"Innovation is CREATIVITY that ships" (Steve Jobs). Not a PowerPoint slidedeck.

I have been mulling over Micrsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s interview for a couple of months. While I share the core belief that constructive organizational change starts with the individual at a grassroots level, in a world of corporate downsizing individual morale can sometimes sink or swim. According to Robert Kramer of Stanford University, when an organization clearly explains reasons for major decisions that impact workforce reduction, it reduces staff anxiety.

I favor sensemaking so that we can engage in an emergent dialogue that is devoid of speculation during the journey towards corporate renewal. Below is my key takeaway from the interview.

corporate strategy

Rather than brood over the past, I desire to be solution focused and take a page from the world of development theater in my quest to rekindle and recapture my mojo with a spirit of positivity and “find a seat on the corporate turnaround bus” to (co-)create the perfect storm. Although innovative late movers have plenty of work cut out to reclaim marketshare, there is enough evidence that they can still orchestrate a successful turnaround.

Innovative Late Mover

I need to cultivate the sensitivity to listen with my body, demonstrate perceptual courage to be empathetic, as well as personally invest over a period of time in a relationship that will demand an increasing openness. Besides physical and moral courage, creative courage involves the discovery of new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which a new society can be built.

“Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”
— James Joyce


“Creativity is the encounter of the intensively conscious human being with his or her world.”
— Rollo May

Every creative encounter is an act of courage. Any encounter with the customer is a “moment of truth” (not just a soundbite).

creative encounter

The dialogue between manager and employee should focus on the “performing potential” of an individual consistent with the brand promise “Your Potential. Our Passion.” Below is a mental model of the performative conversation which can also be a soliloquy.






In the world of service innovation, the operational view of “how we do things” has a human dimension that resonates with feelings of Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity (ABC). Fostering a culture of companionate love reduces employees’ withdrawal from work and improves the employee satisfaction, commitment and accountability.




The ABC focus is the heart of a new brand of leadership called Host Leadership pioneered by Mark McKergow.

Host Leadership

Performing is essential to our humanness and is the ability to go beyond ourselves and the (stranger) act of “being who we aren’t at any given moment.” People don’t grow individually but grow as a social unit. Vgotsky’s observations led him to believe that young children thrive in a natural environment where they are supported to do what they don’t know how to do — such an environment is called the zone of proximal development (zpd) and creates the conditions for learning and emotional growth. When I am in the “becoming” state, I am creative, creating, alive and performing. The zpd supported creative process is “not creating a product” but creating the tool that gives rise to the product.

“Our culture has produced elaborate rationalizations to exclude performance from everyday life.”
Psychological Investigations: A Clincian’s Guide to Social Therapy
Lois Holzman and Rafael Mendez (eds.)

“Life is but a stage and we are true but actors upon it.”
William Shakespeare


Fred Newman insightfully observed that in development theatre, we want “Doug to reshape DuBois.” “Why should we judge Doug by how well he reshapes DuBois? Let Doug imitate DuBois to create a more developed Doug.”

Performance of a Lifetime

critical few for culture change

culture eats strategy

Conducting the Talent Orchestra’s Performance of a Lifetime (TOPL) is the “growth hacking” strategy for competing in a Mobile F#irst Cloud F#irst World. Activist managers with the courage to create may chose to focus on the human dimension and pave the path for jugaad innovation.

“There is a thing that sometimes happens in rowing that is hard to achieve and hard to define. Many crews, even winning crews, never really find it. Others find it but can’t sustain it. It’s called swing. It only happens when all eight oarsmen are rowing in such perfect unison that no single action by any one is out of synch with those of all the others. Poetry, that’s what a good swing looks like.”

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown

Boat Synchrony

With a dash of inspiration from “The Boys in the Boat,” the corporate turnaround strategy is being sharpened with an agility focus.

OPS view of Agility

Winning Strategy

This is a living blog by Last Mile Resource

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