You can't be a leader without being an innovator.
You can't be an innovator without being a leader.

Leadership and innovation are converging.

On one side, in a world that keeps changing, leadership is practiced through innovation. You can't be a leader without being an innovator.

On the other side, innovation is increasingly a matter of people, more than methods and investments. You can't be an innovator without being a leader. 


How can we create a better world through leadership?

Leadership through Meaning

A leader is ultimately a person who, together with other people, is in a journey to create a better world. The challenge nowadays is that, in this fluid scenario, directions are not given. We are constantly asked to redefine which direction is more meaningful. And to move with others.  How to practice leadership today? How to envision a direction that is meaningful for us and for the others in a confused world that keeps changing? I address this question in "Overcrowded", where I illustrate how to nurture new meaningful visions by moving from the inside-out, i.e. by starting from ourselves. Leadership, ultimately, is like making gifts. The gift is for the others. The making of the gift is for ourselves.

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How do we grow?

The art of criticism

How do we change? How do we grow? Through developmental criticism.
Although the word “criticism” often carries a sense of negativity, in reality it has no particular negative or positive disposition. It rather indicates the practice of going deeper when interpreting things, together with others. Criticism is crucial in the life of a leader. First: is the way to challenge our own cognitive frame; it’s the way to question how we make sense of the environment. It helps us to shake us off and get rid of a past that might not be meaningful anymore. Second, criticism enables us to create the new. When we propose a new vision, we simply start from the inkling of a hypothesis. Our initial proposal is blurred, vague. Just a sense of direction, whose value and implications are unclear. Not only to others; even more to ourselves. Criticism enables us to dig deeper, confront our hypothesis with the hypotheses of others, clash them, fuse them, and find the new, more powerful direction that lies underneath. Whereas in recent years many studies have explored how to practice the art of creativity, very few is known on how to practice the art of developmental criticism. This is why we are studying it. 

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How can you radically transform a business?

Radical Circles 

How to successfully transform a business? I've been intrigued by many stories of breakthrough change in organizations. Take for example Microsoft's creation of the Xbox in 2000. How was it possible that a giant like Microsoft, totally focused on software, with a strong hold on business clients and productivity applications, decided to dive into a journey made of hardware, young consumers, and entertainment? How did it happen that Microsoft developed a totally new platform, the Xbox, with an operative system that was incompatible with Windows, its incumbent core technology? In my studies with Naiara Altuna at Politecnico di Milano and with Rami Shani at California Polytechnic University,  have discovered that the story of the Xbox resembles the typical dynamics of breakthrough movements in art and science, such as the impressionism or Viennese school of psychology: the key role is played by a small circle of radical thinkers, i.e. a Radical Circle. This is a small group of peers, not formally related in the organization, but who are directly exposed to changes in the context and therefore start to feel a malaise with the current business direction. Rather than proposing a new radical vision to their top executives (their pitch would hardly succeed since their radical vision would be hardly recognized and supported), these radicals start to work autonomously (often secretly) for a while. Once they emerge, their vision is so robust and powerful to stand the harsher opponents, and it is more easily grasped by others. This article illustrates how a Radical Circle works, and how you can create your own.

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