Just when you thought the world has learned the many lessons of discovery-driven planning, some huge, ambitious project gets shot down yet again – whether for business reasons or otherwise – and we go through the same handwringing as ever. Last month’s entry into the flops file was CNN+, which reportedly spent $300 million to launch a streaming service that lasted in the market less than a month. More on that and other innovation-related topics in the newsletter links below.
In happier news, Columbia has well and truly settled into its gorgeous new campus and we’re starting to see a steady uptick in programs there.
My course on growth and change, called Leading Strategic Growth and Change is scheduled to run next May, for a week, in person! Among other cool components of the course is a fireside chat with the incredible Joyce Roche, founder of Girls, Inc. and a highly acclaimed executive in her own right. Click here for more information.
Business travel is starting to creep back in (kind of nice) as is commuting (kinda NOT). My traveling reflexes are way out of practice…
That much being said, September will find me at the World Agility Forum in September. Check out the agenda.
If you are curious about my upcoming schedule, your go-to resource is my “events” page. Click here to view it.
This month’s Thought Sparks
When terrible things happen to good innovation projects (April 5)
A common misconception about innovation is that it is all about getting great ideas. Sure, that helps. But to make innovation a proficiency, you need to ideate (get ideas), incubate (turn the ideas into a tested value proposition) and accelerate (help your venture take its place as part of the parent company).
Mind your introductions! A short essay in advance of national Imposter Syndrome Awareness Day (April 12)
April 13 this year was the second to recognize that imposter syndrome – that sneaking feeling that you don’t belong in some important group or place – is a big problem for many people and the organizations they are part of. I explore how imposter syndrome can be a consequence of cognitive dissonance and explain how allies can help.
What everybody ought to know about planning under uncertainty (April 19)
Planning for uncertain situations – such as in innovation projects – isn’t undisciplined, but the disciplines are very different than those you use when you are planning for a relatively predictable outcome. This article outlines some of the major differences, including the funding process, timing, working backward, and managing success.
Say What???? The Optimistic Launch And Ignominious End Of CNN+ (April 26)
Was it bad math? Bad corporate politics? Merger victimhood? Lack of customer appeal? Too much streaming competition? A little of all of that? I explore the very expensive and short-lived venture that was CNN+ through the lens of discovery-driven planning.
In the Press
Will Women Leaders Change the Future of Management? Asks a Financial Times deep-dive article that cites me, Amy Edmondson, and Avivah Wittenberg-Cox among others about the impact that women’s advancement into previously male-dominated spaces is having.
My esteemed colleague Steve Denning writes about my perspective on digital in his recent article in Forbes.
It was great fun being on the M&M LinkedIn Live show with co-hosts Marshall Goldsmith and Martin Lindstrom and special guest Ayse Birsel. We ask the big question, “if your life is your greatest project, why not design it?”
Love the title of this podcast from Lets Grow Leaders, “Asking for a Friend.” The host, Karin Hurt, and I talk about how to see around corners in your own life and how that
We all know what Innovation Theater looks like! Lots of Post-It notes die a pointless death only to have the company go on exactly as it did before. In this blog from SRI International, they talk about how not to have that happen to you!
Our friends over at Interbrand are taking the idea of competitive arenas super-seriously. This blog explains how the idea has influenced their organization and practices.
What’s Happening Over at Valize?
We now have a recorded demo of the SparcHub system available for your perusal
You can tap into an explanation of the theory that makes the Discovery Driven Growth system facilitated by the SparcHub system as well as an overview of product features at this link. I’d love to know what you think of it!
We’re launching our first cohort of online learners this May!
The program is launching this month with a combination of live-online sessions led by myself and online recorded sessions that participants can take in their own time. You can find out all about the current modules at this link. Want to experience what the course is like? We have a demonstration mini-course for that offered at no charge.
Get in Touch, Keep in Touch and an invitation to shape the agenda
We’re all about learning new things in 2022. You can follow me on Twitter (@rgmcgrath), on Instagram (@ritamcgrathofficial), on LinkedIn and on YouTube.
And an invitation: If there are topics you’d like to see me explore in a Thought Spark, let me know!