over 21 years in business.

What should readers expect to gain from this book?

Bloomsbury commissioned the book due to the unique synthesis of theory and practice in the art and discipline of creating great ideas and converting them into even greater innovations in business, society and the world. Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise draws upon durable concepts and research from academia, rather than the latest management fads. 

 The book includes many case studies and deals with questions such as:

  • What are the roots of creativity and imagination?
  • How can we create the physiological and mental states under which creativity happens naturally rather than having to rely on creative thinking tools like some kind of mental crutch?
  • How can you lead Brain Based Enterprises?
  • What is the role of technique in engendering creativity within teams?  What are the most effective and reliable recipes for team based creativity?
  • How do culture, leadership style and values support or limit innovation and creativity?
  • Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise is informed by academia but not stuffy in its writing style. An unusually good fusion, which I call ‘pracademic’.

How did you get Sir Richard Branson and Sir James Dyson’s involvement?  

The headline answer to your question is through networking. I’d won a prize for my work in leadership from Richard Branson. This led to gaining a job as an author for and delivering events that blend music and business for Virgin. By the time I asked for the interview I was almost a family member! Although this seems simple, I observe almost daily that people expect to gain similar results without the investment of time and care that often goes into a relationship based on trust. (Amen, Peter!)

I know trust matters in your work. How do you think about it?

Although it is very difficult to quantify, we all know someone who is trustworthy when we see it. A case in point arose recently in my dealings with Marcus Ryle, CEO of Line 6, who make guitar effects units. I had a problem with my Line 6 HD POD500X, as used by the likes of Elbow, Avril Lavigne and session musicians who work with Eric Clapton, Pink and Van Morrison. I could not be more impressed with the turnaround that Marcus performed. Moreover, because he handled the issue personally as well when I’m sure he had better things to do. If more companies were able to act in this way, their reputations would soar and their repeat business with it.

Your own work in terms of demonstrating the “net present value of trust” is a vital contribution to the debate. It seems that corporations need proof for such things to “move the dial” in terms of behaviour. Although I’m in no doubt as to the value of trust at a personal level in my own dealings with people as I m sure you are as well, we do need the data to help people place a value on doing the right things in corporate life these days.

What do you see as the future in terms of ethical leadership?

The 1970’s was a tipping point for business ethics when Milton Friedman wrote his article in The New York Times, where he stated that the primary role of a business was to make money for its shareholders. This was followed by Agency Theory in 1976 which completed the volte face from the more humanistic outlook on the purpose of businesses. Managerialism has probably informed the last 40 years of corporate development in leading business schools. Charles Handy, Tom Peters and I are united in our complete disagreement with Milton Friedman et al. If you look after the people, the profits look after themselves. Great leaders do the right things for their customers, their employees, society and their stakeholders.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What prompted you to write this book?

Creativity has been at the heart of the three passions that have fueled my life – science, business and music.  When I was four years old I wanted to be in The Beatles. By nine, I wanted to be a brain scientist. At 18, I joined a pharmaceutical company as a chemist and traveled the world, fixing factories and scaling up life-saving drugs, including the world’s first treatment for HIV / AIDS. By 29 I became fascinated with management and started working in a Business School alongside my day job. At 34, I started my own business and some 5 years later I began the synthesis of science, business and music via The Academy of Rock. Creativity has been a constant in my three “Shumpeterian” 18-year long cycles of innovation in my life. The book has therefore been maturing for nearly 20 years, having written my first book on creativity and innovation in 1996. This represents tens of thousands of hours of diverse experience, working as a business practitioner across a wide range of sectors and fueling my thinking via my work as an MBA academic and adventurer. Crossing the chasm from science to art has informed my writing as a business consultant much more than traditional MBA driven textbooks.

Thank you for granting this interview and for including us in your book.  Best of luck Peter and “Rock on.”

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust and integrity. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

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How often do you hear one of these statements?

“I need to get approval to do (or say) that.”

“I need to clear this through compliance.”

“You can’t quote me if I don’t get permission.”

“I can’t help you without approval.”

Have you ever considered the relationship, within an organization, between approval and trust?

I’m not referring to the first definition of “approval” from Merriam-Webster, but rather the second shown below.

1. The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something

2. Permission to do something: acceptance of an idea, action, plan, etc.

Think about how many employees are constrained by an “approval process,” and how this impacts speed of innovation and decision-making as well as employee engagement. Think about how costly this is. Every time someone needs approval to say something or do something, the “approval” process impedes the outcome. In fact, the process may be so daunting, that employees choose to take the “easy” road, never creating anything new or suggesting a new idea. After all, it would require approval.

What if leaders chose to extend trust throughout the organization by never requiring approval for ANYTHING?

Instead CEOs and their Boards took the time to craft long-term credos, vision and values statements and/or Codes of Conduct; and they were more than just “slogans” etched into the wall at corporate headquarters. The entire staff, starting with the CEO, lived the values every day, and employees understood, at the time of hiring, that any “values violation” would result in immediate termination. Now imagine the innovation, speed of decision-making and empowerment that would come from this cultural transformation. Imagine the cost savings.

During the editing process of our new book Trust Inc. I spent time searching the websites of several large public companies. The goal was to include an Appendix of examples of well-crafted values statements. I was surprised at how difficult they were to find online, and when I did, most of them were “just talk” or empty words. The few I did locate could not be included as written without “approval” from the respective company’s legal department. This would have delayed the publication of the book by several months (not days.) I did a “work around” of the approval process, eliminating the company name.

If organizations spent more time building values instead of  layers of legal teams and compliance departments, the word “approval” would start to look more like Merriam-Webster’s first definition: The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something. 

The word “approval” would start to look more like trust.

What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment or send me a note at

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