THE MEDICI EFFECT. Breakthrough insights at the intersection of ideas, concepts and cultures (Part 3/3)
Finally, after two previous posts, I conclude in the summary of ideas propossed by Frans Johansson in the book The Medici Effect. MAKING INTERSECTIONAL IDEAS HAPPEN imply the following 6 steps:
9. Execute Past Your Failures. Violence and School Curricula. Prothrow-Stith initiated the intersection between health care and violence prevention. But she started with many mistakes, and she had to change her action plan, leaving the hospital and going to the schools, and later on coming back to the health care system. Mistakes are inevitable if you want to succeed with intersectional ideas. Successful execution of this ideas does not come from carefully planning for success, but planning for failure.
10. How to Succeed in the Face of Failure. Palm Pilots and Counterproductive Carrots. We must continue executing ideas and move past our failures, but how?
– Try ideas that fail to find those that won’t.But embracing failure is no easy, nor rewarding them. How can we do it?
o Make sure people are aware that failure to execute ideas is the greatest failure, and that it will be punished
o Make sure everyone learns from past failures: don’t reward the same mistakes over and over again.
o If people show low failure rates, be suspicious. Maybe they are not taking enough risks, or maybe they are hiding their mistakes, rather than allowing others in the organization to learn from them.
o Hire people who have had intelligent failures and let others in the organization know that’s one reason they were hired.
– Reserve resources for trial and error. Lessons taken away from successes in realizing intersectional ideas:
o Be prepared to change your execution plans. You may have drawn them to convince others, motivate yourself, coordinate activities, or for any number of other reasons. But they will be based on at least some faulty assumptions and will therefore need to be adjusted.
o If realizing your ideas depends on money, make sure you spend it carefully. Is it possible to reserve enough for at least one or two more attempts? Alternatively, find trusted backers who will provide money for several trials.
o If realizing your idea depends on time, give yourself enough time for several trials and errors.
o Proceed with extreme caution if your reputation, goodwill, or contacts are riding on a successful execution of your idea on the first try.
– Remain motivated. The importance of intrinsic motivation (your internal perception and feelings) versus reward based motivation. The research leaded by Amabile in HBS about creativity and rewards, pointed out that “The only difference in experiences of rewarded and non-rewarded children in this study was their perception of the reward as contingent or not contingent upon the target activity. This it appears that the perception of a task as a means to an end is crucial to creativity decrements in task engagements.” However, it’s important having a reward as a result of your effort and success.
11. Break Out of Your Network. Ants and Truck Drivers. In the early 1990s Eric Bonabeau left France Telecom to deep his knowledge about insects (its social behaviour) in the Santa Fe Institute. Three years later Bonabeau launched an entirely new discipline called “swarm intelligence”, involving biologists, computer programmers and others, trying to find answers by running programs that mimic the behaviour of social insects. He thought that France Telecom was not ready to start with this new field. He had the courage to leave his old network and job.
Value networks are “the context in which a firm identifies and responds to customers’ needs, solves problems, procures input, reacts to competitors and strives for profit.” (Christensen, “The Innovators’ dilemma”). Value networks are essential for directional innovation, but they can prevent us from successfully pursuing intersectional innovation. If we want to succeed at the intersection of fields, we have to break away from the very networks that made us successful in the past.
12. How to Leave the Network Behind. Penguins and Meditation. How do we escape from the networks that once were so helpful to us?
– Break the chain of dependence. The example of Deepak Chopra shows how he had to abandon the community of endocrinology experts to become a pioneer who brought together traditional western medicine and alternative eastern medicine.
– Prepare for a fight. Linus Torvalds had to fight for example against Tanenbaum, a professor of operating systems before succeeding in launching Linux as the open source operating system.
13. Take Risks and Overcome Fear. Airplanes and Serial Entrepreneurs. Minimizing risks is not the secret of the intersectional entrepreneurs to face fear. They don’t disregard the fear of failure. Rather, it seems they accept that failure is part of innovation, and therefore they can somehow embrace it. Get going with enough resources, but not more, because that would increase the pressure for more and better results.
14. How to Adopt a Balanced View of Risk. Elephants and Epidemics. There are at least two different strategies we can follow:
– Avoid behavioural traps relating to risk.
Trap 1. “If things are going well, we stay within a field”. We tend to assume higher risks when things are going poorly (stronger force of fear losing), but then we’ll hurt our overall chances of success.
Trap 2. “Time spent in a field becomes a reason to stay in the field”. But what people have done in the past doesn’t by itself become a criterion for what should do in the future.
Trap 3. “We view risks at the intersection from a directional perspective”. It’s important to view any risky situation from many different perspectives.
– Acknowledge risks and fears. We cannot escape our fears, but we can manage them. By accepting our fears, by acknowledging that we can fail, and by becoming comfortable with what happens if we do, we can much more effectively move toward realizing our ideas at the intersection. In the words of Mark Twain: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
15. Step into the Intersection. And Create the Medici Effect. The future lies on the intersection: Find your way there. Because of the three driving forces – the movement of people, the convergence of science, and the leap of computation- these areas and many others are becoming increasingly interconnected. The solutions to terrorist threats, health care crises, and environmental problems are multifaceted and do not easily fit into distinct fields. But neither do solutions to less dramatic challenges, such as better fashion design, product innovation, and animated movies. In every arena, whether in the sciences or the humanities, business or politics, there is a growing need to connect and combine concepts from disparate fields. That is how we will find new opportunities, surmount new challenges, and gain new insights. That is the way we will create our future. The future lies at the Intersection, and if you wish to help create it, find your way there.
Expect the unexpected, because intersections are everywhere. This is the nature of intersectional ideas. If you let them happen, they will. You may not know exactly where. But when one of them hits you-be ready for it. Prepare to be surprised. Expect the unexpected.
There is logic to the intersection, but the logic is not obvious. The unexpected nature of the intersection makes it a place of uncertainty. It is unknown territory where past knowledge and experiences are poor guides. Obvious logic, for instance, tells us that it makes sense to prepare and budget a detailed plan of execution while pursuing directional ideas. What is not so obvious is that doing so at the intersection can lead to failure. Developing detailed, clear reward structures can work while pursuing directional ideas, but it will be self-defeating at the intersection. Seemingly having more resources should reduce the risk of failure at the intersection, but is not so obvious that the more resources we have, the more we will use, and thus the risk of failure remains the same. We may also find it strange that we don’t have a better chance of achieving groundbreaking innovation by specializing in a field. But if we step into the intersection, we can go from a mere 2.400 available concept combinations to almost six million. How to compete with that?
Take the leap, because today there are more reasons than ever to seek out the intersection. Disciplines and cultures are connecting faster, more often, and in more places than ever before.
How do you create intersectional ideas to happen?
- Programa Innobahia: avanzando en los proyectos de emprendimiento
- Liderazgo basado en la presencia a través del “Social Presencing Theatre” y Arawana Hayashi (III)
- THE MEDICI EFFECT Breakthrough insights at the intersection of ideas, concepts and cultures (Part 2/3)
- THE MEDICI EFFECT Breakthrough insights at the intersection of ideas, concepts and cultures (Part 1/3)
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Vivo en Getxo y trabajo en Tecnalia. Me gusta leer, nadar y pasear por la naturaleza. Me interesa investigar y explorar nuevos caminos para desarrollar nuestra capacidad de liderar la innovación de forma individual y colectiva. Para mí ser líder empieza por escucharte a ti mismo y a los demás. Doctor en Ciencias Químicas, en mis veinticinco años de actividad profesional he trabajado en la universidad, la industria y en los centros tecnológicos, donde he dirigido grupos de I+D+i sobre organización industrial, gestión y sistemas de innovación. Formado como coach por Team Academy Finlandia.
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