Archive for March, 2012

The Innovator’s Risk

Here is a mail i received today from a colleague.

I wrote up my idea and since my boss wanted to review it, I sent it to him. But, he is unwilling to look at it saying he is busy. I can send you the rough draft but then will be breaking my trust with him. I wanted to keep you posted just so that you know.I wish people were not so hung up on making success stories for themselves. It really makes idea conception and execution very sluggish.

I made it anonymous.

As there is still the “Innovator’s Risk”.

The difference between theory and practice.

That’s why we need a Corporate Rebels United.

To protect each other. To help each other. To encourage each other. To discover the hidden pearls in our companies.

To fight the barriers that make blossoming of ideas and people impossible.

We want to incubate people not ideas.

Who wants to help me fight these situations ? Who has tips and tricks and strategies to eradicate this from our organizations ? What are best practices to eliminate Innovator’s Risk ?

@petervan from the Innotribe team

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People call you an instigator, a protagonist, a renegade, a pirate, a mercenary, a rebel, or an empowered employee. We know you for what you really are: a change agent who sees speed, change and innovation as the new corporate norm. We know because we are you. We know the challenges – and the excitement – of driving change in an incumbent or start-up company. We know what it means to go for “The Innovator’s Risk”

We call ourselves “Corporate Rebels United”.

The concept of Corporate Rebels is not new. Many people have written about or have alluded to it:

John Hagel referred to the concept of the “Empowered Employee” in one of his recent Forbes posts.

The key answer that defines the post-digital enterprise is to shift attention from the cost side to the value side. Rather than treating employees as cost items that need to be managed wherever possible, why not view them as assets capable of delivering ever-increasing value to the marketplace? This is a profound shift in focus. For one thing, it moves us from a game of diminishing returns to an opportunity for increasing returns. There is little, if any, limit to the additional value that people can deliver if given the appropriate tools and skill development.


The post-digital divide will force them to choose sides – on the side of employee empowerment, or on the side of tactical cost cutting, job cutting, and diminishing returns. If not, the divide will choose for them.

But a Corporate Rebel has something extra. It is about daring to stick out your neck. It is about taking personal leadership.

Nilofer Merchant differentiated between a rebel and a leader

So perhaps we could use a more neutral word: protagonist. A protagonist is a principal champion of a cause or program or action. The protagonist does not wait for permission to lead, innovate, or strategize. They do what is right for the firm, without regard to status. Their goal is to do what’s good for the whole.

Lois Kelly (@loiskelly) from Foghound and Mike Maney (@the_spinmd) from Alcatel-Lucent also discussed recently whether the word “rebel” is not too negative. Mike made some very deep reflections why the hard dividing line between good and bad rebels does not always make sense.

Argument aside, we believe that – positioned well – the word “corporate rebel” exactly reflects who we are.

The aim of “Corporate Rebels United” is to create a global community of extraordinary corporate change agents. It is not an academic exercise or research effort. It’s something deeply actionable.

Our mission is to build the most amazing community of corporate rebels worldwide to ensure that true change and innovation happens virally

The initial idea for Corporate Rebels United emerged when innovation teams of Alcatel-Lucent and Swift met and worked closely in the context of Swift’s Innotribe program. We were excited by the exchange of ideas and energy that emerged when like-minded folks came together. And that got us thinking about some big “what if’s”:

  • What if we could create a tribe of the best and most exceptional corporate rebels worldwide – people like us, people like you?
  • What if we could start leveraging each other’s ideas, energy and best practices?
  • What if we could design a movement to support each other when the going gets tough?
  • What if we could cross-fertilize and infect our organizations with the change-virus from within?

We want to identify exceptional people worldwide that already have an impressive impact on change and innovation in their corporations, no matter in what field or industry. The movers and the shakers. The do-ers of today. The ones who take initiative. Who create deep change from within. People who energize their organizations by leading from their true selves. The crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently, and who are crazy enough to think they can change the world. People like you.

Our plan is to start small – 15 founding rebels cross-industry – because we want to ensure quality and resilience in the initial starters group. We’d like to get the spirit right from the start. We have scheduled a kickoff call on March 30, 2012 with 15 founding rebels. We will follow that call with an off-site meeting where we’ll jointly build a set of agreed upon principles and a longer-term action plan to open and expand Corporate Rebels United to a wider audience.

A lot of “getting the spirit right” was already included in one of my latest prezi’s on the “Soul of Innovation”. Without any publicity, this prezi already generated more than 3,000 hits in less than one month. We seem to have touched something that resonates. Some of it was withheld for my TEDxNewWallStreet talk last week in Mountain-View. Innovation is more than a set of tools and processes. Innovation is an attitude with tribal energy!

For viewing this prezi, turn audio “on”, as I experimented a lot with sound and visual landscapes.

Somewhere halfway in that prezi, you will discover the Rebels Manifesto in the Pirates Treasure Map

Rebels Manifesto


Challenging the status quo

Breaking the rules

Saying the unsaid

Spreading the innovation virus

Seeding Tribal energy

With No fear

With a cause to do good

Leading by Being from our True Selves

Going after the un-named quality


What exactly Corporate Rebels United will do is the essence of our discussion at our kick-off call and event. Initial ideas include:

  • We want to build an action-driven community.
  • We want to create an incredible energy bomb of corporate change.
  • We aim for a very high level of integrity and authenticity. We want this to be morally, intellectually, and artistically right
  • We want to re-enforce the energy of known rebels in a non-zero sum community.
  • We want to identify and unleash the energy from the hidden rebels and the hidden pearls in our organizations and give them a voice
  • We want to create exchange programs between our corporations
  • We want to have deep positive business impact on the corporations and organizations that host and pay our salaries.
  • We want to create a culture in our corporations where change is the norm.
  • We want to measure the progress and propulsionwe make/create:
    • Individually
    • The folks we influence
    • The corporate change heartbeat
  • We want to evolve our corporations into places of constant change, resilience, responsiveness, reflection and vibrant energy.
  • We want to create a place for play, fun, rock, and rich personal expression

At the start, Corporate Rebels United will be a closed community: we’re looking for atypical people who make us go WOW!

Because they act from their true self and without fear, and make amazing change happen within their organizations and the ecosystems they are part of.

People with a moral, architectural, almost artistic integrity. People with a BIG innovation heart in the right place.

We’re looking for people who inspire us as human beings. With open mind, open heart, and open will.

Like Seth Godin said in his last book (We are all Weird):

“they have to be a bit weird”.

We plan to go full-steam as from our Kick-Off call on 30 March 2012, right after the start of the 2012 spring. Our ambition is to be able to shine and radiate as a strong community with first results by end October – Mid November, not co-incidentally the busy conference season with Innotribe at Sibos, Techonomy, Defrag and Blur.

Like Bill Gates wanted to see a PC on every desktop, and Eric Schmidt wants to see an (Android) mobile in every pocket, we want to see a corporate rebel in every company. That’s a lot of corporate rebels 😉

Of course, I am not Bill Gates, nor Eric Schmidt. But there is still enough room for a normal human being like me to create significant impact. And although I am 55 years old now,  I still want to change the world. And yes – at 55 – I still would like to instigate a Corporate Spring. There is no age for Corporate Rebels.

We jump and want to feel the daily adrenaline of being and coaching Corporate Rebels every day of our life.

As we get started up, get some inspiration on our curated site for Corporate Rebels United on Scoop-it.

If you are interested to join Corporate Rebels United, leave a note and some argumentation on why you’d like to join in the comments section of this blog post. And/or let us know what you can bring to the table to make this a big success.

As the Corporate Rebels United get up-to-speed, they will start blogging on http://corporaterebelsunited.wordpress.com and we will soon open our website at http://www.corporaterebelsunited.com

Let’s 21 March 2012 be the start of our Corporate Spring! Because we believe it matters to infect our organizations with “change-as-the-norm” from the bottom-up!

@petervan of the Innotribe team

Laura Merling (@magicmerl) and Mike Maney (@the_spinmd) from the Alcatel-Lucent team

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It takes about 4:00 minutes before she gets into it, but here is once again a great TED talk by Brené Brown (@brenebrown)

Some highlights:

  • I engineered myself to staying small, staying under the radar screen
  • vulnerability is NOT weakness, it our most accurate measurement of courage
  • vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change are buzzwords
  • it’s about creating something that did not exist before, that takes courage
  • shame is the swamp lane of the soul
  • the myth that powerful folks don’t need checklists
  • TED is the failure conference
  • the credit goes to the man in the arena
  • shame is the gremlin that says “you’re not good enough”
  • shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior
  • shame is “i AM bad”, guilt is “i DID something bad”
  • shame is “i AM a mistake”, guilt is “i DID a mistake”
  • people who don’t experience shame are people who have no capacity for connection or empathy
  • shame is different for men and women
  • empathy is the antidode to shame > the two most powerful words when we are in struggle are “me too”
  • secrecy, silence, and judgement make shame grow exponentially
  • don’t wait to stand in the arena, in the middle of the fire, until you are perfect
  • we want you to go in and to dare greatly
In the beginning it’s a bit irritating that she does so much chit-chatting, but after a while i am aware it is a presentation technique to balance more relaxed moments with very introspective moments. A little bit less strong than her first appearance at TED a year ago, bit hey, what do you want: that was a milestone, a top that is very difficult to reach over and over again.


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Wilson Minor inspires, explains and amazes. Via Tom LaForge. Awesome presentation from Build2011 conference.

“Interconnectivity” is not about electronics. It’s about how seven billion people are changing how they see the world and live their lives. This is the definition of a macroforce and nothing bigger is happening on the planet right now.

Super presentation design and delivery.  Forty minutes of poetry. Sine parole.

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Innotribe, the innovation initiative of SWIFT, will be launching its innovation lab for Asian corporates at the forthcoming Asian Banker Summit to be held in Bangkok from 26-27 April, 2012.

(Drawing by Kosta Peric on iPAD)

The lab is designed for executives and managing directors of Asian companies,  to collectively think through their business strategies and organization in a hyper-connected world.  The lab will bring these companies, your clients, together with you to design new strategies and business models for a new generation of customers.

The two day highly interactive workshop will cover the following topics:

  1. The hyper-connected corporation – understanding the soul of a business tuned for the hyper-connected new generation of customers and employees.
  2. “Hyper economics” – following the money in a hyper-connected value chain
  3. “Organizational hyper vitality” – preparing corporate culture for challenges that a hyper-connected world will bring
  4. Idea generation within your own organization
  5. APIs and how they can open up the core competencies of your business
  6. Friction points in the value chain
  7. Digital identity and digital assets
  8. Presentation of ideas
  9. The future of collaboration – figuring out how the value chain of your business will evolve

The programme promises to be highly interactive with great speakers, innovators, motivators, all contributing to provide a thrilling learning experience that will help you understand the instincts required to get the future of your organization right.

Innotribe events are like no conference you’ve ever attended before. No dull presentations, no strict presenters – instead we guide participants through a process of broadening their outlook, thinking differently and emerging with tangible ideas that they can apply to the future success of their business.

Innotribe –a hyper-collaborative learning lab

The best way to learn how to deal with a hyper-connected world is to learn in a hyper-collaborative community.

Traditional conferences and training courses tend to offer a fairly one-dimensional view of the challenge at hand. Innotribe is an interactive learning experience in which you will be doing a lot of the thinking for yourself. Our facilitators, motivators and ‘thought instigators’ will push you to consider tough questions and look at things from multiple perspectives. One thing is for sure, you’ll emerge from Innotribe having engaged with your fellow participants, acquired a better understanding of your organisation’s decision-making process and generated new ideas you can apply as soon as you return to the office.

Creativity is a journey. Our agenda has been designed based on a flight metaphor: we will simulate a flight to encourage participants to understand and engage in the process of thought development and idea generation.

Just before take-off, the pilot will inform the passengers of what will happen during the flight: the planned route, the weather conditions, the expected turbulences, and that we are in for a bumpy ride. The weather conditions will be influenced by turbulences: digitization, API’s, the age of the machines, redefinition of value. There will be a steep take-off, take some time to enjoy and get inspired by the flight, with a pleasant approach and soft landing in foggy weather conditions.

We want to land with one strong idea to take away after the lab: an idea that is ambitious but achievable in the short to medium term.

Our list of instigators includes following thought leaders:

  • William H. Saito, CEO, the Innovation Platform Technology Fund (IPTF)
  • Mark Pesce,Founder FutureStreet –  Hypereconomics
  • Guibert Englebienne, CTO Globant.com – Organizational Fitness
  • Jennifer Sertl, Founder Agility3R and Author –Resilience, Responsiveness, Reflection
  • Laura Merling – Senior VP Platform & Strategy, Applications Enablement, Alcatel Lucent – “Rise of the Planet of the APIs”
  • Eiji Hagiwara, Mitzui Corporation – Corporate view
  • Dr Matt McDougall, Founder and CEO, SinoTech Group Bejing – Magic by Numbers: using algorithms & analytics to create Insight and Innovation
  • Dan Marovitz, Buzzumi – hyper-collaboration
  • Speakers from SWIFT include Kosta Peric, Matteo Rizzi, Luc Meurant and yours truly

The 2 days will culminate with the 2 winners of the Innotribe APAC Start-Up competition, that will be held earlier that week on 24 April 2012 in Singapore. This competition is part of our worldwide Innotribe Start-Up competition that started a couple of weeks ago in New-York.

It is still not to late to put forward your candidatures for the Asian start-up competition here. You have to apply before 21 March 2012.

The Asian Banker is managing this event as part of The Asian Banker Summit. All registration should be done directly with them, either through The Asian Banker or our websites or the event website www.theasianbankerforums.com/innotribe  directly.

by @petervan of the Innotribe Team (cross-posted on the Innotribe Blog)

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