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Interesting to note that none of the commentators can spell 'pretentious, self-aggrandising chod'.

Seriously: your job is to make sure the big numbers balance, that your staff is happy and productive and that what you're doing is legal and viable. CEO-worship is pre-credit-crunch. Stop sucking each other's dicks and do some work.

José Manuel Castro

You can see a spanish translation for this article in:

I hope you judge it useful.

Hi Bob,

Interesting article. I agree learning attitude (listening or learning for errors) makes your organization more creative.

In addtition, I believe solitude is another important aspect for idea development. Hope it will be considered as a part of tools.


Bob a great post but one that needs to be complemented with a bigger picture context of deliverable innovation IMHO. There's the upfront aha to invent part which this does so well. To many think that part is about clever people hiding in a lab instead of connecting to customer value. Then there's the backend 3/4 of the real hard stuff of turning a great idea into design, development, deliverables and execution. The other 80% of the activities that make or break a real innovation.
Serendipitously my thoughts got collected here:
Drucker btw has a great chapter in Managment (his last one) on the topic that speaks to the organizational issues. If anybody's seriously interested worth the time.

José Manuel

Hi Bob:

A great post. Congratulations.
I´ve gotten some good results by translating good post to spanish in my blog. What´s your opinion about it? May I translate your post to spanish in my blog?
Thanks in advance.

Brian Hunt

Creativity means doing new things with old ideas. That is a great one Bob!

I was just reading the article Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt (published in 1975) and he uses the oil industry as an example in his writing. The amazing thing is that Levitt is writing about fuel cells and electric cars and solar energy as possible threats to the oil industry (this was written 35 years ago).

It is amazing that new entrepreneurs are not really inventing new ideas, just better implementing the ideas of their predecessors.

Jerry de Jaager

Dan Pink was kind enough to mention this about our new book at his blog recently:

Yesterday afternoon, I was reading Jerry de Jaager and Jim Ericson’s smart new book, See New Now, and came across this stunner:

“A study of the top fifty game-changing innovations over a hundred-year period showed that nearly 80 percent of those innovations were sparked by someone whose primary expertise was outside the field in which the innovation breakthrough took place.”

Anyone who wants to read and download (for free) the part of the book where that reference appears can do so by going to our website,, clicking on the Look Inside icon, and then scrolling to the eighth item, "The Louis Armstrong Effect." Clicking on the image there opens a pdf that can be read and downloaded.

(The book -- a sizable chunk of which can be read at the site -- consists of 24 new ways of seeing to spark insight and innovation.)

Jerry de Jaager

Michael Leiter

A theme through this list of 21 diverse and insightful points is the leader's responsibility to create and sustain a social environment that fosters new ideas. Leaders recruit people on the basis of creativity rather than comfort. Leaders welcome new perspectives despite their potential disruption. But leaders are not a consistently sympathetic ear, but instead provide a critical evaluation.
I like 18 because it implies that moving on can be more important than being right. A bias towards action is a valuable thing.



- Be open. Great leaders, like Steve Jobs, see opportunities long before anyone else does.

- Listen to the whispers. There are great ideas out there that can be drowned in the noise from loud voices of pundits and gurus.

- Keep your inner child and nurture your curiosity. Appreciate your creative sides and develop them. Put the Accountant and Enforcer in the closet.

- Refine ideas. Push them to the edge. Be bold. But be practical.

- Steal from others. Also known as inspiration.

- Great products release dopamine in peoples brains. Understand this mechanism.

working girl

To point #12: My mom used to say, 'First rate managers hire first rate people. Second rate managers hire third rate people.'


I just found this blog through a google search on assholes who try to out asshole each other. I have been in the private equity business, I am now in the retail business where the store manager is much younger than me and is constantly beating me down, I start to feel like I am in a parallel universe. Long story, won't go into but I love the company, its goals and values mirror mine and I am at the largest store of a global brand and I meet people from all over the world. That said the entrenched people really dislike me and are mean, I have never gotten more negative feedback in my life and at this point feel powerless, discouraged, needless to say I have far more education, business experience, and knowledge about the actual business that the store is about than anybody else in the store but when I go into the store at this point I have been belittled for so long I just want to go and hide because I feel totally worthless. I obviously have been looking for another job, but it is a shame, my customer interactions are great but anyways, I have gone to business school and now see that it doesn't matter really who manages the store and who the store employs the sales of the store are driven by amazing global branding, conventions, location of the store and weather, the company is an outdoor products primarily clothing and it is perfectly positioned for global chilling. My whole situation would be funny if I weren't desperate for a new job, money because I now feel that I have donated my time to the company because retail pays so ridiculously low. THe thing that I have realized, granted I have never worked at such a low level(I didn't look at it that way when I took the job) but I have never interacted with people who are so street tough and mean is that business school does not teach personal interaction and how to make job decisions and the bare facts about politics be it at the low level street people I have to deal with in retail or the soulless, highly aggressive male dominated environment I dealt with in bond sales.The retail company misses out on so much information that we as sales people get from the customer but I have seen how management expects little from the sales people, just no problems and the ability of 100% control over the employees. Anyways, TMI(Too much info for this blog) but since it seems like you are all about management and I did like your post on assholes.

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