Innovation

Reed Hastings of Netflix is a "2-in-1" leader worth study

Become Businessperson of the Year - Paul Nunes and Tim Breene - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review

Paul Nunes and Tim Breene share insight on what they call 2-in-1 leadership:

They not only grow their current business but simultaneously develop the next one that, ultimately, will enable a graceful transition from the first. It is one thing for great leaders to successfully confront great challenges. It is quite another for them to rapidly scale a successful business and conceive, grow and manage another at the same time — especially when they know the new venture may cannibalize its parent. We call this change from one successful core business to another "jumping the S-curve" and we're betting that we'll be seeing a lot more leaders like Hastings doing it.

The Hastings they're referring to here is Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. Hastings is at the center of a quiet media empire, doing his part to shake the foundation of distribution with little red envelopes. But he didn't make "Businessperson of the Year" for the disc by mail program. He made the list for doing everything he can to destroy it.

In the last two years, Hastings has executed the Netflix streaming service across mobile phones and set-top boxes around the world. This new product category directly competes with the core mail-order model that the company is built on. But Hastings had the foresight and guts to take the risk. Whether he knew he'd be at the helm of the ship steering the industry or not, he's doing yeoman's work as a role model for the audacity required for great leadership in the face of great risk.

Nunes and Breene offer some truly interesting thinking in today's post -- absolutely worth reading today.

Are you choking innovation on your teams? You might be, and not even know it!

The Seven Deadly Sins That Choke Out Innovation | Co.Design

Helen Walters on a recent talk from the heads of IDEO in New York titled Leading Innovation: Process Is No Substitute:

In most companies, there's a profound tension between the right-brainers (for lack of a better term) espousing design, design thinking and user-centered approaches to innovation and the left-brained, more spreadsheet-minded among us. Most C-suites are dominated by the latter, all of whom are big fans of nice neat processes and who pay good money to get them implemented rigorously. So often, the innovation process is treated as a simple, neat little machine. Put in a little cash and install the right process, and six months later, out pops your new game-changing innovation -- just like toast, right from the toaster. But that, of course, is wrong.

The "seven sins" that Walters covers are spot on, and the piece is worth reading in full. In particular, there is an overriding theme from which we could all benefit:

  • build inclusion into process rather than protectionism,
  • execute quickly and let momentum work in your favor,
  • and finally, change (innovation) takes time -- "be explicit about the impact that you expect" from your change efforts.