Most innovative

Each year I look out for Fast Company’s most innovative companies – it’s always a fascinating list not least because it is genuinely different every year. In 2017 its tempting to see its just the usual suspects with Amazon, Google, Uber, Facebook and Spotify in the top 10 but look a bit further and there are new companies I’ve never heard of and more established ones like Marriott. Last year GE was in at no 20. I take a look at where the companies are (it’s quite a US based list this year but again this varies) as well as which industries and levels of maturity are most represented. The very fact that the top 50 change on a regular basis makes this genuinely representative of innovation – and reflects that not everyone can be permanently innovative. Some companies do indeed make the list more frequently  but there is a wide selection – this is the 10th year and I suspect it’s a long list when you look back over the whole lot.

The issue for me is not so much whether companies aspire to be on the list – that’s a pointless exercise, but whether they aspire to innovate as rapidly as many on the list – increasingly that’s a pre-requisite to deal with a VUCA world.

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Does language help communication?

A long time since the last post and I feel like I’m going back in time! Well not exactly but I am revisiting a topic which I’ve posted about before Language – is it for or against us? The reason being that I keep coming across words which to my mind are real barriers to communication, not enablers. Think of sustainability, innovation, transformation, change – all massively overused in the corporate world and rarely defined. What happens then is that everyone hears them and translates them into their own version, with often unhelpful consequences. Particularly as we now know just how strong our confirmation bias is

The next trend is to adopt words from one discipline into another – ecosystem is a great example where the concept of a natural ecosystem has some real pluses when thinking about a connected world. But quickly it just becomes a term for the network – one’s personal ecosystem or the organisations ecosystem is the contact or collaborations, losing much if not all of the characteristics associated with the original context.

And then there are new words – I’ve adopted ‘connective’ recently to describe the relationships I’m building in areas that relate to, add value to or overlap with my own activities. That’s a reaction to the fact that partnerships, networks, relationships or ventures all have connotations which don’t reflect how I’m working.

And in all of this, and particularly in our post truth world I am wondering whether or not language is still helping us or whether we need some form of rethink . . . words-2