How do you activate your organization to support your clients need for Innovation here and now, as well as for future needs? You need to become an innovation catalyst.

Lecturing at a digital safari for IT-Consultants Acando at EpiCenter in Stockholm, I focused my key note around a few central topics:

Customer focus as a passion, not a task

Breed and celebrate an innovative culture. This all begins with understanding that Innovation is about value creation. Without realized value, you are stuck with ideas. And ideas are likely to be worthless. Focusing on customer needs and how to deliver solutions to these will increase your organizations potential to innovate.

Infuse curiosity and courage. Curiosity will bring fantasy to play and with this comes solutions, needed as well as unexpected. To harvest from curiosity we must have courage, which comes from an ability to balance risk and opportunities. Systematic control, is funny enough a way to solve this.

However, leaders with a close to manic passion for customers best interests, will form innovative organizations.

Share. Share. Share

The likelihood that the best talents work in your organization is slim. The likelihood that your talents can create fantastic opportunities with others, in eco-systems is pretty good. Adopting solutions brought from outside of your team will create agility and opportunity for leaps, that is wider steps taken than the incremental we normally are organized to take. An open approach will foster cross functional opportunities.

Destruct and Restruct

Structures, processes (and gates) are there to support development, not the other way around. Just as lean is supposed to free resources to be used for development, development will shape lean organizations.

Organizing for Innovation we will se many shapes and solutions such as cells with certain innovation focus, team that moves like corporate nomads within and between organization (such as Googol) and well distributed innovation capabilities that flourish throughout the organization.

Overthrow the order

We tend to look at our offerings and develop these. Yes, this and business models. This is good. The latter offers tremendous returns. However combining various forms of innovation focuses, shapes totally new values for all stakeholders.

The challenge is to overthrow the order in which we focus on different types of innovation. Few do, but those that do, do well.

Lead. Not to suffer.

Clients have a need to satisfy its clients, who need to… all the way until a last user is actually satisfied. And then, a whole new process begins. The one, which involves all of us, sustaining the way we use and consume resources.

We are looking at more than one shift of business here. There will be plenty. No need to give up. Keep recruiting talents, collaborate and create new solutions. Make certain you are part of your clients eco-system. Ensure that you help the accelerate and act as catalysts for their innovation.

This post is also published in Swedish here


I am sometimes asked what my driving force is. What makes me move on. I would say in life and in work, there are more than a few driving forces. And their importance vary. Momentum is clearly one, and an important one. But more importantly I have myself shifted to investigate what pains people have. These pains tend to, when expressed, better give me an understanding of their passions. And when there is passion, there is no need to stop. No reasons not to do it.

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.

True for love, art, entrepreneurship and many other endeavors.. Words by Charles Bukowski in his poem goes for everything in life;
“if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.
don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.
when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was.”


In todays inspiring conversation with Mikkel Bondesen of Ufuse, I found myself again discussing the need to tear down the Taylorian models of constructing hierarchies. Actually, not only tear down, we need to remodel how we work within our organizations. We are slowly destroying the ability to create new business. As we say, there is no business, like No Business.

A few years ago I spoke quite a bit about the commonalities of Innovation hurdles in the organizations I had had the opportunity to work with. I explained this as the effects of a stroke. The damage of the stroke itself, being usually one of the hurdles, makes little difference in itself. However the swelling around this damage will likely for ever destruct the power and ability of the brain. It is the same factors that come into play with an organizations abilities after the first damage of size has been done. The fault in itself might be of insignificant value, but the long term effects will slowly rotten the business of doing business.

Central challenges of Innovation, Dariush Ghatan, Googol
Central challenges of Innovation, Dariush Ghatan, Googol

A non performing culture can be recognized as an organization only thinking big, demanding big, expecting big and therefore betting big. There is nothing proving that this strategy of betting big forms a working portfolio in itself. Betting often, fast and confident can be better.

Projects also need to iterate in a creative process and must be allowed to establish its form over time, as value is added from different stake-holder insights.

Another item Mikkel and I clearly agreed on was the way hierarchies form uncertainties though the reporting and decision making. By not allowing people to see the full picture, yes- we create a organization that will ship at high efficiency, but it will not deliver new initiatives nor drive new revenue.

Taylor meant that workers were not intelligent enough to understand the work they were involved in. Well, it’s the 21 century now. Things might have changed. And actually, they probably did understand, but didn’t know how to express it.

Mikkel said that he finds organizations where

the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing

And he is right. That is exactly what todays organizations often suffer from. The answers are there, the process to find the answers are not. This is were the need of facilitated Innovation, a little help from externals, will help.

I told Mikkel that I find it gruesome to see that many organizations don’t even have more than a left hand (or a right). I do remain   in my strong suggestion that organizations should have both a left and a right hand and that, as you know, should be ambidextrous. I say;

Many talk about sustaining their business. That’s not enough. There is no business, like No Business. We need to continiously redevelop ourselves and dare to be- and seek the disruptive.

Dariush-quote-06 (sustaining vs disrupting)

At Googol we are no working to develop further models for organizing the tasks and work force in streams of solutions. This we have found, will enable organizations to be more agile and anticipate their clients needs and respond to these in good time. We will during the symposium Innovation In Action 2013 in workshops such as Ambidextrous Organizations, held with Prof Bengt Järrehult of SCA and  me, as well as within workshops such as Big Data and Portfolio Management touch on the Why, the What and the How of this. Together this is how you form what I call a Zero-Time Company. More about this shortly.