Self Help

Collective Genius - Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, Kent L. Lineback

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Matheus Puppe

· 71 min read

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Here is a summary of the key points from the quotes:

  • Innovation and the ability to innovate are critical for companies to survive and thrive in today’s fast-paced world. Collective Genius provides valuable insights and a practical framework for how leaders can create an environment and culture that enables innovation.

  • The book challenges the notion that innovation comes from a single visionary leader. True innovation emerges through empowering teams, building trust and engagement, and enabling creative collaboration.

  • Leaders of innovation act as enablers who set the context rather than coming up with all the answers themselves. They foster openness, inclusiveness, and purpose to unlock the collective creative potential of their people.

  • Collective Genius shares inspiring stories and examples from innovative companies across diverse industries. It reveals the leadership principles and practices that allow creativity and breakthrough solutions to flourish from the bottom up.

  • The book provides a roadmap for how leaders at all levels can unleash talent, drive new ideas, sustain a culture of innovation, and lead fluid, adaptable teams in today’s complex business environment.

  • Collective Genius offers valuable, practical lessons for anyone aspiring to make their company truly innovative, competitive, and successful in meeting the challenges of massive disruption.

Here is a summary of the key points from the acknowledgments section:

  • The roots of this book go back to 1986 when Hill wrote a case study on Motown Productions president Suzanne de Passe, who offered insights on leading creative people.

  • In 1999, Hill met anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who introduced her to fellow activists. They shared perspectives on revolutionary leadership, including a quote from Nelson Mandela that leaders should stay behind their flock like a shepherd.

  • Over the next decade, Hill studied leaders of innovation in various contexts to understand how they foster collective genius.

  • She is grateful to the leaders profiled in the book for their generosity in sharing their experiences.

  • Her thinking was also shaped by many colleagues, co-authors, doctoral students, and research associates who contributed their talents over the years.

  • She thanks her editor, sponsor, and family for their support during the process of writing the book.

  • This book is about the connection between leadership and innovation, a topic that has received little attention despite extensive research on each topic individually.

  • The authors have studied leaders who were proven masters at fostering organizational innovation over the course of a decade. They found these leaders played a critical role in enabling their organizations to repeatedly produce innovative solutions.

  • In studying these leaders, the authors found that the typical conception of leadership today as setting a vision and inspiring followers is counterproductive for leading innovation.

  • Leading innovation cannot involve creating and selling a vision when the solution is unknown. Many innovative leaders had to rethink their roles.

  • The key insight is that instead of trying to come up with a vision and make innovation happen themselves, leaders of innovation create a context or environment where others feel inspired to innovate collaboratively.

  • This book explores what these leaders do, how they think, and who they are to enable collective, repeatable innovation in their organizations.

Here is a summary of the key points about Pixar Animation Studios’ ability to innovate:

  • Pixar has produced 14 highly successful CG animated films since 1995, an unmatched record of sustained innovation in the movie industry.

  • Pixar’s founders took 20 years to realize their dream of creating a feature-length CG animated film, overcoming many technological and creative hurdles.

  • Pixar combines technical innovation with great storytelling and filmmaking. Its movies are both critical and commercial successes.

  • Pixar faces the challenge of sustaining innovation over decades, requiring constant creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration among hundreds of people.

  • The company’s ability to repeatedly produce innovative hit films suggests it has a unique organizational culture and leadership that fosters collective genius.

  • Understanding how Pixar innovates again and again can provide insights into how other organizations can become more innovative over the long term.

Here are the key points in summarizing how Pixar innovates:

  • Making a computer-generated (CG) animated film is an extremely complex process involving hundreds of people across multiple roles over several years.

  • The production involves thousands of creative ideas, not just from the director but from every member of the 200-250 person team. Creativity is required at every level.

  • The process is highly iterative with constant feedback loops between different roles as the story evolves and digital elements are developed. It is messy, not linear.

  • The director has the overall creative vision but cannot specify everything. They rely on the team’s creativity across all artistic and technical areas.

  • The result is a remarkable collaborative achievement combining thousands of individual contributions into a seamless collective product.

  • This demonstrates the immense challenge of aligning individual genius into collective genius, which is what Pixar has mastered.

  • Innovation is often seen as the result of individual genius, but in reality it is a collaborative group process that brings together diverse slices of genius. Pixar films exemplify this, as the final product is the result of many people across different functions working together.

  • Leaders of innovative organizations focus on fostering three key capabilities: collaboration, discovery-driven learning, and integrative decision-making.

  • Collaboration allows the interplay of diverse ideas and expertise which is critical for innovation. Pixar promoted collaboration through inclusive daily review sessions.

  • Innovation requires extensive trial-and-error and experimentation, not just initial ideation. Pixar repeatedly revised and refined ideas.

  • Rather than imposing decisions or compromising, integrative decision-making combines opposing options to create superior hybrid solutions.

  • Together, these three capabilities allow an organization to amplify the talents of its individual members and consistently achieve collective genius through innovation. Leadership is crucial to implement practices and culture that enable these capabilities.

Here are the key points about why leading innovation requires managing inherent tensions and paradoxes:

  • Innovation relies on collaboration, discovery, and integrative thinking - all of which are challenging. Collaboration means dealing with interpersonal conflicts, discovery means experimenting and often failing, and integration means considering opposing ideas.

  • These challenges create inherent tensions and paradoxes that make leading innovation difficult. Leaders must balance autonomy and control, openness and continuity, individual contributions and team cohesion.

  • Managing these tensions requires courage, persistence, and thoughtfulness from leaders. They must create a context where people feel safe to take risks, make mistakes, and voice opposing views.

  • Leaders themselves often struggle with these paradoxes. They must role model the behaviors they want to see, foster psychological safety, and cultivate a culture of learning and exploration.

  • There are no easy formulas. Leading innovation requires constantly balancing competing demands and adjusting approaches based on the situation. The tensions never fully resolve.

  • Ultimately, leadership sets the tone and provides the environment for people to productively grapple with the inherent messiness of innovation. With good leadership, an organization can develop the skills to collaborate, experiment, and integrate in service of creativity.

  • Innovation requires a paradoxical combination of unleashing individual talents while also harnessing those talents collectively.

  • Creative collaboration involves passionate discussion and even disagreement, not just cooperation. Leaders need to actively encourage this “clash of ideas.”

  • Leaders must balance affirming both individual contributions and the collective group. This allows for a diverse range of ideas while still working towards a common goal.

  • Similarly, leaders must provide both support for sharing ideas and confrontation of those ideas through constructive criticism. This creates a culture where people feel safe to contribute but ideas are still critically examined.

  • Organizations like Pixar exemplify this through practices like daily reviews of work, open communication norms, office designs that promote spontaneous interaction, and credits that recognize both individual and group contributions.

  • Getting this balance right enables the generation of diverse, robust ideas through collaboration, which is essential for innovation.

  • Innovation requires a balance between experimentation/learning and performance. Leaders must foster experimentation and allow failures while still demanding results. Pixar’s experience with Toy Story 2 exemplifies this - they allowed experimentation with a straight-to-DVD sequel but then demanded a full theatrical release on a tight timeline when the experiment wasn’t working.

  • Innovation is an unpredictable, iterative process. Leaders must promote improvisation like a jazz band while also providing some structure and guardrails. Pixar does this through release dates, data tracking, and regular review meetings.

  • There is a tension between the need for autonomy/freedom to experiment and the need for some constraints. Pixar navigates this through project leaders, defined roles, and giving people autonomy within clear limits.

  • These paradoxes around experimentation, performance, improvisation and structure are critical for innovation. The leader’s ability to balance these tensions enables collective genius.

Here are the key points from the excerpt:

  • Structure like budgets, plans, goals, processes, and hierarchy are necessary to focus effort and prevent chaos, but too much structure can stifle creativity and innovation. Effective innovation leaders use just enough structure to facilitate collaboration and discovery-driven learning.

  • Integrating diverse ideas to create something novel requires moving from either-or thinking to both-and thinking. This involves balancing the paradoxes of showing both patience to allow ideas to develop while also maintaining urgency to meet deadlines and budgets.

  • Leaders often feel pressure to simplify options and make decisions quickly, but innovation requires resisting this urge and living with uncertainty long enough to explore possibilities. Courage is needed to persist in looking for the best solution rather than gravitating toward what seems most certain.

  • Postmortems and after-action reviews are a form of structure many innovative companies use to reflect on what worked well and what could be improved in the creative process. Pixar formalized this by asking people to identify five ways the process worked and five ways it could be better.

  • The paradoxes of innovation reveal the inherent tensions that make innovation difficult. Leaders must constantly navigate between opposites like freedom and responsibility, openness and closure, bottom-up initiative and top-down intervention.

  • The paradoxes exist because innovation requires collaboration, experimentation, and integrative decision making. These activities inevitably create tension.

  • The paradoxes explain why innovation takes both willingness and ability - the stresses make it hard work that requires desire and skill.

  • They also show that leading innovation requires a different, more facilitative approach to leadership compared to conventional command-and-control styles. Leaders must create the conditions for innovation to emerge rather than directing it themselves.

  • By understanding the paradoxes, leaders can better manage the tensions of innovation and adapt their behaviors to what the situation requires. The goal is to find the right balance between opposites like unleashing ideas and harnessing them toward solutions.

In summary, the paradoxes reveal key insights about the nature of innovation and what leading it entails. Recognizing why the tensions exist is the first step toward developing the skills and mindset to navigate them effectively.

Here is a summary of the key points about the future of leadership from the passage:

  • Leaders of innovation create organizations where people are willing and able to innovate, not just execute the leader’s ideas.

  • Conventional “follow me” leadership stifles innovation. Leaders need to foster innovation from everyone in the organization.

  • Vineet Nayar exemplified this new type of leadership as CEO of HCL Technologies. He transformed the declining Indian computer company into an innovative global IT services provider.

  • Nayar realized that hierarchical, command-and-control leadership would not work. He wanted to make drastic changes to empower employees.

  • He focused on shifting the “value zone” from inside HCL to the space where HCL worked directly with clients to provide innovative IT solutions. This required innovation from employees who worked directly with clients.

  • Nayar took actions to enable and encourage bottom-up innovation, such as transparently sharing business information, evaluating managers on empowering employees, and having employees evaluate managers’ effectiveness.

  • Nayar realized that to transform HCL into a company focused on creating value for customers through innovation, he needed to change how employees were led.

  • The old organizational structure and management approach stifled innovation and initiative from employees.

  • Nayar set up a group of young employees called the “Young Sparks” to launch an internal campaign called “Employees First” to engage employees around putting them, not management, at the center.

  • The campaign introduced the concept of “Employees First, Customers Second” (EFCS) and the character of Thambi to symbolize the empowered HCL employee who could drive innovation.

  • EFCS was about investing in employee development to unleash their potential to transform HCL’s business model and create more value for customers.

  • Some employees were initially skeptical, but Nayar stressed EFCS was about fundamentally changing how HCL operated, not just a soft HR program.

  • His goal was to create “value-focused employees willing and able to drive an innovative, sophisticated experience for customers” by changing how they were led.

  • EFCS (Employee First, Customer Second) was Nayar’s approach to empower employees to innovate and create value for customers.

  • Nayar wanted to “invert the organizational pyramid” by putting employees and customers at the top and management at the bottom.

  • He built trust through transparency initiatives like “trust pay,” Smart Service Desk, “U & I,” “Directions” meetings, and 360-degree reviews. These aimed to increase openness, candor, and employee empowerment.

  • Even after these changes, HCL remained quite centralized. Nayar realized he was still seen as having all the answers.

  • To further empower employees, Nayar reframed the CEO role as not having the answers. He asked employees strategic questions in “My Problems,” shifting responsibility for running HCL to the employees.

  • Overall, Nayar took many steps to increase transparency, trust, and employee responsibility in order to build a culture of innovation focused on creating value for customers.

  • Employees First Councils were online communities where employees could discuss ideas to improve the company. They focused on delighting customers and generating new business ideas. The councils became very popular with thousands of employees participating.

  • Nayar created an online portal called “My Blueprint” where managers could post their business plans for review by other managers. This increased transparency, knowledge sharing, and buy-in. Managers were more honest about challenges and focused on actions rather than hopes.

  • Nayar launched “iGen” where employees could propose solutions to company problems. This encouraged creative thinking and a culture of generating ideas.

  • An example of bottom-up innovation: An HCL employee organized cervical cancer screening events for women employees after noticing a pharma customer had a vaccine. This became the basis for a new BPO service HCL could offer pharma companies.

  • These changes led to employees innovating more in the “value zone.” Thousands of small innovations added up.

  • HCL started winning major contracts against global competitors, showing the transformation was working. Revenues grew while competitors declined in the recession.

  • Vineet Nayar took over as CEO of HCL Technologies in 2005 when it was a declining hardware company facing faster competitors.

  • Rather than seeing himself as the visionary leader with all the answers, Nayar viewed his role as a “social architect” who created the organizational setting to enable innovation by employees.

  • He actively rejected the notion of the leader as the sole source of direction. Instead, he asked questions and encouraged others to see themselves as sources of innovation.

  • Nayar focused on “Who are we?” and “Why do we exist?” to get employees to view themselves as partners with customers in finding innovative technology solutions.

  • He created systems and opportunities for employees to combine their unique talents and slices of genius to create collective genius.

  • Nayar recognized that changing the leadership culture in a large, hierarchical organization was challenging. But he persisted in fostering the new approach through transparency, power shifting, and accepting some turnover.

  • Under Nayar’s eight years of leadership, HCL expanded globally and revenues increased sixfold. It became recognized as one of the world’s most innovative and influential companies.

  • The key lesson is that to foster innovation, leaders must enable others rather than try to be the visionary with all the answers. Nayar recast the leader’s role to draw out the organization’s collective genius.

Here are the key points about Luca de Meo creating a community to foster willingness to innovate at Volkswagen:

  • De Meo joined Volkswagen in 2009 as head of marketing communications to help create the marketing function needed for VW’s ambitious goals.

  • VW aimed to become the #1 automaker within 10 years, so de Meo embraced a “1+1+1=1” theory - for VW to become #1, its marketing had to become the #1 innovative auto marketing team.

  • When de Meo arrived, VW marketing was fragmented into silos across 154 countries. It lacked a sense of shared purpose or community.

  • De Meo sought to unite the group into an innovative global marketing team through:

  1. Articulating the higher purpose of helping VW become the #1 automaker

  2. Breaking down silos by reorganizing and building cross-functional teams

  3. Creating global initiatives like Think Blue to build a shared identity and culture

  4. Using symbols and stories to reinforce the new identity and community

  • By creating a sense of community united around a compelling purpose, de Meo fostered the willingness to collaborate and take risks needed to innovate.

  • Luca de Meo became head of marketing at Volkswagen in 2007. He was already an experienced auto executive, having previously worked at Renault, Toyota, and Fiat.

  • At VW, de Meo found a decentralized marketing organization. Each country market developed its own marketing strategy with limited oversight from headquarters. This resulted in inconsistent global brand messaging.

  • The culture at VW was very engineering- and product-focused. Marketing was seen as a necessary but less strategic function. Innovation was considered the domain of product development, not marketing.

  • De Meo aimed to foster a willingness in his marketing team to be more innovative and collaborative. This went against the prevailing culture and ways of working at VW.

  • However, de Meo found there was an underlying pride among employees in VW’s history and accomplishments as an auto engineering leader. This provided a foundation on which he could try to build a more innovative marketing organization.

  • Building the Volkswagen brand was critical to addressing the challenges de Meo found at VW. A strong, unified brand worldwide would help VW achieve its goal of becoming the leading carmaker.

  • De Meo made brand values like “innovative, responsible, and valuable” the DNA of marketing to align people around a shared purpose. This fostered innovation more than just focusing on tasks and processes.

  • De Meo designed experiences like Marketing Worx! to push people together to collaborate in new ways. This helped break down silos and gave people the experience of innovating as a team.

  • He also changed ongoing work like new car launches to require cross-functional collaboration focused on building the brand, not just completing tasks.

  • Overall, de Meo focused on bringing people together around the higher purpose of the VW brand. This created a willingness to innovate and perform at a higher level as a community.

Here is a summary of the key points about the up! series by Volkswagen:

  • The up! was a new city car launched by Volkswagen under Luca de Meo to compete with small cars like the Smart car and Fiat 500.

  • De Meo put together a young team of 11 marketers to handle the integrated 360 marketing strategy for the up!, giving them lots of autonomy. He encouraged them to take risks and make mistakes as part of the process.

  • The team struggled at first without clear direction, so de Meo eventually appointed an experienced leader to help focus their ideas before presenting to the board.

  • The board was impressed with the innovative 130-page integrated launch plan developed by the team.

  • De Meo used the up! and later the New Beetle launches as ‘real life’ tests of collaboration across functions.

  • He created a permanent dedicated team to handle integrated launch plans for all new cars.

  • The up! launch illustrated de Meo’s approach of pushing people to work together in new ways, take risks, and build an innovative marketing community.

Here are the key points summarizing the passage:

  • Luca de Meo became CMO of Volkswagen in 2009 and faced challenges in rallying the marketing team around a unifying vision.

  • He initiated the Marketing Worx! program to bring marketers together to develop new branding ideas. One result was “Think Blue”, focused on environmental sustainability.

  • Think Blue started as a marketing program but grew into a guiding principle across the whole VW organization. It tapped into broad interest in sustainability.

  • De Meo created the context and community that allowed Think Blue to emerge through bottom-up innovation rather than top-down decree.

  • During de Meo’s time, VW continued its successful growth, meeting sales and profit goals ahead of schedule.

  • De Meo encouraged seeking outside recognition for marketing excellence as a way to stimulate collaboration. VW won awards for Think Blue and advertising creativity.

  • The key was fostering a sense of community engaged in a shared vision, which drives people’s willingness to undertake the challenges of innovation.

  • Pentagram is an unusual and successful design partnership of highly talented individuals, who have each achieved prominence in their field before being invited to join.

  • The partnership operates with a balance between individual autonomy and communal responsibility. Each partner works directly with clients and has their own team, but is also expected to contribute as a member of the overall community.

  • Pentagram was founded in the 1970s by five internationally renowned designers in London. It quickly grew to be one of the most esteemed firms in its field, working with major corporate clients.

  • The partnership values collaboration and critiquing each other’s work to improve quality. Partners present their work at semiannual meetings where discussion is candid but not personal.

  • Beyond their common purpose of doing great design work, Pentagram has specific values and rules of engagement that enable the community to function successfully over long periods of time.

  • These include principles like “egoless behavior,” a commitment to collaboration, and an understanding that the health of the community takes priority over individual interests.

  • The leaders create the conditions for innovation by instilling shared values and engagement rules to align autonomous individuals towards communal goals. This allows creative talents to thrive while sustaining group cohesion over time.

Here are the key points from the summary:

  • Pentagram was founded on the principles of equality and generosity among partners. All partners were equal shareholders and had equal say in decisions.

  • Partners shared resources and profits equally within each office. This promoted collaboration over competition.

  • New partners were brought in based on reputation and ability to contribute, not seniority. This maintained quality and energy.

  • Partners gave up individual recognition by not having their names on the shingle. This reinforced teamwork and common purpose.

  • The shared purpose was to maximize impact on society through high quality design. This drove the desire to attract big clients.

  • Shared values and principles held the talented partners together over time rather than having the organization fly apart.

  • The retirement of founder Colin Forbes tested the organization, but shared principles allowed smooth leadership transition.

In summary, Pentagram’s strong shared purpose and commitment to principles of equality and collaboration allowed it to retain talented partners and exert outsized influence through design over many decades.

  • Pentagram aspired to solve big, complex problems through good design in order to improve society. They took on ambitious projects that required new solutions.

  • Collaboration was critical to achieving their bold ambitions. Pentagram was built on collaborative practice - partners worked together, combining abilities and ideas. They saw each other as allies in helping clients.

  • Learning was highly valued as core to innovation and collaboration. The partner presentations were intense learning experiences. Being around smart people made partners perform better.

  • Responsibility was shown through accountability to partners and clients, and producing work that benefited society. Pentagram aimed to create positive impact through design.

In summary, Pentagram’s core shared values that enabled innovation were bold ambition, collaboration, learning, and responsibility. These values shaped priorities and choices, and influenced individual and collective thought and action.

  • Purpose and shared values are critical for forming and sustaining an innovative community, but they are not sufficient on their own. Rules of engagement are also needed to enable collaboration, learning, and integrative decision-making.

  • Rules of engagement are the informal behavioral guidelines that support how community members interact and think as they pursue innovation together.

  • Key rules for how people interact include building mutual trust, embracing creative abrasion, and committing to resolving issues constructively.

  • Mutual trust enables people to take risks, share ideas openly, and endure creative clashes.

  • Creative abrasion allows vigorous debates and disagreements to occur while maintaining mutual respect.

  • A commitment to resolve issues constructively focuses on understanding different perspectives and finding integrative solutions.

  • Key rules for how people think include engaging in ongoing shared learning and making integrative decisions that consider multiple options and perspectives.

  • The partners at Pentagram demonstrated many of these rules of engagement, which helped sustain their innovative design community over decades. The rules enabled constructive interactions and decision-making even amidst dynamic tensions.

Here are the key points about how leaders create the willingness to innovate within an organization:

  • Shared purpose provides meaning, clarity and direction for innovation efforts. It helps align and motivate people. Pentagram’s purpose was to do great design work.

  • Values define what behaviors are acceptable in pursuing the purpose. Pentagram’s values included integrity, excellence, collaboration, and respect for clients.

  • Rules of interaction foster the openness and trust needed for innovation. Key rules at Pentagram were mutual trust, mutual respect, and mutual influence among partners.

  • Rules of thinking ensure an effective problem-solving process. Pentagram questioned everything, was data-driven in its decisions, and took a holistic view of challenges.

  • All of Pentagram’s practices and principles reinforced its purpose, values and rules to bind members together as an innovative community.

Here is a summary of the key points about creative abrasion from the Pixar example:

  • Creative abrasion involves generating and refining diverse ideas through discourse, debate, and even conflict. It is a collaborative process where group members build on each other’s ideas.

  • Creative abrasion was displayed at Pixar when two films, Up and Cars Toons, needed to be rendered at the same time, creating a resource conflict.

  • The leaders, including Greg Brandeau, John Kirkman, Anne Pia, and Chris Walker, brought together people from different disciplines and backgrounds to address the problem through discussion and debate.

  • They considered multiple options, like expanding capacity or shifting schedules, that were proposed and critiqued by the group. The abrasion of these diverse perspectives led to an innovative solution.

  • Creative abrasion requires a diverse community bound by shared purpose, values and engagement rules to contain unproductive conflict. Pixar’s culture enabled abrasion to be productive.

  • The Pixar case illustrates that innovation emerges from abrasion of diverse ideas, not a single flash of insight. Creative abrasion is key to developing collaborative innovation.

  • Up was a feature film projected to make $1 billion. Cars Toons was a planned series of shorts based on Cars characters that would air on TV.

  • Rendering is the final stage of producing a CG film, where computers calculate each frame using the artists’ instructions. It requires massive computing power.

  • Cars Toons needed to render at the same time as Up, requiring the entire rendering farm for 2 weeks in September. This was a problem because features like Up take priority for resources.

  • Several factors caused Cars Toons to require the full farm: technically challenging ray tracing effects, a complex Tokyo set, production delays pushing rendering to a busy time, and rendering all at once rather than distributed over time.

  • Pixar was scaling up production which would increase demands on resources. The systems department prided itself on planning for contingencies, but didn’t know about the Cars Toons situation until late.

  • The rules were clear that feature films like Up took priority over shorts like Cars Toons for resources. The issue was that most groups didn’t know about the conflict yet.

  • There was a conflict over computer rendering resources between the production of Pixar’s feature film Up and the Cars Toons shorts.

  • Up had been scheduled and promised certain rendering resources to finish on time for its release date. The Cars Toons shorts needed those same resources to be delivered on time as promised.

  • Pixar’s systems group, led by Greg Brandeau, was caught in the middle trying to allocate limited rendering capacity between the two productions.

  • Meetings between Brandeau’s team and the producers of Up and Cars Toons reached an impasse, with both refusing to compromise on their rendering needs.

  • Brandeau had to consider options like buying more computers or delaying one of the productions, but none were ideal solutions.

  • Ultimately the conflict highlighted how Pixar’s rapid growth in production was straining its technical infrastructure and planning systems. Better forecasting and resource allocation was needed to prevent future conflicts.

  • The situation forced difficult tradeoffs and tensions between production teams, but Brandeau aimed to handle it in a way that maintained trust and a sense of shared purpose.

  • Pixar was working on two major projects - the feature film Up and the Cars Toons short films. Both needed to render a huge number of frames before their deadlines.

  • Pixar’s current computing capacity was insufficient to render all the frames for both projects in time. They estimated needing 250 more computers.

  • Buying new computers would cost $2 million, which wasn’t feasible. Renting/leasing was only 10% cheaper and they wouldn’t keep the equipment.

  • Other options like optimizing frames, using Disney’s rendering farm, or cloud computing were not viable due to technical limitations or lack of time/resources.

  • As the deadline approached, stress levels rose and departments started blaming each other, but ultimately the systems team felt responsible for finding a solution.

  • By the Thursday before the rendering was supposed to start, they still had no good options. New computers or major delays seemed inevitable.

  • But Pixar’s leadership insisted both projects must finish on time, so the systems team kept looking for creative solutions, feeling duty-bound not to let their colleagues down.

Here is a summary of the key points about creative abrasion from the passage:

  • Creative abrasion is a process where potential solutions are created, explored, and modified through debate and discourse. It often involves disagreement or argument as ideas compete to find the best solution.

  • It is different from brainstorming, which focuses just on generating as many ideas as possible without critique. Creative abrasion involves critically discussing, evaluating, and comparing ideas.

  • Its key ingredients are diversity of thinking and cognitive conflict over ideas, not interpersonal conflict.

  • The diversity needed is diversity of thinking - people who think differently, not just demographic diversity.

  • Cognitive conflict means conflict over ideas and approaches with the aim of learning and improving, not winning or dominating.

  • Creative abrasion requires a community built on shared purpose, values and rules so people feel safe to suggest ideas and hear criticism.

  • The Pixar example showed how creative abrasion resolved their rendering crisis through borrowing computers. This led to both a tactical solution and a new strategic way of thinking.

Here is a summary of the key points about creative abrasion:

  • Creative abrasion refers to the productive friction that arises when people with diverse perspectives and skills collaborate to solve problems. The clash of ideas leads to innovation.

  • Diversity is crucial for creative abrasion. Leaders should bring together people with different skills, knowledge, perspectives, and working styles. Diversity attracts talented people and sparks innovation.

  • Conflict is inevitable when passionate, diverse people collaborate. Some conflict is good - it produces healthy debate and better ideas. But leaders must discourage unproductive interpersonal conflict.

  • Managing creative abrasion is challenging. People can feel threatened when their ideas are challenged. Leaders must create a sense of community and common purpose so people feel safe offering ideas.

  • Leaders play a key role in creative abrasion. They must remind the group of its shared values and purpose when dysfunctional conflict arises. They need to establish ground rules so debate remains constructive. And they must highlight how diversity contributes to innovation.

  • eBay Germany became one of eBay’s most successful sites under Philipp Justus’ leadership. When visiting, Meg Whitman challenged them to find new ways to drive growth.

  • Stefan Groß-Selbeck, the new German country manager, reported they were experimenting with “micro-projects” to drive traffic at little cost. The results looked promising but were risky.

  • eBay was founded in the US in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar and quickly became the top online auction site. It expanded globally, acquiring the German site in 1999 and renaming it eBay Germany.

  • Most founders left, so eBay hired Philipp Justus to lead eBay Germany. He was tasked with building ties with eBay, managing growth, and sustaining the agility and community spirit.

  • eBay wanted to foster a sense of community, believing it was key to eBay’s success and culture. The German team already had this strong community spirit.

  • Justus was now a senior VP overseeing Europe and visiting the Berlin offices when Groß-Selbeck reported on the micro-projects to drive growth. The projects were promising but risky.

Here are the key points about the merging of Alando and eBay in Germany:

  • Justus began installing eBay practices at eBay Germany, like focusing on “Powersellers” and implementing listing fees. The listing fees caused outrage among users initially, but ultimately improved site quality.

  • Migrating the eBay Germany site to eBay’s global platform in San Jose led to technical issues and loss of functionality that upset users. Listings dropped drastically. Justus flew to San Jose to press for urgent changes, which helped resolve the most pressing issues.

  • After migration, innovation at eBay Germany slowed due to the increased bureaucracy and processes required to make changes on the global platform. Small changes that once took 30 minutes now took days or weeks. This frustrated the German team.

  • To jumpstart growth, a product manager and team tested a new holiday promotion idea over a weekend using old Alando servers, violating eBay processes. The successful promotion showed the value of quick experiments.

  • This first “micro-project” led eBay Germany to start testing many small experiments, iterating quickly based on data. Top management endorsed this approach to recapture the innovation capabilities they’d had with Alando.

So in summary, the merger created initial growing pains as eBay Germany adjusted to being part of a large global company, which slowed their pace of innovation. By returning to small, rapid experiments, they aimed to regain their agility while operating within the eBay system.

  • eBay Germany launched “micro-projects” - small, quick experiments to try new ideas without going through the normal corporate approval process.

  • One example was a Christmas treasure hunt promotion that drove lots of traffic but also exposed risks like hackers and site crashes.

  • Justus, formerly head of eBay Germany and now in a corporate role, debated whether to shut down the risky micro-projects.

  • He decided to allow them to continue because he felt the ability to improvise and experiment was important for innovation, despite the risks.

  • Over 2 years eBay Germany did over 80 micro-projects, learning from both successes and failures.

  • They added some structure to the micro-project process to focus on core business impact and not spread resources too thin.

  • Through continuous experimentation, eBay Germany became one of the most innovative parts of eBay and the fastest growing market. The micro-projects allowed local innovation despite being part of a large global corporation.

Here are the key points from the eBay Germany case:

  • eBay Germany pioneered the use of “micro-projects” - small, rapid experiments - to drive innovation and growth. This allowed them to try out new ideas quickly outside of normal processes.

  • Leaders like Phillip Justus and Stefan Groß-Selbeck encouraged these micro-projects while also demanding data-driven experimentation and a focus on results. They balanced structure and improvisation.

  • The micro-projects led to innovations like EasyLister that were adopted more broadly within eBay.

  • eBay Germany’s success highlighted the power of constant, rapid experimentation to fuel innovation through trial and error and learning.

  • The case illustrates the three elements of creative agility: quickly pursuing new ideas through experiments, reflecting on the outcomes, and adjusting based on learnings.

  • Leaders foster creative agility by encouraging experimentation while also demanding rigor, balancing structure and improvisation, and facilitating learning.

In summary, the eBay Germany case demonstrates how leaders can promote innovation through rapid iteration, data-driven experimentation, learning and adjustment. Creative agility powered eBay Germany’s success.

Here are some key points about creative resolution in leadership:

  • Creative resolution is the process of synthesizing diverse ideas and viewpoints into an integrated solution. It requires leaders to foster constructive debate, manage disagreements, and bring together opposing perspectives.

  • Leaders need to create a “container” for debate by establishing shared purpose, rules of engagement, and norms for handling conflict. This provides a foundation for integrating different ideas.

  • Disagreements and conflict are inevitable in bringing together diverse perspectives. Leaders should view these as opportunities for learning and creativity rather than threats.

  • Leaders need to actively facilitate resolution of disagreements through open and honest dialogue. They should encourage people to voice concerns, ask clarifying questions, and seek compromise.

  • Resolution requires identifying common ground and shared interests that different parties have in solving the problem at hand. Leaders need to highlight areas of agreement amidst disagreement.

  • Leaders must resist the urge to force a solution prematurely before fully exploring different options. Patience and taking the time for dialogue is key.

  • Creative resolution produces an integrated solution that is better than any individual proposals. It blends the best elements of diverse ideas into something new and transcendent.

  • The end result should feel like a “win-win”, satisfying key needs of different parties. People should feel heard even if the final solution isn’t exactly what they wanted.

The key is that creative resolution requires active leadership to foster constructive debate and bring together opposing views. It takes patience, facilitation skills, and the ability to identify shared interests and common ground. Done right, it produces superior solutions.

  • Google had rapidly growing storage needs driven by the expansion beyond search into applications like Gmail. The existing Google File System (GFS) was not well-suited for these new storage demands.

  • Bill Coughran, head of Google’s infrastructure group, needed to decide how to meet the new storage needs. Two teams emerged with different solutions:

  • The “Big Table” team proposed adding software stacks on top of GFS to support Gmail and other applications.

  • The “Build from Scratch” team wanted to build an entirely new system tailored for both search and applications.

  • Coughran let both teams fully pursue their ideas to build prototypes, even though he thought Big Table was more likely to succeed. He knew neither he nor anyone could know for sure which would be best without exploring both approaches.

  • After two years of work, it was decision time. Coughran had to choose one system and resolve the conflict between the two passionate teams.

  • The key challenge was making an integrative decision that combined the best ideas, rather than choosing one approach at the exclusion of the other. This creative resolution capability is critical for innovation but often difficult.

  • Bill Coughran led the infrastructure group at Google in a loose, bottom-up way to encourage innovation and autonomy. He gave engineers freedom but maintained some structure through practices like engineering reviews.

  • Coughran assembled a diverse team of technical leads and engineering directors to provide guidance. Tech leads offered technical direction on projects while engineering directors focused more on people management.

  • He instituted practices like quarterly summits and engineering reviews to share information, spark debate, and keep teams focused. Reviews were times for Coughran to ask probing questions and inject intellectual tension.

  • Coughran strived to create the right balance of freedom and structure. He wanted to avoid too much top-down control that would stifle innovation but also insular teams that lost sight of the big picture.

  • The culture attracted ambitious, talented engineers who expected autonomy. Coughran needed leaders who allowed subordinates freedom to make decisions and mistakes.

  • Overall, Coughran led in a way that encouraged creativity within an environment that still maintained priorities, information flow, and productive friction between teams.

  • Bill Coughran oversaw two competing storage system teams at Google - the Big Table team building on top of the existing GFS, and the Build from Scratch team trying to rethink storage from the bottom up.

  • He let the teams independently develop their ideas rather than forcing direct debate, acting as a cross-pollinator sharing challenges between them.

  • This allowed creative abrasion within each team’s “marketplace of ideas”. It also avoided unproductive conflict from engineers debating before ideas were fully formed.

  • After 2 years, it was clear the Big Table approach was better short-term, though Build from Scratch had innovative ideas.

  • Coughran and his ED Kathy Polizzi guided Build from Scratch to “bump up against reality” by testing their system at scale. This led them to recognize its limitations.

  • Big Table was implemented, but soon both systems were seen as inadequate for Google’s growing needs.

  • Rather than disband Build from Scratch, Coughran folded them into the next-gen storage system team to incorporate their learnings.

In summary, Coughran fostered innovation through creative abrasion within teams, avoiding unproductive conflict between teams. When Build from Scratch’s limitations were revealed, he incorporated their insights into the next evolution.

Here are the key points about how leaders can foster creative resolution:

  • Leaders guide their organizations to keep multiple options open. They encourage “both-and” thinking rather than “either-or.” This allows complexity to be worked through and better solutions to emerge.

  • Leaders resist pressure to make quick decisions. They are patient and willing to cope with messiness and ambiguity for a time. They trust the process will produce superior solutions.

  • Leaders set expectations that problems will be looked at from multiple angles. They send teams back to integrate more perspectives rather than settling quickly.

  • Leaders give conflicting ideas time to develop before deciding which to pursue. But they use judgment about when to start narrowing options.

  • Leaders create spaces for people to voice minority views and play devil’s advocate. This surfaces assumptions and fosters divergent thinking.

  • Leaders highlight interconnections between ideas and search for integrated solutions. They recombine components in new ways.

  • Leaders shape the decision process but don’t impose solutions. They allow integrative solutions to emerge from a healthy process.

In summary, leaders foster creative resolution by promoting both-and thinking, keeping options open, allowing time for ideas to develop, surfacing assumptions, and guiding the process toward integrated solutions. They shape a decision environment conducive to superior innovation.

Here are the key points summarizing the framework for leading innovation presented in the previous chapters:

  • Innovation requires creating a willingness and ability to do the hard work.

  • Willingness comes from building a community with shared purpose, values, and rules of engagement.

  • Ability comes from developing three organizational capabilities: creative abrasion, creative agility, and creative resolution.

  • This involves things like encouraging debate, experimentation, flexibility, integration, discovery-driven learning, and collaborative decision making.

  • The framework aims to help leaders unleash and harness the collective genius of their people to produce breakthrough innovations.

  • Now the authors introduce the idea of “collective genius 2.0” - adapting the framework to address changing conditions like more complex, interconnected problems that cross organizational and sector boundaries.

  • They highlight leaders experimenting with new approaches to invent the future, foreshadowing the need for open, networked, collaborative innovation.

Here are the key points about the Calit2 ecosystem:

  • Calit2 was created by the state of California as one of four research institutes to foster innovation and maintain California’s leadership in technology.

  • It was a partnership between UC San Diego and UC Irvine.

  • The goal was to create an environment outside normal institutional boundaries where researchers could collaborate on large, complex projects.

  • Larry Smarr, a pioneering computer scientist, was brought in as founding director.

  • Smarr aimed to break down barriers between disciplines and organizations to stimulate innovation.

  • Calit2 brought together over 200 faculty and hundreds of students from diverse fields to work on projects jointly.

  • It focused on multidisciplinary initiatives too risky or complex for a single lab or department.

  • Calit2 had to figure out how to foster collaboration among diverse groups not used to working together.

  • Smarr realized he had to make Calit2 “collaboration-ready” to achieve this.

  • This required changing norms, building trust, aligning incentives, creating shared vision and purpose.

  • Calit2 shows it’s possible to create a thriving innovation ecosystem spanning disciplinary and organizational boundaries.

  • But it requires extraordinary leadership to foster the openness, trust and alignment needed for groups to innovate collectively across boundaries.

  • Calit2 and the Pfizer Legal Alliance (PLA) are examples of innovation ecosystems that bring together diverse groups to collaborate.

  • Calit2 connects faculty and partners across disciplines, departments, and campuses at UC Irvine and UC San Diego to address complex challenges. Larry Smarr was brought in to lead it.

  • The PLA brings together Pfizer and 19 of its external law firms to reinvent legal collaboration. Amy Schulman created it to have the firms function more as a single firm rather than competitors.

  • Both face the challenge of getting autonomous groups and individuals to collaborate voluntarily across organizational boundaries.

  • Strong governance structures and processes are important, but the biggest challenge is cultivating willingness to collaborate among competitive groups.

  • Community is key - the groups need to develop a sense of shared purpose. The ecosystems depend on building trust and relationships to enable collaborative innovation.

  • When creating an innovation ecosystem, leaders should not focus solely on legalistic governance structures and rules. These are important but not sufficient.

  • The most fundamental task is fostering the willingness of participants to collaborate and innovate together. This requires building a sense of community and common purpose.

  • At Calit2, the leader Larry Smarr focused first on identifying the specific strategic areas of focus that could align people around a shared purpose.

  • He then worked to develop inclusive governance structures and rules of engagement, ensuring all voices were heard in decision-making.

  • Smarr and his team also focused on creating physical spaces and tools that brought people together and enabled collaboration.

  • Throughout, Smarr worked to foster an overarching sense of community united around the mission of pioneering new technologies. This willingness to collaborate was the foundation for innovation.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • Calit2 was designed to be an open, collaborative space to encourage connections and serendipitous encounters between researchers from different disciplines. The buildings had few walls and offices, and the spaces could be reconfigured easily to accommodate different team sizes and needs.

  • Rather than dictate the research direction, Calit2’s leaders, especially Larry Smarr, saw themselves primarily as catalysts. They brought together the right people, made introductions, and created an environment where talented researchers could pursue problems they were passionate about.

  • Smarr focused on building bridges between Calit2 and the outside world to bring in new ideas and partners. This included attending conferences, giving talks, building relationships with industry, and creating global research partnerships.

  • A key role for Calit2 and Smarr was to look to the future and sense emerging innovations before they became mainstream. The goal was to give Calit2 researchers a head start.

  • Overall, Calit2 aimed to cultivate an open, collaborative ecosystem that catalyzed connections and boundary-crossing research to invent the future. The leaders focused on creating the right environment rather than dictating the direction.

  • The Pfizer Legal Alliance (PLA) was set up by Amy Schulman when she was Pfizer’s general counsel to manage the company’s legal work through a small group of preferred external law firms.

  • A key part of the PLA was replacing the traditional billable hour model with flat fees to encourage efficiency, collaboration, and proactive legal counsel. Firms had to be willing to experiment with this new model to join the PLA.

  • Schulman appointed Ellen Rosenthal to be the hands-on leader and chief counsel of the PLA. Rosenthal set up a steering committee including lead Pfizer lawyers to govern the alliance.

  • The steering committee worked closely with each firm to set annual flat fees based on anticipated workload. This required mutual understanding and adjustment.

  • The flat fee structure forced law firms to collaborate with Pfizer on how to provide the most useful, efficient legal services. It moved away from the traditional model of law firms just billing hours.

  • Inclusive leadership and governance were essential to make the PLA function as a community focused on Pfizer’s needs rather than a collection of individual firms.

  • Amy Schulman and Mark Rosenthal created the Pfizer Legal Alliance (PLA) to provide Pfizer with targeted, efficient, and strategic legal advice.

  • They assembled a group of top law firms into an alliance that collaborated closely with Pfizer’s in-house legal team.

  • The PLA firms shared information and expertise, coordinated on cases, and invested in training Pfizer lawyers.

  • This new model reduced Pfizer’s legal costs by 20% while improving quality.

  • Schulman encouraged open communication, feedback, and inclusive leadership to build relationships and trust within the PLA.

  • The PLA developed programs to train young lawyers and promote diversity, acting in some ways like an integrated firm.

  • Through collaboration and a sense of shared purpose, the PLA became a satisfying place for talented lawyers to work together and learn from each other.

Here are the key points about the personal qualities of effective innovation leaders based on the book:

  • Idealists, yet pragmatists - They have bold ambition and take on complex problems, but also understand the need for practicality and perseverance.

  • Holistic thinkers, yet action oriented - They see problems in all their complexity and nuance, but can also take action and make decisions when needed.

  • Generous, yet demanding - They empower others and share credit, but also set high expectations and hold people accountable.

  • Human, yet resilient - They connect personally and show vulnerability, but don’t get discouraged and can recover from setbacks.

The leaders balance paradoxical traits that allow them to foster innovation communities. They are big picture thinkers who can get into details, empower others yet hold them accountable, and personally connect but persist through challenges. Finding and developing leaders with this “right stuff” is key for organizations seeking to build innovation capacity.

Here are the key points I gathered from the passage about Steve Kloeblen at IBM:

  • Kloeblen believed the people already at IBM were a prime source of innovative ideas for growth, not just acquiring outside companies.

  • He was intrigued by the idea of business opportunities at the “bottom of the pyramid” (BoP) - selling products to the poor in developing countries. He started an email group of young IBMers to explore this.

  • The group, called the World Development Initiative (WDI), grew to over 100 volunteers working on this in addition to their regular jobs.

  • Kloeblen’s role was to coach and guide, not dictate. He encouraged the group to set their own goals and organize their work.

  • The WDI became an extensive global network pursuing opportunities to improve lives of the poor through commercially viable IBM technology.

  • Teams focused on specific regions, technologies, functions. Kloeblen let the structure stay fluid.

  • He stepped in to nudge and guide when needed, especially if the group violated agreed-upon values and norms.

  • His aim was to develop innovative leadership skills in these young IBMers to help achieve the company’s goals.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • Stan Kloeben started the World Development Initiative (WDI) at IBM to explore business opportunities at the “base of the pyramid” (BoP) - lower-income populations in emerging markets.

  • The WDI grew to over 400 members from many countries and functions. They worked on innovative projects like branchless banking in India and improving infrastructure in Africa.

  • The voluntary nature of the WDI made it an excellent leadership development crucible. Members learned skills like managing diversity, bold thinking, integrative solutions, building community, and resilience.

  • Many WDI members went on to key roles at IBM where they could apply their innovation leadership skills more broadly.

  • The lesson is to provide opportunities for potential leaders to reveal themselves and develop skills by unleashing their passions to drive innovation, rather than relying only on formal leadership programs.

  • The WDI’s greatest legacy was developing a new generation of innovation leaders who are now applying those lessons across IBM.

  • Jacqueline Novogratz founded Acumen in 2001 to invest in early-stage enterprises providing services like healthcare, water, and education to low-income communities.

  • Acumen used a venture capital model and “patient capital” to make long-term, high-risk investments aimed at social, not just financial, returns.

  • Finding good investment candidates was difficult because Acumen needed leaders with both business skills and a commitment to social impact.

  • In 2007, Acumen created the Global Fellows program to train future leaders in business skills and moral imagination/values needed for social enterprise.

  • After training, Fellows worked at Acumen portfolio companies to gain on-the-ground experience. Many started their own social ventures after.

  • Seeing the value of the Fellows program, Acumen launched regional programs to develop local leaders and build ecosystems for social innovation.

  • The regional programs brought together diverse participants and fostered cross-sector collaboration.

  • Acumen believes developing leaders is core to its mission of tackling poverty through business approaches. Its leadership programs help create networks of innovation leaders.

Sung-joo Kim, chair and chief visionary officer of Sungjoo Group and MCM Products AG, overcame gender discrimination and patriarchal business culture in South Korea to build an innovative global luxury brand. She hired and empowered women at all levels, fostering a horizontal, communicative culture. Kim brought together diverse teams across continents, providing development opportunities for employees. Through her inclusive leadership, Kim transformed MCM into a twenty-first century luxury brand appealing to independent, global women. The case shows how empowering marginalized talent can enable innovation and illustrate

  • Sung-joo Kim built MCM into a global luxury brand, growing revenue from $100 million to $400 million in 6 years.

  • She encouraged open debate and conflict in design meetings, to foster collaboration between teams from different cultures. An example is a heated discussion between Korean and European designers over a new bag design.

  • Kim gave her team “stretch assignments” beyond their formal roles, providing growth opportunities uncommon in large companies. This helped build capabilities in collaboration and innovation.

  • Key hires like Carol Fok and Kris Lee brought critical new skills in sales, marketing and understanding younger luxury consumers.

  • The R&D team pushed innovation in sustainable materials, decreasing PVC use and partnering with artisan communities.

  • Kim has been recognized as an influential leader in Asia for empowering predominantly Korean women to build a billion-dollar company, defying expectations.

  • Her story shows how emerging markets can drive global innovation when leaders create the right environment, despite external barriers. She equipped people with leadership capabilities to unlock extraordinary innovations.

Here is a summary of the key points from the excerpt:

  • The authors used qualitative, inductive research methods including observation, interviews, and writing detailed stories to study leadership and innovation. They were influenced by various scholars in ethnography, grounded theory, and qualitative research such as John Lofland, Kathy Charmaz, and Ann Langley.

  • They stand on the shoulders of extensive prior research on leading innovation from a variety of fields including management, engineering, architecture, and urban planning. Key works include those by Kim Clark, Clayton Christensen, Gary Hamel, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and Michael Tushman among others.

  • Their perspective focuses on connecting the micro level (leaders) to the macro view of innovation. In contrast to much existing work which is macro in scope, they aim to provide insight into the role of leadership in innovation through their qualitative approach.

  • Given their inductive, qualitative methods aimed at developing new theory, they cannot prove causality or that leadership definitively matters for innovation. However, they believe their findings suggest the importance of leadership for innovation and offer promising directions for future research.

Here is a summary of the key points from the articles:

  • The equilibrium model of organizing proposes that organizations need to balance support and challenge to foster innovation. Too much support without challenge leads to groupthink, while too much challenge without support leads to fear of failure. The ideal is “productive tension”.

  • Psychological safety, where people feel they can speak up without retribution, is key for learning and innovation. But too much psychological safety without accountability can reduce performance.

  • Leaders should encourage productive debate, foster psychological safety, and confront incompetence to achieve the right balance. Post-mortems after failures can promote learning if done in a spirit of inquiry rather than blame.

  • Organizations should balance structure with the ability to improvise and adapt. Rigid structures stifle innovation, while too little structure leads to chaos. Leaders can provide simple generative rules to guide innovation instead of detailed plans.

  • Leadership of innovation requires attracting talent, intrinsic motivators like purpose and autonomy, and building community. Community creates shared identity and builds social capital to enable collaboration.

  • Innovative organizations act less like rigid machines and more like living systems. They have alignment around vision and values but decentralize authority. Leaders act as gardeners rather than controllers.

In summary, leading innovation requires balancing seemingly contradictory elements like support and challenge, safety and accountability, structure and flexibility. Leaders must attend to both task and relational aspects of their roles.

Here is a summary of the key points from the excerpt:

  • Leaders of innovation are flexible and willing to adapt organizational structures as needed. They pay attention to emerging interaction patterns and make changes (course corrections) when necessary.

  • They seem to draw inspiration from biological models when designing organizational structure, putting in place simple guiding principles and allowing complex social systems to emerge organically.

  • Rather than rigidly sticking to initial plans, innovative leaders remain open to evolving the structure over time to fit the needs of the organization.

  • The ability to adapt the formal structure demonstrates an understanding that innovation is an iterative process that requires tweaking approaches based on real-world experience and feedback.

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Here is a summary of the key points from the selected bibliography:

The sources cover a range of topics related to innovation and leadership, including:

  • Fostering creativity, collaboration, and “group genius” in organizations (Sawyer, Leonard-Barton, Catmull, Bennis & Biederman)

  • The power of design thinking, small experiments, and embracing failure on the path to innovation (Brown, Kelley & Kelley, Hagel & Brown)

  • Motivating people through autonomy, mastery, and purpose (Pink, Deci & Ryan)

  • Flattening hierarchies, distributing leadership, and empowering teams (Hamel, Nayar, De Meo)

  • Tapping collective intelligence through open innovation and crowdsourcing (Clippinger, Shirky)

  • Balancing exploration and exploitation; managing paradoxes (Smith & Berg, Tushman & O’Reilly)

  • Adapting to disruption and navigating uncertainty (Downes & Nunes, Hagel et al.)

  • Leadership skills for innovation, including insight, engagement, vision (Kotter, Lafley & Charan, Heifetz & Linsky)

Key themes include enabling creativity, catalyzing collaboration, empowering people, connecting networks, learning through experiments, and leading through change. The sources provide diverse perspectives on fostering innovation in organizations.

Here is a summary of the key points from the selected bibliography:

  • Leadership is critical for organizations, but the traditional concept of the heroic leader is giving way to more collective, empowering models. Leadership should focus on enabling others to lead and contribute.

  • Organizational culture is a powerful force that leaders must understand and shape. Aligning culture with strategy and values is key for performance.

  • Teams are most effective when there is open communication, psychological safety, and constructive conflict. Diversity brings value but also challenges that must be managed.

  • Learning is essential for leaders and organizations to continuously improve. Leaders should promote experimentation and learn from failures.

  • Addressing complex strategic issues requires integrative, creative thinking and embracing uncertainty. Leaders should frame issues as “wicked problems” with no simple solutions.

  • Innovation increasingly happens through networks, partnerships, and leveraging collective intelligence. Leaders need to be open to ideas from anywhere and collaborate across boundaries.

The selected works highlight how leadership today demands new mindsets and capabilities to mobilize organizations for constant learning, innovation, and adaptation in a complex, rapidly changing world.

Google 2.0 crowd at, 184

Child, John, 256n3

building, 204–206

Christensen, Clayton, 252n3, 259n4,

role in fostering innovation


Blogger Ambassador Program as,

Clark, Kim B., 248n3


Clark, Terry Nichols, 253n6

superstructure’s encouragement

climate for innovation, 12–24

of, 70–71

at CALIT2, 208, 210

value of companies collaborating as a,

at Pixar, 21, 211


of trust, openness, and


collaboration, 17–18

cornerstones of an innovative,

Cockburn, Alistair, 251n5


Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid

flexibility of cultural norms and,

the Traps, Create Unity, and


Reap Big Results (Hansen and

heterarchies’ fostering of open,

Nohria), 249n4


collaborative culture

importance of open and frequent, 29

importance to innovation, 248n3

in making integrative decisions, 36

nurturing of participants’ individual

non-hierarchical nature of

contributions to team effort, 18

collaboration and, 17


Index.indd 279

28/03/14 2:29 PM


open, value of at Medtronic,

purposeful evolution by managers,



“trust-your-colleagues” mindset for

value of diverse backgrounds and

fostering, 19

perspectives enhanced by, 64

“Communicating Meaning Across

worldviews, value of managers

Cultural Boundaries: Toward an

considering employees’, 63

Expanded View of Knowledge”

crucibles of innovation, 10–11

(Becker and Hall), 247n2

Catmull’s understanding of his role in, 10

community index, 254n7

purposeful evolution reshaped by

completely interdisciplinary, fully

culture, 172–173

integrated, individually

renderfarms at Pixar as, 13–14

customized health care, 201. See

Crown, James, 251n5

also Primary Life Associates

crucible of leadership, 261n2

computer-supported social networks,

culture of innovation. See


collaboration, collaborative culture;

concertive control, 67. See also



cultural differences, tensions of

constructive conflict, 28–31

at HCL, 57, 71

recognized benefits vs. natural

impact on success of collaborative

avoidance of conflict, 28

integration, 64

tension between self-interest and

overcoming for integrative

team membership and, 29

decision making, 33

value in innovation process, 28–29

understanding, preventative

Coughran, Wayne Rasmussen,

value in, 49

187–188, 258–259n10

cultural expectations, shared, of

“Co-Creating Under Development”

scientific community, 203

(London and Hart), 257n5

cultures of prediction and control


system learning, 245

building on the past, 197


in collective genius 2.0, 197’s link to its base through

Pixar’s fostering of, 15

blogging community, 240

Pixar’s view of, 15

integrating into the process

crucible of leadership, 261n2

IBM’s study of C-suite strategies,

Crucibles of Leadership (Bennis and


Thomas), 261n2

value created with at Acumen


Fund, 237

defining and shaping innovation, 10–12


fostering diversity through

of decision making, 37, 44

evolution, 63


Index.indd 280

28/03/14 2:29 PM


as an enabler for matching

Doerr, John, 250n6

boundaries and interfaces, 54

Drucker, Peter F., 252n1

interdependent connections and

Dyer, Jeffrey, 252n3

sense of community in, 66

shaping of at HCL, 62

Dyer, W. Gibb, 251n1

value of self-organizing teams enabled by, 70

Dweck, Carol, 256n10

decentralizing leaders, 251n8

dynamic decision making, 35–54

decision making

collaborative vs. consensus, 36

collaborative, 36

components of, 44

computersupported social networks for

dealing with uncertainty in, 39–46

enhancing, 260n8

enabling environmental factors

consensus, 36

importance of timeliness and

defining characteristics of, 38

flexibility vs. following established

decentralization of, 37, 44

procedures, 43–46

enabling environmental factors

establishment of rhythm and review

importance of timeliness and

rhythms, 38–39

flexibility vs. following established

feedback and feedforward loops, 46–51

procedures, 43–46

fostering with integrative practices,

establishing rhythm and review


rhythms, 38–39

inbound open innovation, 51

fostering integrative practices for,

complexity of companies’


ecosystems and, 51

inbound open innovation, 259n2

IBM’s deployment of, 52

integrative, 33

value of global networks for, 52

need for both collaborative and

Intel’s deployment of, 53

autocratic decisions, 34–35

integrative leadership actions

understanding alternative cultural

developed through learning, 50–52

perspectives in, 38

openness and decentralization as

defining problems and, 33–34

enablers, 54, 240–242

outbound open innovation, 51–53

blogging community, 240–242

Pixar’s collaborative, 17–18, 21–22,

cultivating engagement with


customers, 242

senior leadership reflection on

empowering employees at, 241

rhythms of, 39

recognizing value of the

uncertainty and ambiguity embraced

unexpected, 242

in, 39–42

tagging feature, 240

DeLong, Thomas J., 258n1

DeMarco, Tom, 57

democratic networks, 260n8


Demos, 216

guarding against in asking for

Desouza, Kevin C., 254n7

help, 238


Index.indd 281

28/03/14 2:29 PM


development as an assumption in

Mandela’s influence on geopolitics,

Asking for Help model, 238


discovery-driven organizations

origins of the project, 220

learning, fostering at Pixar, 18

at Pentagram, 103


description of the process, 104–105

cultivated through conscious

practical benefits of, 105

evolution of culture, 63

subtle impact on innovation

global scale of at IBM, 53

climate, 103–105

importance to integrative decision

reflective practice

making, 37

at Acumen Fund, 236–237

leveraging through cultural

import in forward momentum, 76–78,

evolution, 63


of perspectives in heterarchies, 64

integrative leadership actions

Do the KIND Thing movement at

developed through learning and,

Google, 190


Doerffer, Tina, 261n5

on rhythms of collaboration, 39

“Driving Your Company’s Value”

value of continuous, 73

(Martin, Austria, and Thinnes),

Reflections of Spirit (Baghai and


Buchanan), 249n4

Drucker Prize, 258n3

RenderFarm at Pixar, 1–2, 23–25

Duarte, Nancy, 249n1

background of the conflict, 93–97

Duarte Design, 249n1

Brandeau embraces intellectual

Dyer, W. Gibb, 254n7

diversity, 140

“Dynamics of Embedding: Using the

Catmull’s perspective on the

Hidden Power of Informal Networks”

conflict, 133

(Krackhardt and Stern), 254n8

as a crucible of innovation, 13–14 fostering strategic innovation, 137–138

eBay Germany, 149

hiring for innovation, 127

Ebert, Roger, 249n1

ideal production process flowchart,

economizing on bounded rationality,

124–125, 128


learning from mistakes, 135–137

Ed Catmull’s background, 10

passion with perspective, 130–135

Edmondson, Amy, 248n2, 256n6,

reflections on the solution


process, 145

Eisenhardt, Kathleen M., 257n6

solving the conflict, 138–142

Embeddedness perspective, 247n1

emergent strategy, 255n10

empathy, importance in innovation

emergent trend watching, 256n9

leadership, 224


Enabling Knowledge Creation (von

environments, fostering innovation, 54

Krogh, Ichijo, Nonaka)

factors, in dynamic decision making, 44


Index.indd 282

28/03/14 2:29 PM


end-user engagement

perception and framing of problems’s cultivating of, 242

and solutions, 258n4

IBM’s deployment of, 52

public sector examples, 221


“Rising Above Cognitive Errors”

developmental, value of teams, 36

(Kahneman), 258n4

enabling, fostering innovation, 54

Frankl, Viktor, 252n1

Epilogue: Lessons for Leading

Fredrickson, Barbara L., 249n4

Innovation, 194–226

free spaces, 31, 256n4

leadership is key, 195–199

Fund, Julie, 249n1

lead for discovery and development,

Future Patient, Calit2, 207

194 next practices in leading innovation, 211–219

Gandhi, Mahatma, 193, 256n9

nurture communities, informal

“Genetics of Culture, The”

networks, and empathy among

(Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman), 255n7

participants, 209–211

“Gilbreth, Taylor, and Thompson:

open up the process, 199–206

Three Different Approaches to

purposefully evolve culture, build

Scientific Management” (Kanigel),

identity, 199–209


reach across boundaries and power

Girard, René, 256n10

differences, 206–209

Gittell, Jody, 249n4

take the long view, 219–225

Golden-Biddle, Karen, 248n2

what leaders can do, 226

Goldenfeld, Nigel, 247n1

“Exploration and Exploitation in

Golden Test, 57

Organizational Learning” (March),

Golden touch, 106. See also


Pentagram Google, 185–188

facilitators, 260n9

community, role in innovation, 184,

Farson, Richard, 250n5, 257n4


fear of failure, 212. See also failure,

Coughran adopts paradoxical

learning from

approach, 187–188, 258–259n10

Feldman, Marcus W., 255n7

Do the KIND Thing movement, 190

Festinger, Leon, 254n7

Doerr’s start-up culture longevity

Finding Flow (Csikszentmihalyi),

concerns, 185


growth of workforce, 190

Fish, Stanley, 255n6

morality and money goals at, 189

“Fixing Intel: Inside the Processor

Okayness, Measured, 186

Firm’s Overnight Revolution”

orientation process, 189

(Hamm), 258n2

priority of mission over money at, 187

Ford, Jeffrey D., 256n3

Assistant innovation example, 188

Ford, Martin, 251n5

tests for releasing beta products, 188

Forrester, Jay W., 252n1


Index.indd 283

28/03/14 2:29 PM


Granovetter, Mark, 247n1, 254n7

Hewlett-Packard (HP), 60, 267n1

Grojean, Michael W., 256n3

hidden profiles, 253n5, 260n8

“Group Emotion and Leadership

Hill, Linda A., 254n6, 261n2, 261n6

Effectiveness” (Sy, Côté, Saavedra),

Hinduja, Shaleen, 57

249n3 Groysberg, Boris, 254n6

heterarchies, 54, 66–76

Gruber, Howard, 255n8

building on successes, 73–76

Gulati, Ranjay, 259n1

collaboration across boundaries

Haas, Martine R., 255n8, 259n1

in, 254nn8–9

Hackman, J. Richard, 249n4, 254n7

concertive control in, 67

Haider, Syed, 57

decentralization links and

Hall, Patricia, 247n2

community identity in, 66

Hallowell, Edward, 195

described, 66–67

HALO report, The, 249n4

developing dynamic capabilities, 69

Hamel, Gary, 251n8

diversity of perspectives in, 64

Hammer, Michael, 57

embeddedness cultivated in, 68–69

Hamm, Steve, 258n2

leadership in context of, 70–71

Hansen, Morten, 249n4

organization as ongoing


experiment in, 67

as an innovation enabler, 211

rethinking management

value of in organizations, 249n3

approach, 67–69

“Hard Data on Soft Skills”

self-organizing teams in, 69–70

(Groysberg, Lee, Nanda), 254n6

shared leadership in context of, 71

Hargadon, Andrew, 249n4, 250n4

heterogeneity, value of, 64. See also

Hart, Stuart L., 257n5


Heckscher, Charles, 257n12

Hill, Linda A., 254n6, 261n2, 261n6

Heilmeier’s catechism, 258n1

Hinduja, Shaleen, 57

Heilmeier, George, 258n1

Hippel, Eric von, 259n1

help, asking for, 234–239

Hirschhorn, Larry, 31, 256n4

core components of doing well,

Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX),



dependency vs. development

Hong, Jacky, 227

distinction in, 238

Honneth, Axel, 256n10

at Acumen Fund, 234–239

human development, assumption

need for differentiated

of in Asking for Help model, 238

relationship, 238, 256n6

hyper-transparency, 95

reciprocity and responsiveness in effective, 237–238


sustainability enabled by capacity

bottom-up initiatives supported at,

development in, 239



Index.indd 284

28/03/14 2:29 PM


business-aligned IT (BAIT), 58

institutional memory factors, 254n8–9

deployment of dynamic decision

Intel Corp., 171–176, 183. See also

making, 52

Grove, Andy

dynamic infrastructure at, 58

capacity for ongoing evolution, 176

global diversity as asset, 53

business results of transformation,

Global Innovation Outlook (GIO), 53


outbound open innovation, 52

Cassie at Your Service,”

idea for Build, 176


influence of classification of

HCL Technologies, 45–46

information, 179–180

Co-Innovation Network (COIN),

influence of the operations team


members on the competition,

collegial culture and community,



initial guidelines for Build, 173

Directions meetings, 55 Employees First theme, 53–54, 63


Index.indd 283

28/03/14 2:29 PM


investment in employees, 48–49

experimenting with organizational

management structure, 56–58

form at, 90–91

org chart and reporting structures,

HP1020 videoconference system, 211

58, 252nn1–2

Huesca, Robert, 244–246

overview of innovative initiatives,

Hunt, Vivian, 253n6


running projects to increase growth,

Hybrid InsourcingTM, 51–53

Huber, George, 249n4, 256n3, 258n4


Service Value Certification, 63

“Human Relations in Administration”

Value Portal solutions, 57–58

(Mayo), 249n4

wheat (value) and chaff (process)

Humanitude, 48

concept, 47, 252n5

Humans are Underrated (Colvin),

HCL-HP relationship, 47–48


HCL’s “Mirror Mirror on the Wall” compared to Google, 188–189 Heath, Chip, 251n4

“HCLT and Microsoft for Enterprise


Huston, Larry, 251n4

Heskett, James, 255n7

“Ideation: The Birth and Death of Ideas” (Sutton and Hargadon), 250n4

Side,” 59

“HCL Tech Innovates

Ideo HCL, 2

with Employee-driven

approach, 94, 250n12

‘Value Portal,’” 58

changing model and purposes, 18,

Heckscher, Charles C., 251n5


Hefley, William E., 256n8

getting involved with PLA, 195, 200

Heifetz, Ron, 247n1

office layout fashions and influences,

Helfand, Jessica, 115

99, 206

Helland, Eric, 175

organizational design and culture,

Heller, Tom, 18, 256nn4–5


Helper, Susan, 260n9

origins of, 18, 250n12

Hersey, Paul, 251n5

the company ethos, 95, 96

Hertzfeld, Andy, 130

the nine principles, 96–99

Heskett, James, 251n1

Higgins, Monica, 260n9

Hewlett-Packard, 48

High-Impact Consulting (Craig and

Hierarchies, Markets, and Power

Hannum), 253n6

(Heckscher), 251n5

Higham, W. (website blogger), 257n1

“High-Velocity Edge, The: How Market

Leaders Leverage Operational

Excellence to Beat the Competition”

Hill, Linda A., 253n6

(Matson and Matson), 261n1

“How Ideo Helps GE Innovate,” 95

Hirshberg, Jackie, 255n1

Hughes, Alan, 260n9

Holden, Len, 189

Huston, Larry, 257n5

Holland, John H., 250n4

“Hybrid InsourcingTM

Human Capital 2020 (Groysberg),

Transformation,” 51–52

Boosts Growth and


Humanity 24/7—The Challenge for the

21st Century (Alsbury), 249n4


Index.indd 284

28/03/14 2:29 PM


IBM Center for Applied Insights at

importance of servant leadership at,

Pfizer, 233–234, 261n1

230, 261n4

“IDEO: Innovation and Growth”

innovation ecosystem and community

(Shapiro), 250n12

at, 198, 209–210, 259n2

Iger, Robert, 250n9, 258n3

investing in employees, 47–48, 64

Improvisation at Work: New Product

inventive work through exaptation at,

Development at XYZ Corporation


(Miner, Moorman, and Bassoff),

lack of innovation at Google, 171


leader’s path to collective genius 2.0

In Search of Excellence: Lessons From

at, 5

America’s Best-Run Companies

leadership meetings at Pfizer Legal

(Peters and Waterman), 257n1

Alliance, 236, 238

incentives for creativity and collective

learning from the outside-in at,

genius, 192

32–33, 250n10

India Inside (Nayar), 252n2

need for an innovative population at,

Innovation: The Missing Dimension


(Drucker), 249n4

Nissan and Fiat alliance examination

Innovator’s Cookbook, The (Olson

at, 42

and Bakke), 250n6

Pixar RenderFarm issue resolution at,

Innovator’s Dilemma, The (Christensen), 2


247n1, 248n3, 260n1

paid time off work for creative

“Innovator’s DNA, The” (Dyer,

projects at, 47, 59

Gregersen and Christensen), 260n1

Penrose’s observations and theory

Innovator’s Solution, The (Christensen

and, 22, 248–249n6

and Raynor), 260n1

placing technological bets at Pfizer,

Inside Intuit (Mintzberg), 250n11


Inside Pixar (Price), 250n8

planning paradox and, 34–35

integration of options. See creative

plasticity and, 36–37, 93–94, 258n7


purpose and community

interaction and involvement to foster

development at, 92, 204–205


red (rejects/failures) and gold

absorptive capacity building at

(working/winning) concept at,

Pfizer, 237


connecting diverse groups at Calit2

Rough Draft at Pfizer, 236, 261n1

( See Calit2)

sales culture reform at Volkswagen,

CONTACT initiatives at Pfizer Legal


Alliance, 236–238

sense and respond approach, 32,

continuity and purpose at Pixar,

250n8, 258n6


servant leadership at Calit2, 230

discourse environment at Calit2,

six paradoxes in leading innovation

213, 219, 258n8

at, 3

experimenting with structure at

social architect role of leaders at,

Pixar, 90


faith in human talent at EBAH, 63

trust building on multi-functional


Index.indd 285

28/03/14 2:29 PM


project teams at, 107–108

Jain, Anant, 46–47, 253n1

ubiquitous leadership at, 66

James, William, 22, 249n8, 258n4

unforgettables and forgettables at,

Janis, Irving, 251n2


Johnson, Samuel, 19

value innovation at Nissan alliance,

John-Steiner, Vera, 249n4

43, 248n1

Jones, Daniel T., 251n5

virtual innovation team exploration

Jordan, Kimberlyn Leary, 248n4

at, 208–209

Journal of Business and Psychology,

vision formation example at


Volkswagen, 93–94

Jung, Carl, 247n2

volunteers for projects attracted at,

Justus, Anja. See also eBay Germany

61–62, 197

background, 148–149

Walt Disney and Pixar case study at,

leadership tasks, 149

253n6, 255n7

legacy of micro-projects, 161–162

white space exploration at Pfizer,

micro-projects-based risk taking,



Information Anxiety (Wurman), 249n4

results of micro-projects, 157–158

Innovation Tournaments: Creating and

spread of micro-project concept,

Selecting Exceptional Opportunities


(Terwiesch and Ulrich), 250n6 intellectual conflict and creative

Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, 250n6

abrasion, 141–142

Katzenbach, Jon, 251n4, 256n3

intellectual diversity

Kaufman, Josh, 257n5

creative abrasion and, 139–140

Keller, Morton, 260n8

innovation ecosystems and, 211,

Kelly, Tom, 98, 100, 101


Khurana, Rakesh, 253n6

Pentagram’s multidisciplinary teams

Kiesler, S., 247n2

and, 101, 115, 116

Kilby, D., 259n4

Internet-worked India, 44

Kim, W. Chan, 247n1

Interpreting Qualitative Data

King, Eden, 257n1

(Silverman), 248n2

Knights of the Round Table, 77

“Inventing the Organizations of the

Kogut, Bruce, 254n7

21st Century” (Hamel), 253n6

Korn/Ferry International, 251n5

iPod at Apple, 18, 32, 90–91, 257n2

Kotler, Philip, 253n5

Isaacson, Walter, 249n4, 257n1

Krackhardt, David, 260n10

Janis, Irving L., 251n2

“Kremlinology: What You Don’t Know

Japan’s Creative Industries (Florida),

Can Hurt You” (Zaltman), 257n4


Kusunoki, Ken, 249n4

Jazz Ensemble (Barrett), 249n4

Ladd, Scott, 135

Jobs, Steven, 18

Landemore, Hélène, 189

Li, Charlene, 262n10

Landry, Edward B., 250n4

Leadership Without Easy Answers

Langer, Ellen J., 250n8

(Heifetz), 247n1

Larson, Andrea, 257n1

leading innovation at Pixar ( See Pixar)

Lassetter, John, 257n3


Index.indd 286

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Liker, Jeffrey, 252nn4–5

Linde, Charlotte, 249n4, 254n8

legal services innovation. See Pfizer

Lindkvist, L., 259n4

Legal Alliance

Lippman, S., 259n4

Leigh, Andrew, 255n1

Lister, Jon, 253n3

Leonard-Barton, Dorothy, 258n7

Liu, Baohua, 223–224, 261n6

Levitt, Barbara, 251n2

London, Manuel, 241

Levitt, Theodore, 250n9

Lucas, George, 131, 257n3

Lewis, Michael, 102

Lucas, John Rex, 251n1

Li, Charlene, 257n1, 260n9

Lucke, Doris, 78

Linde, Charlotte, 251n3

Luckmann, Thomas, 251n5

LinkedIn, 215

Ludic Group, 198

“Litmus Test for Making Great

Luksha, Pavel, 251n6

Decisions, A” (Davenport), 251n5

“Lunch Stop Cafe” at Pfizer, 240–241

Littauer, Florence, 250n9

Lyons, Bill, 80–81

Lived Leadership (Groysberg), 260n10

Macedonia, M., 260n8

Lovejoy, William S., 51, 252n1

Mace, Myron L., 251n5

Lucasfilm’s Computer Graphics

Mackey, Alison, 257n1

Division, 127

Maister, David, 250n9

Leading Minds: An Anatomy of

Power-Dependence Relations (Pfeffer), MacKinnon, Donald, 250n4 251n3

Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox

Magistretti, Stefano, 207–208

Guide to Doing the Right Thing

Managing as Designing (Boland and

(Badaracco), 247n1

Collopy), 251n1

Mak, Monica Fong, 254n7

Leading So People Will Follow (Allison),

Making Innovation Work (Davila,


Epstein and Shelton), 259n1


Malone, Thomas, 249n4, 250n7

agreeing on purpose step of

Managing Complexity (Streatfield),

building community, 92, 204–205


cultural challenges of globalization,

Managing the Unexpected (Weick and

229, 244–246

Sutcliffe), 257n6

handling complex challenges in

“Managing Yourself: In Praise of the

innovation through paradox, 3

Incomplete Leader” (Ancona, Malone,

planting the seeds of community at

Orlikowski, and Senge), 255n1

Volkswagen, 77

Mapping Strategic Knowledge (Huff),

roles in creating ability to innovate,


4, 117

Manz, Charles, 251n5

taking advantage of change and

Maoz, Zeev, 256n3

conflict, 3

March, James G., 249n4, 254n5, 261n8

leadership philosophy

Martin, Roger, 250n7, 251n1, 252n4

of de Meo, 72

Marx, Karl, 252n3

of Page, 24

Maslow, Abraham, 247n5

“Learning from Samples of One or

Matson, Erik, 261n1

Fewer” (March, Sproull, and Tamuz),

Maxcy, Spencer, 250n7, 257n1


Maxwell, John C., 252n3


Index.indd 287

28/03/14 2:29 PM


May, Matthew, 257n1

growth challenges at, 148

Mayo, Elton, 249n4

network at eBay, 164

Mazlish, Bruce, 254n7

network at Pentagram, 102

McKnight, William, 258n2

network thinking at IDEO, 99

McGrath, Rita, 250n6

networked organization concept,

McIntyre, Ron, 132, 257n3


McKinsey Quarterly, 249n4

“Networks and Organizations:

“Measuring the Unmeasurable”

Structure” (Podolny and Page),

(Heskett), 251n1


Merton, Robert K., 249n4

“Networks in the Knowledge Economy”

Mervis, Carolyn, 244–246, 257n1,

(Powell, Koput, and Smith-Doerr),



Meyer, Erin, 150, 151, 158

Neuroscience of Leadership, The (Rock

Miles and Snow typology, 249n4

and Ringleb), 247n4

Miller, Danny, 254n5, 261n8

Newell, Allen, 250n4

Mills, Peter K., 254n8

New Organizational Forms (Howard),

Ming, Julia L., 218–219


Miner, Anne S., 249n4

New Rules of Innovation, The

Mintzberg, Henry, 249n4, 250n11,

(Bhattacharya and Crippis), 250n6


Here is a summary of the key points about Vineet Nayar and his leadership at HCL Technologies:

  • Nayar took over leadership of HCL Technologies in 2005. When he arrived, the company was struggling and morale was low.

  • He instituted major changes to the organizational structure and culture to empower employees and foster innovation, including:

  • Inverting the organizational pyramid so that management supports employees, not the other way around

  • Implementing a system of 360-degree reviews for managers

  • Creating transparency initiatives like an intranet portal for employees to give feedback and “My Blueprint” crowdsourcing of ideas

  • Launching the “Employees First” ethos to make employees the priority

  • Creating the iGen idea portal to encourage bottom-up innovation

  • Nayar embraced his role as a social architect, acting as an entrepreneurial force to shape the organization’s culture.

  • The results were very positive - HCL saw improved financial performance, higher revenue growth, and greater customer satisfaction.

  • Nayar’s inverted pyramid, transparency initiatives, and employee empowerment programs endured at the company.

  • His innovation leadership focused on unleashing employee creativity by cultivating an open, collaborative culture while also providing some structural constraints. This allowed discovery-driven learning and innovation to flourish.

In summary, Nayar successfully transformed HCL into an innovative, employee-powered organization by acting as an entrepreneurial, culture-shaping leader who embraced organizational inversion and transparency.

Here is a summary of the key points about Eitan’s approach to leadership and innovation:

  • View of himself as a social architect - Eitan saw his role as a leader being to design the right organizational systems and processes to enable innovation and collaboration. He focused on shaping the culture and social architecture rather than directing outcomes.

  • Micro-projects at eBay Germany - Eitan championed small experiments and projects at eBay Germany to foster innovation and engagement. This allowed testing of new ideas without high risk.

  • Fostering discovery-driven learning - At places like Pixar, Eitan focused on creating a culture of learning through improvisation, structured chaos, and embracing failure as a teacher. This discovery-driven approach was critical for innovation.

  • Integrative decision making - Eitan pushed decentralized authority and two-way dialogue between leaders and teams. This allowed incorporation of multiple perspectives for integrative decisions.

  • Creating willingness to innovate - Eitan believed leaders needed to shape context and community to give people a sense of purpose, identity, and values that drove innovation. This involved social architecture, not just incentives.

  • Supporting collaboration - Eitan studied how groups like Pixar and Pentagram effectively balanced paradoxes like individuality and teamwork to collaborate. Their practices inspired his thinking.

  • Role as a social architect - In summary, Eitan saw himself as a social architect responsible for shaping the cultural systems that enabled innovation, not directly controlling the outcomes.

Here is a brief summary of the key points from the book chapter “Ems Infrastructure at Google”:

  • Google has built a massive, sophisticated technological infrastructure to support its web search and other products. This includes data centers, fiber optic networks, servers, software systems, etc.

  • Google’s infrastructure is designed for efficiency, scale, reliability and innovation. For example, its data centers are optimized to maximize computing power while minimizing costs like energy and cooling.

  • The infrastructure enables Google to crawl and index the entire web, handle billions of search queries per day, and launch new products and services quickly. It is a key competitive advantage.

  • Google invests heavily in infrastructure, including designing its own servers, chips and networks. This allows tighter integration between hardware and software.

  • Google’s infrastructure relies on parallel computing, distributing work across thousands of computers. This makes searches faster and allows the infrastructure to scale.

  • Constant improvement and innovation is ingrained in Google’s infrastructure team. They aim to anticipate future needs and build systems flexibly.

In summary, Google has built a hugely complex, proprietary infrastructure that supports its position as a leader in web search and cloud services. The technical expertise and scale of this infrastructure provide major competitive differentiation.

  • The authors argue that organizations can only succeed by rising above their current capabilities.

  • Before writing this book, co-author Lineback spent over 25 years as a leader and executive in various organizations, where he dealt with challenges like creating new organizations and rethinking business strategies.

  • Lineback has degrees from Harvard College and Boston College.

  • The book aims to show how leaders can foster “collective genius”, where groups exhibit exceptional creativity and innovation. This requires creating the willingness and ability to innovate through approaches like establishing shared values, managing creative abrasion and agility, and cultivating an innovation ecosystem.

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About Matheus Puppe