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Designing for Co-Creation
  7 Principles, 7 TRIGGERS and 7 Drivers for Building
  an (Open) Innovation Culture




a wecreate innovation paper
©2011 wecreate
Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes
everything.
George Louis




Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the co-operation of many minds.
Alexander Graham Bell




In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and
improvise most effectively have prevailed.
Charles Darwin
The Context for Co-Creation Design


We are entering a new age – an age of mass collaboration and unprecedented co-creativity. It is
an age where no one organisation can solve all the problems we face; a world where ever-
dwindling budgets force us to do more with less; and an era where we are being asked – perhaps
even demanded - to develop new ways of thinking and doing that tap into our collective
potential to create change. The only way to achieve anything of ambition and importance today -
and relish rather than regret the experience in the process - is to embrace and cultivate the most
important skill of the 21st Century: Co-creation. Ie Collaborative innovation. Yet nothing could
be harder for a species grown so fond of 'me', 'mine' and 'more'; and for organizations that are
addicted to ‘command and control’ management in an attempt to mitigate the assumed self-
interest and incompetence of the workers.

Collaborative behaviours - including co-operation (easing or aiding the achievement of someone
else’s plans), collaboration per se (working together towards a common goal) and co-creation
(developing a new idea together in real-time with others) - are nothing new. Since the dawn of
life itself, groups - whether bacteria, bees or chimpanzees - have been working to achieve their
goals faster, better and cheaper together. In fact, microbes currently collaborate better than we
do! But with the advent of both digital technology and the connected culture that has co-evolved
with it, our ability to interact, share and create with the people around us has never been easier.
This could not have happened at a better time. For the business, economic, political, financial,
social and ecological crises we face as individuals and communities cannot be solved by one
person, group, government or corporation acting alone. We must work together. Now.

Collaborative technologies (the web, web 2.0, tweets, iphone apps etc.) promise us individual
and social riches far beyond the dreams of the revolutionaries who upended the world in their
search for freedom, truth and justice. For with them, and for the first time in history, we are all
being offered an way to contribute to the co-creation of a society that works for the majority.
Billions could at last be mobilized to pursue their own route to happiness, as well as co-create
collective social justice and a safe and healthy planet for our descendants. This is true
participation, true democracy - the collaborative creation of a world, and a global system, that
works for the majority of its constituents. This is within our grasp, realistically, for the first time
ever.

But there is a major problem. We have been schooled to be competitive, self-absorbed and
follow precedent as opposed to innovate. Organizations have been structured to be hierarchical
and control both people and their ideas. Governments have been designed to dictate rules and
regulations to a mute and muted mass. We are rewarded for individual achievement right from
our first gold star at kindergarten to the dizzying heights of the Nobel Prize, which ignores the
informal networks and shared intelligence that create virtually all creative excellence. Few
realize that at its heart, all creativity is a form of collaboration, even if we are technically alone
when we do it!

The net result of all this individualism is a panoply of failing businesses, business models,
societies and personal lives. Old-fashioned institutions such as General Motor are crumbling in
the face of new business models from far more collaborative, innovative and open firms.
Governments are failing to deliver better services even as more are in need of them as
employment opportunities drop and tax revenues with them. And more profoundly, research
shows us that when community ties are weak people within them suffer from more heart
attacks, ulcers, depression and low achievement. Our happiness levels plummet as we become
more atomized.

The good news is that all of our problems are in the mind, not in our genes. Startling new
evidence from animal and infant behaviour studies, as well as the latest neuroscience, shows
that we do not have to overcome a mythically selfish gene. Nor are we born to follow the rules
and crush our own innovativeness and creativity. In fact, we are hard-wired to be co-operative
and creative. In fact, our ability to innovate together - tools, habitats, civilizations - is what has
defined our success as a species. So if science has proven we are instinctually co-operative and
genetically innovative - then the only things stopping us from being so again are our
assumptions and habits. That means it’s all in our minds. And thankfully - with retraining,
coaching and contextual systems designed to encourage us - these can be changed relatively
quickly. If we don’t make the transformation our organizations are at risk of failure. For the
evolutionary Law of Requisite Variety tells us that an organism (or organization) must match the
complexity of its environment if it wants to survive, let alone thrive. Without the shift in how
each one of us thinks, and how our organizations operate, we are likely to miss out on the
promises that the networked world offer us all.

The wikis and wifis, tweets and crowd-sourcing tales that are springing up all over the planet are
inviting us, urging us, to make this shift to ‘think digital’ now. The well-documented rewards of
outcomes derived from social networks and open innovation tell us that fortune follows the bold
leaders who redesign their organizations to open up and support innovation within and between
their silos. The technology can only take us so far. Unless we catch up psychologically and
philosophically with what our technology makes possible, we will fail to seize this once-in-a-
generation opportunity to co-create organizations and communities that are based upon
interconnection and interdependence, not power and exploitation.

Historians and archaeologists tell us that there are absolutely no precedents in history for this
collaborative stage of our social evolution. There are no lessons from the past about how to
manage a global water shortage; how to provide 1 billion Chinese with healthcare; how to shift a
global financial system towards responsibility; or how to repeatedly orchestrate double-digit
growth within an enterprise structured in a panoply of silos and fiefdoms grappling with ever-
more connected consumers and citizens. So we must invent new ways to innovate
collaboratively and effectively if we want to flourish.

For those that rise to this challenge, co-creativity - whether online or offline, in organizations or
between them – will provide them with the greatest, most powerful opportunity to develop their
capacity to thrive no matter what the world, the geopolitical reality and the markets throw at
them. As we enter this new era we must realize that the only way to achieve our boldest ideas
and our deepest aspirations is to work with others, as equals, as co-creators in environments
where innovation is valued and collaboration rewarded.
Designing for Co-Creation


A landmark report from The Judge Institute at Cambridge University, published in the Journal
of Marketing, has finally proved something of unprecedented importance to all chief executives
and innovation professionals. Innovation success is not driven by innovation process, star hires,
R&D spend, budget or even the country in which the organizations is based. In the study of 800
firms across 17 countries, company culture was the single greatest determinant of profitable
innovation. Yet developing a culture of innovation, especially of collaborative innovation, is
extremely challenging - perhaps nothing could be more challenging for an organization,
particularly those entrenched in conventional, risk-averse and hierarchical management
practices. What is more, the usual costs associated with such a wholesale change management
process are prohibitively high in this economy and risk alienating staff.

But for those that commit to creating a co-creative culture, the rewards are rich indeed. Having
an innovation culture is perhaps the greatest asset a company such as Apple or Pixar has. It
provides them with a unique, defensible and sustainable capability to overcome market
challenges whist concurrently shaping the market to fit their own ideas and vision. We believe
creating not just an innovation culture but an open, collaborative innovation culture is the pre-
eminent business challenge of this century. Given the evolutionary Law of Requisite Variety
(organisms that thrive best are those that most closely match the qualities and features of their
environment), it is clear that organisations that match the increasingly open and networked
culture of our emerging society will be best placed to capitalize on the vital role distributed
creativity (I.e. the wisdom of the crowd) can play in creating profitable innovation. The era of
GM stye hierarchies is coming to a close. The future belongs to those who innovate, and do so
collaboratively.
7 Design Principles for Co-Creation & Open Innovation


1) INTENTIONALLY DESIGN FOR OPEN INNOVATION


Businesses that don't fully embrace open innovation risk becoming redundant in the face of
changing stakeholder priorities and customer expectations; and the loss of opportunities for
growth that come when people interact, share ideas and co-develop innovations that could not
have occurred within silos. Open Innovation is a powerful way to gain sustained competitive
advantage by innovating for growth better, faster and cheaper together with people and
organizations outside. However, where it occurs it tends to do so only within specific project
teams; thus its enormous potential to transform and drive the organization forward in an age of
collaboration is limited. It must become 'business as usual'. So focus on designing a culture -
from the board on down (or rather, from individual teams on up) that intentionally promotes
collaboration and innovation between silos and the outside world at all times.




2) STOP MANAGING AND START CURATING DISTRIBUTED CREATIVITY


Lasting competitive advantage comes from harnessing distributed creativity inside and outside
of the organisation as a matter of course. Innovation no longer comes from a small group of
innovators in traditional R&D depts. And such creative thinkers - within or without - tend not to
respond best to being traditionally ‘managed’. Consider shifting the role of senior management
away from ‘command and control’ towards purposeful ‘curation’, akin to that perfected by a
great gallery owner or museum curator. Convene open innovation sessions focused on co-
exploring and then co-exploiting opportunities; bring together different types of thinkers and
doers; actively host their networks; enable their networking interactions. This is a
fundamentally distinct role for traditional management. We must move away from a focus on
improving performance and productivity. This demands an inflection point in leadership style
and substance.
3) RAISE THE COLLABORATION IQ AND INNOVATION INTUITION OF THE TEAM


All innovation and value creation is (still) primarily about people. No matter how complex
collaborative technologies (like social media) get, if people are not being creative and
collaborative then majority of this growth potential is wasted. However research on motivation
shows us that hierarchical management techniques (such as KPIs and bonuses) actively dis-
incentivize the kind of creativity and collaboration behaviors we are looking to encourage.
Instead we should focus on raising the collaborative attitudes and co-creative behaviors of the
team. We call this 'Collaboration IQ'. We also want to boost the capacity of leaders and
innovators to be able to sense the likely value of an insight and the probable success of an idea.
This capacity, that we call Innovation Intuition, is dependent on innovators spending a lot of
their time understanding human behavior and studying how people - citizens and consumers -
use, value and talk about their innovations in the real world. A vital part of culture change is to
radically increase the CIQ and Innovation Intuition of project teams and the organization as a
whole. Without focusing on people - and their very real motives, fears and habits - most
investment in this kind of change is redundant. If we are not prepared to embrace the
marvelously messy, deeply ambiguous yet infinitely powerful psyches of real people, do we really
have a right to ask of them to take risks and create and collaborate more?




4) PIGGYBACK ON THE EXISTING CULTURE


A powerful culture already exists in any organization, whether designed or not. With this culture
are motivational biases, narrative tropes, cultural proclivities, process heuristics and
organizational affordances (existing artifacts or processes in the organization which tend
towards certain behaviors, just as a door handle ‘affords’ us the ability to turn it). These can be
fought or they can be leveraged. Most organizations designed for hierarchy generate a culture
that creates costly resistance to Open Innovation (and collaboration / co-creativity in general).
But there will, by nature of people being people, also exist a set of explicit and implicit drivers
for collaboration and collaborative innovation that can (and we believe must) be harnessed
when designing and embedding an ideal innovation culture. To find them in your organization
we suggest using observational (or ethnographic) research and Appreciative Inquiry. With these
approaches you can detail how your teams do and think; and what real and perceived obstacles
exist for innovation and collaboration. Once collated, existing drivers can be analyzed and the
current culture can be understood prior to all change activities. Nothing produces stronger and
faster resistance than people not feeling heard, understood and appreciated. Meeting people
where they are at, appreciating where they are at, seeing where they are at can transcend this.




5) ORCHESTRATE A SUITE OF APPARENTLY SIMPLE INTERVENTIONS THAT LEAD TO A CO-CREATIVE
SYMPHONY


To make transformation happen fastest, we suggest that interventions be simple (but not
simplistic). As Buckminster Fuller said, small interventions - put into motion in specific sweet
spots in the system - can create massive change. He called these ‘trim-tabs’ (after the tiny part of
a rudder that can alter the course of the largest tankers). We call them TRIGGERS, and we
suggest 7 of them below. Small but powerful changes can be designed to transform - when
implemented strategically over time - ‘business as usual’ into ‘collaborative innovation as usual’.
Ultimately the goal is to design the best contexts likely to lead to sustained collaborative
innovation, orchestrating a symphony of existing TRIGGERS that leverage deep insight into the
current culture of the organization and its people. Such TRIGGERS become a suite of small,
micro-interventions that build the right culture one meeting and project document at a time,
piggybacking on the existing affordances and heuristics within the system.




6) FOCUS ON THE GRASSROOTS, WHERE CULTURE LIVES & DIES


Co-creation culture is best achieved (and perhaps only every sustainably achieved) when led by
the top but generated day-to-day by the grassroots. Top down hierarchical initiatives designed
to ‘make’ an organization innovative are expensive and far from certain to work, especially in
challenging times when entrenchment is common and ‘change fatigue’ an issue. It is also rather
ironic to dictate that people must be innovative and collaborative - two behaviors that are
intrinsically non-hierarchical. Staff naturally like to resist programs invented by consultants and
implemented by management directive that do not ‘fit’ the reality of working life and the
character of the organizations. Whilst one needs definitive innovation leadership and
commitment at the top, it it usually fastest, more efficient and more effective to create an
innovation and collaboration culture at the grassroots, one team and mind at a time.

To avoid the tendency to resist change - and crucially to live by the tenets of collaborative
innovation oneself (thus implementing the change program from its conception) - it is best to
design the change program with and for the crowd. Thus we can spread a new way of innovating
that works with, not against, the existing culture and individual proclivities - without a plethora
of top-down directives that irritate and confuse employees. Communities of practice carrying
out ‘action research’ - projects that prototype the culture change and are analyzed for learnings
by a core team of the passionate - work well.




7) TRANSITION TOWARDS SELF-ORGANISATION


The entire foundations of 20th Century management and the organizational design that has
accompanied it has been to improve the performance of people (and business units) and
minimize risk and revolution (or dissent). This has been done through ‘command and control’,
modeled on the military culture of European civilization. This form of management was
premised on the Hobbesian belief in humankind being capricious, selfish and in some ways
stupid. In this view of the world, we need managers to help us think smarter and control our
‘animal spirits’ that cause us to act in ways that damage the State / company. But as we develop
our teams’ Collaboration IQ, and with it their sense of personal responsibility and creative
possibility, we can start to trust them to make fit-for-purpose decisions away from the centre, in
context. Complexity science tells us that this kind of distributed innovation - called self-
organization - leads to extremely efficient organs and organisms. The natural world could not be
as wonderful without it. We suggest leaders begin to explore the power of ‘self-organization’ as
an organizing principle; and study how it can be extraordinarily effective at finding and scaling
desirable ideas into well-executed innovations. What would it be like if your teams were self-
organizing around everyday improvements and radical innovations as a matter of course?
7 Co-Creation TRIGGERS


Below are 7 specific, smart and cost-effective TRIGGERS with which to engineer a collaborative
innovation culture that won’t break the bank and are aimed to generate minimal resistance
(assuming they are designed around real-world human interactions, experiences and
affordances in your organization). This design process is ideally done within a ‘community of
practice’ made up of various members of the team from across the organization in a transparent
and co-creative manner. Using action-learning (developing prototypes, testing them out,
learning and iterating) we can rapidly increase the capacity of the organization to self-generate a
positive feedback loop of culture-changing TRIGGERS.




1. SUBTLY REDESIGN MEETINGS, PRO-FORMAS & PROPOSAL DOCUMENTS


A lot of business is ‘done’ within meetings and project documents. By making small but strategic
changes in the way meetings are run, projects signed-off, people appraised etc one can generate
an innovation culture. For example, when people rubbish or critique an idea at any time in a
meeting, one can ensure that any team member has the right to challenge them to think of two
good reasons why the idea is good (and there are always two good reasons for any idea, no
matter what). Or you might ask everyone in the company to start every meeting by sharing one
thing they appreciate about their colleagues or the organizations that week (leveraging the
power of Appreciative Inquiry). This seemingly small shift in behavior can over time build
trusted relationships (vital for effective collaboration), drive more energetic meetings and above
all open up people to build on existing strengths. The same goes for project documents. By
adding a few additional boxes or questions, you can ensure the team focuses on specific factors
that they do not usually consider. An example is to add at the bottom of an innovation proposal
a question such as: “Who amongst the wider team, suppliers or partners might be excited to
know about this project and contribute towards it?”




2. INSTITUTIONALIZE INNOVATION & COLLABORATION HABITS USING ‘HEURISTICS’
Innovation is not a ‘thing’. It is a set of behaviors and habits, driven by a governing mindset (see
below for killers and drivers of innovation). This is what a company culture is. Apple’s “best feat
may be the culture that helps generate so many folks who’ve gone on to create great products
elsewhere” (Business Week). As well as coaching and training, we suggest designing and
instilling a set of heuristics (or ‘rules of thumb’) which the organization uses semi-religiously
and becomes ‘the way things are done here’. E.g ‘Always look for the win win win.’ or ‘Fail fast,
fail cheap and only fail once’ or ‘Do things nobody else will do’. New behaviors can be designed
around a heuristic. Imagine one is: ‘Never stop questioning the way we do things’. New recruits
can be invited as a matter of policy to present to the team / management the 3 top things they
would change about the organization, the company or its products, in the first few months after
joining (when their critical capacities and lack of group think are keenest). These small changes
ensure new habits are built in the everyday moments when culture is created and maintained.




3. DEFINE WHAT INNOVATION FEELS LIKE FOR YOU - AND ENSURE IT OCCURS USING THE POWER OF
CHECKLISTS


Checklists have been proven to be extremely powerful in helping even the most talented and
educated professionals (such as surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital) radically improve their
results. With innovation, it is vital that you gain consensus on what great innovation looks and
feels like for your brand or organization and then design a checklist to help team members
deliver it each and every time. This means knowing what the ‘minimal viable’ value add is. To
ensure optimal iteration of all ideas as far as they can be pushed we use such checklists, which
are designed around organizational values, business practices and goals. They can be put on
credit card sized aides, desk ‘gubbins’ or within forms on and off line.




4. CONTRIBUTE TO, AND LEVERAGE, AN INNOVATION-READY IDEAS BANK


All creativity relies on making new connections within and without the space. Innovators tend to
read broad, learn from seemingly unrelated products, services and models, and are constantly
taking down notes and ideas. One way to maximize the potential of your collective creativity is to
ask your team to put interesting ideas and models they see in magazine, case studies and in the
everyday environment into a 1-page template that extracts the ‘clever’ bits - the breakthroughs
whether in user experience, value proposition, delivery model or process. These can be
presented at weekly or monthly stimulation sessions, like distilling a TED talk down into 1 slide.
Consider asking the team to blog - taking turns - on these ideas. And inviting people from
outside the organization to regular ‘innovation breakfasts’ (or drinks of course). Ideally an
efficient system can be managed lightly, with little effort, that attracts thinkers and new ideas,
which can then be extracted, put into the Ideas Bank and then shared by blog (and tweet) with
the wider team.




5. GIVE MAVERICKS & THEIR NETWORKS PERMISSION TO INVENT THE FUTURE


Lack of ideas is never the problem. Most of the winning ideas already live within your teams,
partners, customers / users and networks. The trick is to harness them within impactful and / or
profitable innovation. Mavericks within the team (and outside the organization) have more
ideas and passion than most. But often they are sidetracked, ostracized or ignored. Clustered
around them are often the other kinds of people needed to generate successful innovation -
commercializers and those great at implementation. Centralized R&D / innovation prevents
distributed innovators from prototyping, testing and iterating at the rapid pace they can work at
when not managed centrally. Find and honor your mavericks, bring them into the fold, and give
them permission - and ideally space / time / budget / credibility - to turn their ideas into
innovations. Research shows that diverse teams are often better than crack teams at solving
complex problems so ensure that the team is made up of people that don’t have the same
perspectives. Encourage team members to understand the vital importance of their own
personal and professional networks in their innovation capacity - and give them time and space
to nurture their strong and weak ties inside and out (including online and in social media).
Banning Facebook may not make your organization more competitive.




6. INCENTIVIZE INNER MOTIVATION AS MUCH AS LEVERAGING FINANCIAL OR PROFESSIONAL REWARD


If you want people to shift to be more creative and inventive, show them the benefits of being
innovative rather than forcing them, demanding them or cajoling them. Being innovative is a
fundamental competitive advantage to any professional and also has many positive benefits
within our personal lives. It allows us all to solve our own, and our organization's, problems no
matter what life throws at us. More than anything, innovators tend to experience the
psychological phenomenon of ‘flow’ far more often than others because they are so engaged.
Inspire your teams to explore their potential as innovators and creative leaders for their own
benefit rather than for fame or fortune.

Recent research has shown that human beings are highly motivated by the excitement and
kudos of cracking a problem or mastering a new skill. In fact, when we reward inner motivated
people (as most creative thinkers are) with money or promotion, often their performance falls.
True innovators are highly motivated by problem-solving, making things better and taking on
new challenges so allow them to self-organize and self-direct. Meanwhile fear rarely creates the
right conditions for innovation and it is vital to repeatedly prove to people that taking risk and
making mistakes will not lead to ‘pain’ (in the form of ridicule, alienation etc) Once they start to
shift, it is vital that you trust them to grow and develop themselves and their ideas. All
innovation projects can lead to valuable learnings for individuals and the organization. This
means it is essential to reframe ‘failure’ as ‘successfully learning how not to do something’.

That said, for many other types of people necessary within innovation teams, unless innovation
habits or behaviors are measured in evaluation programs, it will not be prioritized. Ensure your
incentive levers are balanced, rewarding innovation with a mix of credibility / kudos, promotion
and material benefits. With open innovation, sharing rewards is as important as sharing the
efforts. Incentivizing entire teams can work better than incentivizing individuals which can drive
non-collaborative practices.




7. GIVE INNOVATION A CLEARLY SANCTIONED SPACE


Unless innovation has an officially sanctioned physical place and conceptual space it will often
run out of steam. Give people time - and a protected environment - to experiment, try new
protocols, shift their mindset as well as space to take real risks and make mistakes. Signal to
teams that some areas of the office and intranet (which can grow over time as the viral
innovation culture spreads) are set up for innovation. This does categorically does not mean
wasting money on bean-bags and other unnecessary and cliched effects. But it does mean
designing space for serendipitous meetings, the experience of possibility, and the exploration
and absorption of new ideas. In some cases, taking people out of the office into a new space like
a ‘skunkworks’ (or separate start-up) - where new habits / principles apply rather than the old
ways of doing things - can radically shift their behavior towards innovation (and it can replicate
the start-up atmosphere that leads to more disruptive innovation). We are currently exploring
how to turn complex innovation processes into tangible tools that can go on walls, in rooms and
even on the floor. Thus an innovation process becomes a lived 3D experiences, as it does in the
latest museum exhibits.
7 Killers of Innovation


  1. Fear of loss of position, power, influence, reputation, credibility, income; cynical

      dismissal rather than appreciation of what is powerful (cynicism masks a loss of believe
      in one’s own potential and power)

  2. Short-term political and economic rewards

  3. Rigid, mechanistic, linear thinking disguised as ‘science’; ignorance of psychology and
      the role of ideas and beliefs in creating social phenomena

  4. Rejection of deep thinking by criticizing it as ‘intellectualizing’ or ‘talk’; addiction to just
      deep thinking and the paralysis it causes

  5. Silo thinking; clinging on to rigid social and professional structures; conformity over

      creativity

  6. Resistance to new ideas and unfamiliar perspectives if they are inconvenient, especially

      for our current business model, fee structure or position; or if they are condoned by
      conventional wisdom and group think

  7. Projection of personal fears and issues onto collaborative and innovative activities; focus

      on past failures at the expense of present and future possibilities; cognitive bias towards
      pessimism based on ‘horror’ stories
7 Drivers of Innovation


  1. Enthusiastic willingness to challenge all our internal assumptions, beliefs and world

     views and let go of redundant ideas and assumptions; a keen psycho-social insight to
     perceive the human origins of systemic social issues

  2. Freedom to fail, yet failing fast and failing once; learning through doing, doing through
     learning

  3. Tenacious intention to create lasting impact over the seductive rewards of short-term,

     sexy, soundbite solutions; an almost obsessive search for opportunities for scale

  4. Reward and celebration of courage and risk over complacency and obedience; shared

     experience of the inevitable moments of ambiguity and fear in any journey to discover
     new thoughts

  5. Balance a focus on process with investment in an innovation culture and innovation

     intuition through repeated human-centered design practice

  6. Profound humility for everyday people’s capacity to solve their own problems, self-

     organize and empower their peers; transition from controlling people and performance
     to curating maverick talent

  7. Culture of candor and open challenging of individual and group blind spots; sufficient

     emotional intelligence to others’ assumptions, projections and resistance to new
     thoughts and challenge them with integrity, gentleness and power
About the Author
Nick Jankel is the founder and President of WECREATE. He works at the confluence of
innovation, leadership and the collective good. Nick set up a strategy and innovation
consultancy which helped launch Xbox and Dancing with Stars by the age of 25; built it into a a
multi-million pound company with 50 staff, advising No.10 Downing Street on innovation
before he was 30; and by the time he was 31 he had shifted focus to become a public intellectual,
social innovator and capacity-builder co-creating a flourishing world. He has worked on
disruptive innovation projects with companies such as P&G, Microsoft, Kraft, Unilever, Diageo,
Virgin and many more, as well as with non-profits / governments such as WWF, the UK
Ministry of Business and Oxfam. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has given
keynotes and lectures at places as diverse as Oxford University, The Economist Innovation
Summit, The Institute of Directors, The Kaos Pilots, The European Parliament and Ford Motor
Cars. He writes for The Guardian and Financial Times on innovation and he and his work has
been featured in The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Guardian, The Independent, RSA
Journal, Marketing, Advertising Age,




You’ll never discover new lands, unless you can leave sight of the shore. Nick acts as both a compass
and a Gale Force 9 wind!

Peter Wright, Marketing Director, Tesco (Britain's largest company)

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Designing for Co-Creation: 7 Principles & 7 Triggers of an (Open) Innovation Culture

  • 1. Designing for Co-Creation 7 Principles, 7 TRIGGERS and 7 Drivers for Building an (Open) Innovation Culture a wecreate innovation paper ©2011 wecreate
  • 2. Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything. George Louis Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the co-operation of many minds. Alexander Graham Bell In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. Charles Darwin
  • 3. The Context for Co-Creation Design We are entering a new age – an age of mass collaboration and unprecedented co-creativity. It is an age where no one organisation can solve all the problems we face; a world where ever- dwindling budgets force us to do more with less; and an era where we are being asked – perhaps even demanded - to develop new ways of thinking and doing that tap into our collective potential to create change. The only way to achieve anything of ambition and importance today - and relish rather than regret the experience in the process - is to embrace and cultivate the most important skill of the 21st Century: Co-creation. Ie Collaborative innovation. Yet nothing could be harder for a species grown so fond of 'me', 'mine' and 'more'; and for organizations that are addicted to ‘command and control’ management in an attempt to mitigate the assumed self- interest and incompetence of the workers. Collaborative behaviours - including co-operation (easing or aiding the achievement of someone else’s plans), collaboration per se (working together towards a common goal) and co-creation (developing a new idea together in real-time with others) - are nothing new. Since the dawn of life itself, groups - whether bacteria, bees or chimpanzees - have been working to achieve their goals faster, better and cheaper together. In fact, microbes currently collaborate better than we do! But with the advent of both digital technology and the connected culture that has co-evolved with it, our ability to interact, share and create with the people around us has never been easier. This could not have happened at a better time. For the business, economic, political, financial, social and ecological crises we face as individuals and communities cannot be solved by one person, group, government or corporation acting alone. We must work together. Now. Collaborative technologies (the web, web 2.0, tweets, iphone apps etc.) promise us individual and social riches far beyond the dreams of the revolutionaries who upended the world in their search for freedom, truth and justice. For with them, and for the first time in history, we are all being offered an way to contribute to the co-creation of a society that works for the majority. Billions could at last be mobilized to pursue their own route to happiness, as well as co-create collective social justice and a safe and healthy planet for our descendants. This is true participation, true democracy - the collaborative creation of a world, and a global system, that
  • 4. works for the majority of its constituents. This is within our grasp, realistically, for the first time ever. But there is a major problem. We have been schooled to be competitive, self-absorbed and follow precedent as opposed to innovate. Organizations have been structured to be hierarchical and control both people and their ideas. Governments have been designed to dictate rules and regulations to a mute and muted mass. We are rewarded for individual achievement right from our first gold star at kindergarten to the dizzying heights of the Nobel Prize, which ignores the informal networks and shared intelligence that create virtually all creative excellence. Few realize that at its heart, all creativity is a form of collaboration, even if we are technically alone when we do it! The net result of all this individualism is a panoply of failing businesses, business models, societies and personal lives. Old-fashioned institutions such as General Motor are crumbling in the face of new business models from far more collaborative, innovative and open firms. Governments are failing to deliver better services even as more are in need of them as employment opportunities drop and tax revenues with them. And more profoundly, research shows us that when community ties are weak people within them suffer from more heart attacks, ulcers, depression and low achievement. Our happiness levels plummet as we become more atomized. The good news is that all of our problems are in the mind, not in our genes. Startling new evidence from animal and infant behaviour studies, as well as the latest neuroscience, shows that we do not have to overcome a mythically selfish gene. Nor are we born to follow the rules and crush our own innovativeness and creativity. In fact, we are hard-wired to be co-operative and creative. In fact, our ability to innovate together - tools, habitats, civilizations - is what has defined our success as a species. So if science has proven we are instinctually co-operative and genetically innovative - then the only things stopping us from being so again are our assumptions and habits. That means it’s all in our minds. And thankfully - with retraining, coaching and contextual systems designed to encourage us - these can be changed relatively quickly. If we don’t make the transformation our organizations are at risk of failure. For the evolutionary Law of Requisite Variety tells us that an organism (or organization) must match the complexity of its environment if it wants to survive, let alone thrive. Without the shift in how
  • 5. each one of us thinks, and how our organizations operate, we are likely to miss out on the promises that the networked world offer us all. The wikis and wifis, tweets and crowd-sourcing tales that are springing up all over the planet are inviting us, urging us, to make this shift to ‘think digital’ now. The well-documented rewards of outcomes derived from social networks and open innovation tell us that fortune follows the bold leaders who redesign their organizations to open up and support innovation within and between their silos. The technology can only take us so far. Unless we catch up psychologically and philosophically with what our technology makes possible, we will fail to seize this once-in-a- generation opportunity to co-create organizations and communities that are based upon interconnection and interdependence, not power and exploitation. Historians and archaeologists tell us that there are absolutely no precedents in history for this collaborative stage of our social evolution. There are no lessons from the past about how to manage a global water shortage; how to provide 1 billion Chinese with healthcare; how to shift a global financial system towards responsibility; or how to repeatedly orchestrate double-digit growth within an enterprise structured in a panoply of silos and fiefdoms grappling with ever- more connected consumers and citizens. So we must invent new ways to innovate collaboratively and effectively if we want to flourish. For those that rise to this challenge, co-creativity - whether online or offline, in organizations or between them – will provide them with the greatest, most powerful opportunity to develop their capacity to thrive no matter what the world, the geopolitical reality and the markets throw at them. As we enter this new era we must realize that the only way to achieve our boldest ideas and our deepest aspirations is to work with others, as equals, as co-creators in environments where innovation is valued and collaboration rewarded.
  • 6. Designing for Co-Creation A landmark report from The Judge Institute at Cambridge University, published in the Journal of Marketing, has finally proved something of unprecedented importance to all chief executives and innovation professionals. Innovation success is not driven by innovation process, star hires, R&D spend, budget or even the country in which the organizations is based. In the study of 800 firms across 17 countries, company culture was the single greatest determinant of profitable innovation. Yet developing a culture of innovation, especially of collaborative innovation, is extremely challenging - perhaps nothing could be more challenging for an organization, particularly those entrenched in conventional, risk-averse and hierarchical management practices. What is more, the usual costs associated with such a wholesale change management process are prohibitively high in this economy and risk alienating staff. But for those that commit to creating a co-creative culture, the rewards are rich indeed. Having an innovation culture is perhaps the greatest asset a company such as Apple or Pixar has. It provides them with a unique, defensible and sustainable capability to overcome market challenges whist concurrently shaping the market to fit their own ideas and vision. We believe creating not just an innovation culture but an open, collaborative innovation culture is the pre- eminent business challenge of this century. Given the evolutionary Law of Requisite Variety (organisms that thrive best are those that most closely match the qualities and features of their environment), it is clear that organisations that match the increasingly open and networked culture of our emerging society will be best placed to capitalize on the vital role distributed creativity (I.e. the wisdom of the crowd) can play in creating profitable innovation. The era of GM stye hierarchies is coming to a close. The future belongs to those who innovate, and do so collaboratively.
  • 7. 7 Design Principles for Co-Creation & Open Innovation 1) INTENTIONALLY DESIGN FOR OPEN INNOVATION Businesses that don't fully embrace open innovation risk becoming redundant in the face of changing stakeholder priorities and customer expectations; and the loss of opportunities for growth that come when people interact, share ideas and co-develop innovations that could not have occurred within silos. Open Innovation is a powerful way to gain sustained competitive advantage by innovating for growth better, faster and cheaper together with people and organizations outside. However, where it occurs it tends to do so only within specific project teams; thus its enormous potential to transform and drive the organization forward in an age of collaboration is limited. It must become 'business as usual'. So focus on designing a culture - from the board on down (or rather, from individual teams on up) that intentionally promotes collaboration and innovation between silos and the outside world at all times. 2) STOP MANAGING AND START CURATING DISTRIBUTED CREATIVITY Lasting competitive advantage comes from harnessing distributed creativity inside and outside of the organisation as a matter of course. Innovation no longer comes from a small group of innovators in traditional R&D depts. And such creative thinkers - within or without - tend not to respond best to being traditionally ‘managed’. Consider shifting the role of senior management away from ‘command and control’ towards purposeful ‘curation’, akin to that perfected by a great gallery owner or museum curator. Convene open innovation sessions focused on co- exploring and then co-exploiting opportunities; bring together different types of thinkers and doers; actively host their networks; enable their networking interactions. This is a fundamentally distinct role for traditional management. We must move away from a focus on improving performance and productivity. This demands an inflection point in leadership style and substance.
  • 8. 3) RAISE THE COLLABORATION IQ AND INNOVATION INTUITION OF THE TEAM All innovation and value creation is (still) primarily about people. No matter how complex collaborative technologies (like social media) get, if people are not being creative and collaborative then majority of this growth potential is wasted. However research on motivation shows us that hierarchical management techniques (such as KPIs and bonuses) actively dis- incentivize the kind of creativity and collaboration behaviors we are looking to encourage. Instead we should focus on raising the collaborative attitudes and co-creative behaviors of the team. We call this 'Collaboration IQ'. We also want to boost the capacity of leaders and innovators to be able to sense the likely value of an insight and the probable success of an idea. This capacity, that we call Innovation Intuition, is dependent on innovators spending a lot of their time understanding human behavior and studying how people - citizens and consumers - use, value and talk about their innovations in the real world. A vital part of culture change is to radically increase the CIQ and Innovation Intuition of project teams and the organization as a whole. Without focusing on people - and their very real motives, fears and habits - most investment in this kind of change is redundant. If we are not prepared to embrace the marvelously messy, deeply ambiguous yet infinitely powerful psyches of real people, do we really have a right to ask of them to take risks and create and collaborate more? 4) PIGGYBACK ON THE EXISTING CULTURE A powerful culture already exists in any organization, whether designed or not. With this culture are motivational biases, narrative tropes, cultural proclivities, process heuristics and organizational affordances (existing artifacts or processes in the organization which tend towards certain behaviors, just as a door handle ‘affords’ us the ability to turn it). These can be fought or they can be leveraged. Most organizations designed for hierarchy generate a culture that creates costly resistance to Open Innovation (and collaboration / co-creativity in general). But there will, by nature of people being people, also exist a set of explicit and implicit drivers for collaboration and collaborative innovation that can (and we believe must) be harnessed when designing and embedding an ideal innovation culture. To find them in your organization we suggest using observational (or ethnographic) research and Appreciative Inquiry. With these approaches you can detail how your teams do and think; and what real and perceived obstacles
  • 9. exist for innovation and collaboration. Once collated, existing drivers can be analyzed and the current culture can be understood prior to all change activities. Nothing produces stronger and faster resistance than people not feeling heard, understood and appreciated. Meeting people where they are at, appreciating where they are at, seeing where they are at can transcend this. 5) ORCHESTRATE A SUITE OF APPARENTLY SIMPLE INTERVENTIONS THAT LEAD TO A CO-CREATIVE SYMPHONY To make transformation happen fastest, we suggest that interventions be simple (but not simplistic). As Buckminster Fuller said, small interventions - put into motion in specific sweet spots in the system - can create massive change. He called these ‘trim-tabs’ (after the tiny part of a rudder that can alter the course of the largest tankers). We call them TRIGGERS, and we suggest 7 of them below. Small but powerful changes can be designed to transform - when implemented strategically over time - ‘business as usual’ into ‘collaborative innovation as usual’. Ultimately the goal is to design the best contexts likely to lead to sustained collaborative innovation, orchestrating a symphony of existing TRIGGERS that leverage deep insight into the current culture of the organization and its people. Such TRIGGERS become a suite of small, micro-interventions that build the right culture one meeting and project document at a time, piggybacking on the existing affordances and heuristics within the system. 6) FOCUS ON THE GRASSROOTS, WHERE CULTURE LIVES & DIES Co-creation culture is best achieved (and perhaps only every sustainably achieved) when led by the top but generated day-to-day by the grassroots. Top down hierarchical initiatives designed to ‘make’ an organization innovative are expensive and far from certain to work, especially in challenging times when entrenchment is common and ‘change fatigue’ an issue. It is also rather ironic to dictate that people must be innovative and collaborative - two behaviors that are intrinsically non-hierarchical. Staff naturally like to resist programs invented by consultants and implemented by management directive that do not ‘fit’ the reality of working life and the character of the organizations. Whilst one needs definitive innovation leadership and
  • 10. commitment at the top, it it usually fastest, more efficient and more effective to create an innovation and collaboration culture at the grassroots, one team and mind at a time. To avoid the tendency to resist change - and crucially to live by the tenets of collaborative innovation oneself (thus implementing the change program from its conception) - it is best to design the change program with and for the crowd. Thus we can spread a new way of innovating that works with, not against, the existing culture and individual proclivities - without a plethora of top-down directives that irritate and confuse employees. Communities of practice carrying out ‘action research’ - projects that prototype the culture change and are analyzed for learnings by a core team of the passionate - work well. 7) TRANSITION TOWARDS SELF-ORGANISATION The entire foundations of 20th Century management and the organizational design that has accompanied it has been to improve the performance of people (and business units) and minimize risk and revolution (or dissent). This has been done through ‘command and control’, modeled on the military culture of European civilization. This form of management was premised on the Hobbesian belief in humankind being capricious, selfish and in some ways stupid. In this view of the world, we need managers to help us think smarter and control our ‘animal spirits’ that cause us to act in ways that damage the State / company. But as we develop our teams’ Collaboration IQ, and with it their sense of personal responsibility and creative possibility, we can start to trust them to make fit-for-purpose decisions away from the centre, in context. Complexity science tells us that this kind of distributed innovation - called self- organization - leads to extremely efficient organs and organisms. The natural world could not be as wonderful without it. We suggest leaders begin to explore the power of ‘self-organization’ as an organizing principle; and study how it can be extraordinarily effective at finding and scaling desirable ideas into well-executed innovations. What would it be like if your teams were self- organizing around everyday improvements and radical innovations as a matter of course?
  • 11. 7 Co-Creation TRIGGERS Below are 7 specific, smart and cost-effective TRIGGERS with which to engineer a collaborative innovation culture that won’t break the bank and are aimed to generate minimal resistance (assuming they are designed around real-world human interactions, experiences and affordances in your organization). This design process is ideally done within a ‘community of practice’ made up of various members of the team from across the organization in a transparent and co-creative manner. Using action-learning (developing prototypes, testing them out, learning and iterating) we can rapidly increase the capacity of the organization to self-generate a positive feedback loop of culture-changing TRIGGERS. 1. SUBTLY REDESIGN MEETINGS, PRO-FORMAS & PROPOSAL DOCUMENTS A lot of business is ‘done’ within meetings and project documents. By making small but strategic changes in the way meetings are run, projects signed-off, people appraised etc one can generate an innovation culture. For example, when people rubbish or critique an idea at any time in a meeting, one can ensure that any team member has the right to challenge them to think of two good reasons why the idea is good (and there are always two good reasons for any idea, no matter what). Or you might ask everyone in the company to start every meeting by sharing one thing they appreciate about their colleagues or the organizations that week (leveraging the power of Appreciative Inquiry). This seemingly small shift in behavior can over time build trusted relationships (vital for effective collaboration), drive more energetic meetings and above all open up people to build on existing strengths. The same goes for project documents. By adding a few additional boxes or questions, you can ensure the team focuses on specific factors that they do not usually consider. An example is to add at the bottom of an innovation proposal a question such as: “Who amongst the wider team, suppliers or partners might be excited to know about this project and contribute towards it?” 2. INSTITUTIONALIZE INNOVATION & COLLABORATION HABITS USING ‘HEURISTICS’
  • 12. Innovation is not a ‘thing’. It is a set of behaviors and habits, driven by a governing mindset (see below for killers and drivers of innovation). This is what a company culture is. Apple’s “best feat may be the culture that helps generate so many folks who’ve gone on to create great products elsewhere” (Business Week). As well as coaching and training, we suggest designing and instilling a set of heuristics (or ‘rules of thumb’) which the organization uses semi-religiously and becomes ‘the way things are done here’. E.g ‘Always look for the win win win.’ or ‘Fail fast, fail cheap and only fail once’ or ‘Do things nobody else will do’. New behaviors can be designed around a heuristic. Imagine one is: ‘Never stop questioning the way we do things’. New recruits can be invited as a matter of policy to present to the team / management the 3 top things they would change about the organization, the company or its products, in the first few months after joining (when their critical capacities and lack of group think are keenest). These small changes ensure new habits are built in the everyday moments when culture is created and maintained. 3. DEFINE WHAT INNOVATION FEELS LIKE FOR YOU - AND ENSURE IT OCCURS USING THE POWER OF CHECKLISTS Checklists have been proven to be extremely powerful in helping even the most talented and educated professionals (such as surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital) radically improve their results. With innovation, it is vital that you gain consensus on what great innovation looks and feels like for your brand or organization and then design a checklist to help team members deliver it each and every time. This means knowing what the ‘minimal viable’ value add is. To ensure optimal iteration of all ideas as far as they can be pushed we use such checklists, which are designed around organizational values, business practices and goals. They can be put on credit card sized aides, desk ‘gubbins’ or within forms on and off line. 4. CONTRIBUTE TO, AND LEVERAGE, AN INNOVATION-READY IDEAS BANK All creativity relies on making new connections within and without the space. Innovators tend to read broad, learn from seemingly unrelated products, services and models, and are constantly taking down notes and ideas. One way to maximize the potential of your collective creativity is to ask your team to put interesting ideas and models they see in magazine, case studies and in the
  • 13. everyday environment into a 1-page template that extracts the ‘clever’ bits - the breakthroughs whether in user experience, value proposition, delivery model or process. These can be presented at weekly or monthly stimulation sessions, like distilling a TED talk down into 1 slide. Consider asking the team to blog - taking turns - on these ideas. And inviting people from outside the organization to regular ‘innovation breakfasts’ (or drinks of course). Ideally an efficient system can be managed lightly, with little effort, that attracts thinkers and new ideas, which can then be extracted, put into the Ideas Bank and then shared by blog (and tweet) with the wider team. 5. GIVE MAVERICKS & THEIR NETWORKS PERMISSION TO INVENT THE FUTURE Lack of ideas is never the problem. Most of the winning ideas already live within your teams, partners, customers / users and networks. The trick is to harness them within impactful and / or profitable innovation. Mavericks within the team (and outside the organization) have more ideas and passion than most. But often they are sidetracked, ostracized or ignored. Clustered around them are often the other kinds of people needed to generate successful innovation - commercializers and those great at implementation. Centralized R&D / innovation prevents distributed innovators from prototyping, testing and iterating at the rapid pace they can work at when not managed centrally. Find and honor your mavericks, bring them into the fold, and give them permission - and ideally space / time / budget / credibility - to turn their ideas into innovations. Research shows that diverse teams are often better than crack teams at solving complex problems so ensure that the team is made up of people that don’t have the same perspectives. Encourage team members to understand the vital importance of their own personal and professional networks in their innovation capacity - and give them time and space to nurture their strong and weak ties inside and out (including online and in social media). Banning Facebook may not make your organization more competitive. 6. INCENTIVIZE INNER MOTIVATION AS MUCH AS LEVERAGING FINANCIAL OR PROFESSIONAL REWARD If you want people to shift to be more creative and inventive, show them the benefits of being innovative rather than forcing them, demanding them or cajoling them. Being innovative is a
  • 14. fundamental competitive advantage to any professional and also has many positive benefits within our personal lives. It allows us all to solve our own, and our organization's, problems no matter what life throws at us. More than anything, innovators tend to experience the psychological phenomenon of ‘flow’ far more often than others because they are so engaged. Inspire your teams to explore their potential as innovators and creative leaders for their own benefit rather than for fame or fortune. Recent research has shown that human beings are highly motivated by the excitement and kudos of cracking a problem or mastering a new skill. In fact, when we reward inner motivated people (as most creative thinkers are) with money or promotion, often their performance falls. True innovators are highly motivated by problem-solving, making things better and taking on new challenges so allow them to self-organize and self-direct. Meanwhile fear rarely creates the right conditions for innovation and it is vital to repeatedly prove to people that taking risk and making mistakes will not lead to ‘pain’ (in the form of ridicule, alienation etc) Once they start to shift, it is vital that you trust them to grow and develop themselves and their ideas. All innovation projects can lead to valuable learnings for individuals and the organization. This means it is essential to reframe ‘failure’ as ‘successfully learning how not to do something’. That said, for many other types of people necessary within innovation teams, unless innovation habits or behaviors are measured in evaluation programs, it will not be prioritized. Ensure your incentive levers are balanced, rewarding innovation with a mix of credibility / kudos, promotion and material benefits. With open innovation, sharing rewards is as important as sharing the efforts. Incentivizing entire teams can work better than incentivizing individuals which can drive non-collaborative practices. 7. GIVE INNOVATION A CLEARLY SANCTIONED SPACE Unless innovation has an officially sanctioned physical place and conceptual space it will often run out of steam. Give people time - and a protected environment - to experiment, try new protocols, shift their mindset as well as space to take real risks and make mistakes. Signal to teams that some areas of the office and intranet (which can grow over time as the viral innovation culture spreads) are set up for innovation. This does categorically does not mean
  • 15. wasting money on bean-bags and other unnecessary and cliched effects. But it does mean designing space for serendipitous meetings, the experience of possibility, and the exploration and absorption of new ideas. In some cases, taking people out of the office into a new space like a ‘skunkworks’ (or separate start-up) - where new habits / principles apply rather than the old ways of doing things - can radically shift their behavior towards innovation (and it can replicate the start-up atmosphere that leads to more disruptive innovation). We are currently exploring how to turn complex innovation processes into tangible tools that can go on walls, in rooms and even on the floor. Thus an innovation process becomes a lived 3D experiences, as it does in the latest museum exhibits.
  • 16. 7 Killers of Innovation 1. Fear of loss of position, power, influence, reputation, credibility, income; cynical dismissal rather than appreciation of what is powerful (cynicism masks a loss of believe in one’s own potential and power) 2. Short-term political and economic rewards 3. Rigid, mechanistic, linear thinking disguised as ‘science’; ignorance of psychology and the role of ideas and beliefs in creating social phenomena 4. Rejection of deep thinking by criticizing it as ‘intellectualizing’ or ‘talk’; addiction to just deep thinking and the paralysis it causes 5. Silo thinking; clinging on to rigid social and professional structures; conformity over creativity 6. Resistance to new ideas and unfamiliar perspectives if they are inconvenient, especially for our current business model, fee structure or position; or if they are condoned by conventional wisdom and group think 7. Projection of personal fears and issues onto collaborative and innovative activities; focus on past failures at the expense of present and future possibilities; cognitive bias towards pessimism based on ‘horror’ stories
  • 17. 7 Drivers of Innovation 1. Enthusiastic willingness to challenge all our internal assumptions, beliefs and world views and let go of redundant ideas and assumptions; a keen psycho-social insight to perceive the human origins of systemic social issues 2. Freedom to fail, yet failing fast and failing once; learning through doing, doing through learning 3. Tenacious intention to create lasting impact over the seductive rewards of short-term, sexy, soundbite solutions; an almost obsessive search for opportunities for scale 4. Reward and celebration of courage and risk over complacency and obedience; shared experience of the inevitable moments of ambiguity and fear in any journey to discover new thoughts 5. Balance a focus on process with investment in an innovation culture and innovation intuition through repeated human-centered design practice 6. Profound humility for everyday people’s capacity to solve their own problems, self- organize and empower their peers; transition from controlling people and performance to curating maverick talent 7. Culture of candor and open challenging of individual and group blind spots; sufficient emotional intelligence to others’ assumptions, projections and resistance to new thoughts and challenge them with integrity, gentleness and power
  • 18. About the Author Nick Jankel is the founder and President of WECREATE. He works at the confluence of innovation, leadership and the collective good. Nick set up a strategy and innovation consultancy which helped launch Xbox and Dancing with Stars by the age of 25; built it into a a multi-million pound company with 50 staff, advising No.10 Downing Street on innovation before he was 30; and by the time he was 31 he had shifted focus to become a public intellectual, social innovator and capacity-builder co-creating a flourishing world. He has worked on disruptive innovation projects with companies such as P&G, Microsoft, Kraft, Unilever, Diageo, Virgin and many more, as well as with non-profits / governments such as WWF, the UK Ministry of Business and Oxfam. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has given keynotes and lectures at places as diverse as Oxford University, The Economist Innovation Summit, The Institute of Directors, The Kaos Pilots, The European Parliament and Ford Motor Cars. He writes for The Guardian and Financial Times on innovation and he and his work has been featured in The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Guardian, The Independent, RSA Journal, Marketing, Advertising Age, You’ll never discover new lands, unless you can leave sight of the shore. Nick acts as both a compass and a Gale Force 9 wind! Peter Wright, Marketing Director, Tesco (Britain's largest company)