Lessons from the first IIL online Leadership and Innovation conference

The first International Institute for Learning held online Leadership and Innovation conference runs from March – June 2019. I watched keynotes on several dates and hand-picked lessons I learned from these sessions.

Rich Sheridan – Leading with joy

Menlo Innovations CEO Rich Sheridan became disillusioned in the middle of his career in the chaotic technology industry. He had an all-consuming thought: Things can be better. Much better. Rich co-founded Menlo Innovations in 2001 to end human suffering in the workplace. His unique approach to custom software creation is so surprisingly different that 3,000 people a year travel from around the world just to see how it’s done. Rich is also the author of Joy, Inc: How We Built a Workplace People Love and Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear.

  • Are you flying or building an airplane?
  • Start with purpose
  • Value leaders, not bosses
  • Pursue systems, not bureaucracy
  • Care for the team
  • Learn together
  • Become storytellers

Start where you are. Run experiments.

Joanna Durand – Why Passionate Leadership Matters

Joanne shares that passion, authenticity, and integrity are important. Passionate leadership has a care element, a vision element, and a resiliency element. Her keynote made me think of William F. Baker & Michael O’Malley’s book Leading with Kindness, and Grateful Leadership by Judith W. Umlas.

Steve Denning – Inspiring the Human-Centered Organization – Three Laws of Business Agility

Stephen Denning is the author of six successful business books on leadership, leadership storytelling, and management, as well as a novel and a volume of poems. From 1996 to 2000, Stephen was the Program Director, Knowledge Management at the World Bank where he spearheaded the organizational knowledge sharing program. In November 2000, Stephen Denning was selected as one of the world’s ten Most Admired Knowledge Leaders (Teleos).

He now works with organizations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia on leadership, innovation, business narrative and most recently, radical management. Since 2011, he has been writing a popular Leadership column for Forbes.com and has published more than 600 articles on the Creative Economy, with more than 6 million visitors and more than 15 million pageviews.

Stephen is a member of the Advisory Board of the Drucker Forum, headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The annual Drucker Forum, held in November each year, has become the leading global conference on general management issues. Each year, Stephen has chaired a panel at the Forum, which attracts the world’s top thought leaders in management.

More value from less work. An unstoppable business revolution is under way-and it is Agile. Companies that embrace Agile Management learn to connect everyone and everything . . . all the time. They can deliver instant, intimate, frictionless value on a large scale. Agile began emerging many decades ago, but truly took off in the software development industry. Sparking dramatic improvements in quality, innovation, and speed-to-market, the Agile movement is now spreading quickly throughout all kinds of companies. It enables a team, a unit, or an enterprise to nimbly adapt and upgrade products and services to meet rapidly changing technology and customer needs. And the process is applicable anywhere-companies don’t need to be born Agile, like Spotify. Even centuries-old Barclays is making the transition and reaping rewards. Filled with examples from every sector, The Age of Agile helps readers: Master the three laws of Agile Management (team, customer, network) * Embrace the new mindset * Overcome constraints * Employ meaningful metrics * Make the entire organization Agile * And more With this breakthrough approach, even global giants can learn to act entrepreneurially. Their future depends on it.

Flaws of some Agile organizations include:

  • lack of innovation
  • sweat shops
  • unfair legale maneuvers
  • prioritizing shareholder value
  • short-termism
  • abuse of monopolies

Agile is necessary but not sufficient for the human-centered organization.
Efosa Ojomo – The Power of Market-Creating Innovation

in their groundbreaking new book, The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty, Ojomo, Christensen, and co-author Karen Dillon reveal actionable solutions to growing sustainable economies. “The Prosperity Paradox” expertly offers cases of successful market-creating innovations, including the Ford Model T, which made cars accessible to ordinary Americans, and Tolaram instant noodles, inexpensive, convenient food made available to millions of Nigerians, rich and poor. Essentially, what Nigeria and other low- and middle-income countries need (and what America needed when it was still a poor country) is not for well-meaning charities and NGOs to “push” resources into its communities but for innovations to “pull” those resources in. Ojomo provides organizations with a clear framework for spotting and capitalizing on nonconsumption while generating massive gains for the company and the people who live in those regions.

Ojomo’s commitment to shifting the conversation on international development, from providing resources to developing innovations, is deeply personal and is rooted in his own previous endeavors. Ojomo, who came to the U.S. from Nigeria to attend college, worked as an engineer and in business development for National Instruments for eight years following graduation. Having grown up amid poverty, he soon realized his purpose was much larger than himself. Inspired by a young Ethiopian girl’s story of debilitating poverty, Ojomo started the nonprofit Poverty Stops Here. He soon realized that while charities and non-profits can do incredible work helping vulnerable people, many generally failed to significantly improve people’s lives at scale. At this point, he decided to go back to school to get the education he needed to fulfill his goals.

Lisa Bodell – Innovation Simplified: Why Simple Wins
CEO of futurethink Lisa Bodell is the bestselling author of Why Simple Wins. She is a recognized global leader on simplification and innovation, whose keynotes leave audiences inspired with a vision and armed with tools towards action.

Simplification code of conduct:
I will
1. eliminate redundancies and unnecessary work.
2. not create false urgency
3. use clear, jargon-free language when I communicate
4. keep my emails, documents, meetings, and conversations short.
5. limit the amount of information I need to make a decision.
6. Empower others to make decisions without me.
7. Make information available to others (unless illegal)
8. Say NO whenever possible.