Several blogs, etc. have converged and got me thinking....
I was reading the Daily Telegraph over a scone this morning and a piece by Sir John Rose, chief executive of Rolls-Royce, caught my attention (and extracted below). He wrote
"Three years ago Rolls-Royce decided that we had to do something to try to address the declining level of interest in science in our schools and universities. That was the genesis of the Rolls-Royce Science Prize. Since then around 600 schools have participated.
Over the past 10 years, the number of A-level physics students has fallen from about 37,000 to 29,000 and maths students from 65,000 to 51,000. By contrast, in China and India there has been an explosion of interest in the sciences and they produce between them more than half a million engineering graduates a year, at least 20 times the number coming out of UK universities.
We have to take steps to correct this because in this new century science and scientists will be at the heart of most of the challenges the world now faces. Take just three trends: urbanisation, life expectancy and the threat to the environment. By 2030, a further 1.7bn people will be living in towns and cities. China alone expects to "urbanise" 400-500m people over the next decade. That is almost the equivalent of building Western Europe in less than 25 years.
Science will also provide the key to maintaining the UK's prosperity in today's harshly competitive, globalised economy. Our future economic performance as a nation depends crucially on our ability to move up the value-added chain and to compete on ideas that are incorporated into products and services.
The writing of scientific papers is not in itself a wealth-creating business. It is worth repeating Ivor Tiefenbrun's view: "It is not possible to sustain world-class education or research without world-class manufacturing. Manufacturing funds, originates, supports or facilitates around three quarters of all research.""
I also read "All is not well with the UK design industry" which starts:
“The creative industries account for more than seven per cent of the UK economy. But many are now struggling in the face of unprecedented overseas competition. The contribution made by the UK design sector has halved since 2000, with the number of larger agencies falling by one third.”
There is more supporting data in the blog and points to a NESTA text on Creating Entrepreneurship
"The ambition is to ensure that those entering the creative industries do so with the skills to sustain and grow their businesses"
As part of my leadership role I was tasked with making a difference on how we delivered packaging solutions to the business. This meant that all my team were engaged in M>W>D activities, as well as creating packaging. This took us into product-based change projects, involving the internal team as well as design technology suppliers, packaging convertors, design houses, rapid prototypers and many universities academic departments and units. Each member of my team looked after one or two projects and orchestrated the improvement activity. As every organisation was culturally different we needed so thinking tools that would help in this task.
Professor Rob Goffee's Double-S cultural model proved to be useful for understanding who we were dealing with. The Double-S model is described here and here. This is a version annotated for innovation triggers
I attended one of prof. Goffee's presentations and he described his four quadrants in interesting ways, quoting a company that illustrated the culture
Picture by Est Bleu2007 . Used with thanks under CC.
Like Unilever: Drink a little, talk a lot.
Picture by maveric2003 . Used with thanks under CC.
Hewlett Packard and Johnson and Johnson: Live the vision.
Picture Uploaded by compujeramey . used with thanks under CC.
Typified by Mars: "We all worked together and suddenly he'd gone!"
University: Herding cats. 60 great professors who would rather not talk to each other.
So to quote someone else "It's not easy!" to build and orchestrate the networks of organisations and players (talent) to make things happen.
The Creativity Exchange has highlighted a working paper that highlights the challenges facing European innovation activities vs. the US. From my experiences in organisations with large regional or global activities and/or markets, it takes a loose orchestrating approach to make things work. We need to recognise difference as a driver for superb creativity. It is how we find the players, build a common, motivating vision together and operate in concert to create possible solutions, make them tangible and convert into winning experiences enabled by our products and services.
The challenge is that even in small organisations, say 12 people upwards, we see that these sorts of behaviour become visible and often it is these small organisations that have to energise partners to do incredible things for them in order to deliver!
So having waffled on, but feeling I have set the scene, I will reflect on this and return to the challenges shortly!
Picture uploaded by RBerteig. Used with thanks under CC.