Trompenaars started out by saying that the “essence of innovation is to combine existing stuff in exciting ways”. He told stories of when his consulting firm would be asked to go in and work with firms that had just “come out the other side” of a major project with one of the big consulting firms. He said that often the client would take them around the firm and show off the IT solutions they have as a result of the work, his stated reply was “… yes but people live here”.
Describing our world as one full of bi-polar attitudes and thoughts. He cited as an example MBTI. Saying that can we only be Thinking or Feeling? Why not both? This statement resonated with many in the room. His view was that in order to innovate it was not about Thinking or Feeling – but Thinking WITH Feeling, or Feeling with Thought.
Trompenaars has strong views on a number of issues for example:
Research – is just academics quoting each other and going round in circles – what we need is “search” not “research”
Having “destroyed” MBTI (a familiar tool), he then went on to look at KAI – the Kirton innovation tool. Again criticised as being bipolar but more than that Trompenaars said that in his view Kirton has confused Invention for innovation. As a measure of inventiveness he agreed that the tool added value – but that innovation was more a function of invention AND Adaptiveness (another scale on the instrument). I found this particularly interesting, as I have thought this true since working with the Creatrix Innovation inventory. What Trompenaars described as innovation is clearly identified in the Creatrix the work of Byrd some 40+ years ago.
- Individual or team?
The rest of the session was in essence looking at how we could help leaders to move from being bi-polar thinking – to duality – or “both and” approach. For example not the dilemma of individual creativity or team performance. He put the case that not only can we have both – but for future sustainability and growth we need both.
Overall some interesting ideas. How clearly his ideas are communicated in his book only time will tell.
My notes on this session were extensive and I will generate a bigger article in time.