Five things #2

1) Balancing external and internal innovation

Developing capabilities quickly through external sources is critical, but so is tapping knowledge about your customers, your processes, and your culture in a way that only an internal innovation team can do. Smart companies, we find, treat external sources of innovation not as a replacement for internal sources but as a way of broadening the portfolio. They are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary. In our survey, the companies that used the most external sources also used the most internal ones. Even companies with several innovation partners reported that their internal sources were the most critical. (Neil C. Thompson, Didier Bonnet and Yun Ye, MIT Sloan Management Review)

2) Executive vulnerability helps develop top talent

The incumbent CEO can help rising stars get to the next level by transparently sharing stories of leading amid uncertainty —both successes and failures. After sharing with the group, the CEO should ask all rising stars how they would have handled the same, tricky situations, and how they would have likely felt. These conversations should be transparent and direct. Listening with empathy, asking follow-up questions, encouraging a group discussion about techniques for self-control, and showing genuine interest in the answers helps the CEO create a psychologically safe space… CEOs willing to embrace vulnerability and transparency will create a uniquely fertile culture in which thinking deeply about one’s blind spots and development needs is not only tolerated, it’s encouraged and rewarded. (Jeffrey Cohn and U. Srinivasa Rangan, Harvard Business Review)

3) Becoming a digital business requires identifying your most important operational capability and simplifying non-value-adding complexity

For most established companies, it is more likely that operational deficiencies, rather than lack of strategic thinking, will stymie their ability to compete digitally. Those operational deficiencies will not be easily resolved. They result from layers of variability — years of new operational and commercial processes built next to (and on top of) legacy systems and ways of working. This kind of non-value-adding variability has made many companies too complex to deliver digital solutions. To compete digitally, business leaders must attack that complexity. (Jeanne Ross, MIT Sloan Management Review)

4) Pandemic cityscape of New York [video]

5) Cassini’s last images of Saturn

In case you missed it:

5️⃣ Five things #1

📉 Moving to Level 2 and the new normal — what did we learn about leadership and employee experience?

🎧 Brendon Kahi, musician, on collaboration as an adventure [podcast] — seven years without playing music; now this.

Until next time,