Blogpost #4

While searching for a Ted Talk that would be most relevant to who I am, who I’m becoming and provides content most useful throughout my personal journey, I found myself on a tangent watching Ted Talks ranging from creativity, confidence, authenticity, business management, etc that went on for hours.

Innovation and Leadership are the two values I wish to capitalize on, harness, and improve competency in, as they are both vital in the world of business and online marketing. In TedxCambridge- “How to Manage for Collective Creativity” Linda Hill provides two examples of how the most innovative minds are operating to produce outstanding results, how we must re-frame our ideas on what leadership really means and how creative collection from the bottom up is vital for a thriving community.

How to Manage for Collective Creativity

Linda Hill gives a brief opening of her experiences and credentials, and proposes the question “Leading innovation is not about creating a vision, and inspiring others to execute it. But what do we mean by innovation?” She proceeds by using the CEO of Pixar, Ed Catmull as an example of innovative leadership, in which how he operates by allowing a marketplace of creative abrasion, open to discourse dialogue from experts of all beliefs. Innovation is not about solo genius, it’s about collective genius.”

Next example used was Bill Coughran, the head of Google’s Infrastructure Group. When discussing the best option for a situation at hand with his team, he split the teams into two groups, Big Table and Build it From Scratch. Each representing different solutions and each had the task of creating prototypes and presentations to support their claim. Bill described his role as, “Injecting honesty into the process by driving debate.” Afterwards, one of the engineers on the team proclaimed If you had forced us to all be on one team, we might have focused on proving who was right, and winning, and not on learning and discovering what was the best answer for Google.”  By allowing a diversity of individuals the freedom and ability to assert their ideas no matter which idea was popular vote by the higher ups in the infrastructure, Bill enabled innovation in its most productive state to take place within his team, thus leading the company towards progressive outcomes by understanding how to manage creative collectives.

The most interesting takeaway from Linda’s speech was towards the end when quoting Bill’s response to the questions about how he saw his role in the company.

“I lead a volunteer organization. Talented people don’t want to follow me anywhere. They want to cocreate with me the future. My job is to nurture the bottom-up and not let it degenerate into chaos.”

“I’m a role model, I’m a human glue, I’m a connector, I’m an aggregator of viewpoints. I’m never a dictator of viewpoints.”

By analyzing key players in the game, Ed from Pixar, and Bill of Google and how they are changing leadership and producing results, its clear to see where most traditional business infrastructures are lacking. My vision for my business endeavors is to not be a part of a system where the top of the pyramid dominate everything, but to harness the ability to lead an environment of allowing and encouraging creative individuals do what they do best.

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