Thinking Askew - The Free Book and Innovation Time Bomb Issue





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Thinking Askew - The Free Book and Innovation Time Bomb Issue
By Alf Rehn • Issue #15 • View online
Hello, friends! It’s “thinking Tuesday” again, so here’s a piping hot newsletter. A long-ish essay today, with the preamble here and a link to the full essay below – exclusive to newsletter readers for a full 48h! Oh, and so as to make this a real bumper issue – a free book for you, one on ecosystems that I was part of writing for Thinkers50. As usual, some more or less serious tidbits below that. Hope you’re having a great day! Best, Alf

The Innovation Time Bomb
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 petering out. I have lived the era of the crisis in Denmark, where life has been very close to normal for a while now. Gyms and pools have been open for a while, and although there are still some reminders of social distancing around, life goes on much like before the crisis — if with much more emphasis on the cleaning of hands. If you live where I do, you might even think that the crisis is over, and we’re now dealing with the aftermath. What I am worried about, which is also the reason I’m writing this, is that this aftermath may be more complex, and more far-reaching, than the current debate suggests.
Everyone can see the “For Let”-signs, and read about mass lay-offs, so we know that the economy will take some time to build back up. That’s OK, we think, for we’ve weathered recessions before. Sure, there will be hardship, but being the eternal optimists humans are, some are already sniffing at the boom that follows recessions. It might take a few years, they think for themselves, but it will come just like sunshine follows rain. They might even be right. Regardless, we know that the economy has taken a hit, and only time will tell the depth and reach of the recession.
Let us assume that the facts above are either obvious or unknowable. Yes, the crisis is real, and there will be economic effects. What I am interested in here, however, is a special kind of effect, one that I think has been hidden by more immediate concerns. I have for some time spoken about an innovation crisis, but what I am seeing being created right now is something more akin to an innovation time bomb, one which might not have any greater impact in the months or even a few years to come, but which might well detonate with furious force in something like a decade or two from now. […]
Ecosystems Inc
This is a book about ecosystems that I wrote a chapter for, and this is how Thinkers50 describe it: “Organizations were once linear and one dimensional. No more. The modern organization exists in a multi-dimensional ecosystem sustained by a potent combination of trust, technology and management. Think of Amazon, Alibaba, WeWork, Tencent and Uber. In Ecosystems Inc. some of the world’s leading management thinkers make sense of what it takes to understand, harness and develop organizational ecosystems.
Curated by Thinkers50 co-founder Stuart Crainer, Ecosystems Inc. brings together a unique blend of insights and experiences in the organizational frontline. Contributors include Rita McGrath from Columbia Business School, Julian Birkinshaw of London Business School, Karolin Frankenberger of the University of St. Gallen, Alessandro Di Fiore of ECSI Consulting, Mark Greeven of IMD and a host of others from the Thinkers50 community of global business thinkers.”
Get it, all free and in multiple formats, here: Alf’s little book folder
Things That Caught My Eye
A beautiful writing cabin
Why we self-sabotage (and 3 ways to stop doing it)
This Word Does Not Exist
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Alf Rehn

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

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