Thinking Askew

By Alf Rehn

Professor of management & innovation, speechifier, and popular culture geek.

Professor of management & innovation, speechifier, and popular culture geek.

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Thinking Askew - The Mediocrity Issue

Writing and thinking about management have tended to be highly polarized along an axis of success and failure. On the one hand, we tend to spend a tremendous amount of time on managers who seem to be very successful, and therefore worthy of the epithet “leade…


Thinking Askew - The Issue With A Creativity Hack That Actually Works

There are of course ways, or "hacks", to make yourself more creative. In fact, there are several. The one I'm interested in today is one that I've always been interested in, but two things in particular nudged me to today's little experiment. One was being a …


Thinking Askew - The Frivolity Issue

This is a product that exists, and I'm not sure why:


Thinking Askew – The "How I Got An AI To Write A Dadaistic Article About Innovation"-issue

Sooo… I decided to take GPT-3 out for a spin. More specifically, I signed up for a service that promised to write content with this magical-sounding not-quite-AI-but-not-quite-not-AI-either thing. My thinking was that I often find that innovation think pieces…


Thinking Askew - The Cheap, Fast, Good Issue

There's a old and hokey saying that particularly people in advertising still like repeating, one that specifies what clients want and what they can get. In its most succinct form it goes: "Cheap, fast, good – pick two.". So you can get something cheap and fas…


Thinking Askew - The Creative Spaces Issue

There is something in the notion of creative places/spaces (a distinction that I will not dwell on here) that holds tremendous fascination for a lot of people. In part this can be understood as simple desire, as in how we all wish we could work in a place tha…


Thinking Askew – The Creative Tools Issue

True creatives wield tools, and they tend to love their tools with a passion. Talk with an artist, or a writer, or an art director about creativity, and they are more likely than not to speak in quite vague terms and never really committing to much. Ask about…


Thinking Askew - The Innovation (Mental) Health Issue

As our world is roiled by one crisis after the other, and as the little virus that could keeps many, many people more or less confined to their homes, mental health issues are fast rising up as a core problem for contemporary organizations. The scary thing is…


Thinking Askew – The Creative Notes and Garbage Watches Issues

When academics want to talk about the fact that not everything happens only in the brain, but that the body sort of hangs around as well, they are prone to use the word “embodiment”. It is a fancy word, but it really only means that something involves the bod…


Thinking Askew - The Free Book and Innovation Time Bomb Issue

I write this as the crisis of 2020 (no additional explanation needed) is both calming down and speeding up. Depending on where in the world you live, the crisis is either getting more acute and overwhelming the healthcare system, or seems to be almost peterin…


Thinking Askew - The Restart and Unconferences Edition

So, I'm joining Innov8rs Connect Unconference to support innovators to solve challenges, capture opportunities and lead their organizations to emerge stronger from the crisis. I will be doing an Ask Me Anything on July 23rd, 16:00 CET!If you're keen to connec…


Thinking Askew - The Unnecessary Innovations (Unnovations?) Issue

Our society tends to narrate innovation in triumphalist and only triumphalist ways. As we, particularly in the West but increasingly as a global society, have collectively embraced the notion of innovation as something always already good, always already righ…


Thinking Askew - Transformation and Kafka

Introduction“When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.” So beings Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis, a strange yet powerful tale about becoming something bizarre, something…


Thinking Askew - The "On Innovation Time" Issue

Innovation takes time. I know… Shocking, right? Still this very trivial fact contains a surprising amount of depth, with strange assumptions and ignored truths often skewing the manner in which we understand innovation time. In this chapter, we will inquire i…


Thinking Askew - The Privilege Issue

Who doesn’t love innovation? For years we’ve been taught that it is a magical engine of goodness, bringing amazing technologies and wonderful services to one and all. For many of us it has been a cornucopia, a horn of plenty, always ready to make our already …


Thinking Askew - The "Dealing With Innovation Bores" Issue

We’ve all been there, in one of those dreadful meetings where Mr or Ms Important drones on and on about innovation and how important it all is.It’s not that we disagree, not really, but we’ve heard it all before. We’ve heard the hackneyed examples, the strang…


Thinking Askew - The Stress Down Issue

In contemporary business, there’s not a single company in the world that doesn’t want to be an innovator, or better yet, a disruptor. Quite the contrary. Companies across the globe are competing about who can be the most innovation focused , the most strategi…


Thinking Askew - The Summer Lovin' Issue

Popular culture – we all love it, no matter how much some of us try to hide it. It speaks to something deep down inside of us, and nourishes us with its recognizable story-lines, entertaining twists, and pleasing acts of closure. We may not all enjoy the same…


Thinking Askew - with 7 surprising lessons from companies who’ve actually got innovation right

There is no end to the amount that is written about “innovative organizations”, or more precisely companies that are referred to as being innovators. This however does not mean that everything written about such organizations is actually about innovation at a…


Thinking Askew - Issue #5

(A piece I originally wrote for the magazine HR Director.)In an age filled with fear and apprehension regarding the future of work, creativity and innovation were supposed to be the things that could save us. Perennially at the top of lists of what work-life …