Square Pegs and Round Holes: Why Companies can’t Innovate

Posted by Flux on 

10 September 2019

Presented by Dion Chang

Why Companies can’t Innovate

A C-Suite Presentation

In an era of disruption – and now, especially for a post-pandemic world – every company is looking to reframe and innovate. I’ve always questioned why innovation fails or succeeds in the corporate world. I’ve attended innovation tours (of the top 50 performing companies in NYC) and an Innovation Masterclass in Silicon Valley. Every time I delve into what fuels innovation, one thing becomes clear: CEOs and business owners often misunderstand the innovation process. Almost all view it as a technological challenge, whereas my findings point to a more fundamental shift: the redesign of outdated corporate business models. I understand trends but that also means I understand what doesn’t change.

This presentation is designed specifically for the C-suite and anyone in a leadership role grappling with change. The following threads are explored and woven together:

  • The intersection of inevitable disruption all companies face, the skill sets needed to meet disruption and the necessary changes needed in the company’s operating system to become more agile and adaptive.
  • The irony of change. Without a plan you can’t execute, but when you execute, the plan changes. What is your company’s appetite (and capacity) to continually evolve the plan, or shift goalposts
  • Reinventing “failing fast”. How leadership should respond to failure. Failure reminds us of what matters most, rather than what went wrong.
  • People with no experience, innovate because they don’t have institutional baggage. Is there anyone who thinks differently missing from your company’s departments? Should your company still be operating in silos?
  • All together now. In many cases getting employees “onto the same page” is more about getting management onto the same page. The communication disconnect is usually both vertical as well as horizontal.
  • The business of Identity Politics. Diversity is about who is in the room, inclusivity is about what each person does. Diverse experiences and opinions provide “eyes of a child” – the lifeblood of innovation.

An Executive Summary.

1.What is the essence of this presentation?

While companies understand the essence of disruption, they misunderstand the tools and dynamics needed to meet that disruption (ie innovation) and therefore are unable to scale or implement the innovation process.

2. What gives me the credibility to talk about this?

I give a Futures/Trends as Business Strategy module for various business schools (GIBS, Duke CE, Graduate School of Business @ UCT,) mostly to senior management or executives, and am frequently invited to speak to excos and boards of directors, specifically to shift their thinking, and perspectives.

3.What is the most inspiring takeaway for the audience?

The Activist CEO now has a pivotal role to play in an emerging new world order. They mould and inspire a company culture that is vastly different to the corporate template spawned in the 20th century.

Aren’t you curious to discover what is preventing your company from innovating?
– Looking at Trends as Business Strategy-

If you are interested in booking this presentation for your team or clients please contact Bethea Clayton on or +27764539405

Image credit: Gallo Images/ Getty Images

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