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Making Innovation Happen

A Global Aggregation of Leading Edge Articles on Management Innovation, Creative Leadership, Creativity and Innovation.  

This is the official blog of Ralph Kerle, Chairman, the Creative Leadership Forum. The views expressed are his own and do not represent the views of the International or National Advisory Board members. ______________________________________________________________________________________


Entries in Success (28)


NICTA and PhD's

NICTA, Australia’s information and communications technology (ICT) research centre of excellence, works with university partners to provide an environment that enhances and supports the quality of Australian computer science and electrical engineering PhD education. This partnership has recently celebrated an important milestone, the graduation of the 100th PhD student to carry out their research at NICTA – just three years since the program started.

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Centered leadership: How talented women thrive

A new approach to leadership can help women become more self-confident and effective business leaders.

Women start careers in business and other professions with the same level of intelligence, education, and commitment as men. Yet comparatively few reach the top echelons.

This gap matters not only because the familiar glass ceiling is unfair, but also because the world has an increasingly urgent need for more leaders. All men and women with the brains, the desire, and the perseverance to lead should be encouraged to fulfill their potential and leave their mark.

With all this in mind, the McKinsey Leadership Project—an initiative to help professional women at McKinsey and elsewhere—set out four years ago to learn what drives and sustains successful female leaders. We wanted to help younger women navigate the paths to leadership and, at the same time, to learn how organizations could get the best out of this talented group.

To that end, we have interviewed more than 85 women around the world (and a few good men) who are successful in diverse fields. Some lead 10,000 people or more, others 5 or even fewer. While the specifics of their lives vary, each one shares the goal of making a difference in the wider world. All were willing to discuss their personal experiences and to provide insights into what it takes to stay the leadership course. We have also studied the academic literature; consulted experts in leadership, psychology, organizational behavior, and biology; and sifted through the experiences of hundreds of colleagues at McKinsey.

From the interviews and other research, we have distilled a leadership model comprising five broad and interrelated dimensions (exhibit): meaning, or finding your strengths and putting them to work in the service of an inspiring purpose; managing energy, or knowing where your energy comes from, where it goes, and what you can do to manage it; positive framing, or adopting a more constructive way to view your world, expand your horizons, and gain the resilience to move ahead even when bad things happen; connecting, or identifying who can help you grow, building stronger relationships, and increasing your sense of belonging; and engaging, or finding your voice, becoming self-reliant and confident by accepting opportunities and the inherent risks they bring, and collaborating with others.

We call this model centered leadership. As the name implies, it’s about having a well of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual strength that drives personal achievement and, in turn, inspires others to follow. What’s particularly exciting is that we are starting to discover ways women can actively build the skills to become more self-confident and effective leaders. Centered leadership also works for men, though we have found that the model resonates particularly well with women because we have built it on a foundation of research into their specific needs and experiences.

Centered leadership emphasizes the role of positive emotions. A few characteristics particularly distinguish women from their male counterparts in the workplace. First, women can more often opt out of it than men can. Second, their double burden—motherhood and management—drains energy in a particularly challenging way. Third, they tend to experience emotional ups and downs more often and more intensely than most men do. Given these potentially negative emotions, centered leadership consciously draws on positive psychology, a discipline that seeks to identify what makes healthy people thrive. Although none of the women we interviewed articulated her ideas in precisely those terms, when we dived into the literature and interviewed leading academics, we found strong echoes of what our female leaders had been telling us.


‘To love what you do and feel that it matters—how could anything be more fun?’

Meaning is the motivation that moves us. It enables people to discover what interests them and to push themselves to the limit. It makes the heart beat faster, provides energy, and inspires passion. Without meaning, work is a slog between weekends. With meaning, any job can become a calling.

It starts with happiness. Positive psychologists (including Tal Ben-Shahar, Jonathan Haidt, and Martin Seligman) have defined a progression of happiness that leads from pleasure to engagement to meaning. Researchers have demonstrated, for example, that an ice cream break provides only short-lived pleasure; in contrast, the satisfaction derived from an act of kindness or gratitude lasts much longer. Katharine Graham, the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 enterprise (the Washington Post Company), famously said, “To love what you do and feel that it matters—how could anything be more fun?”

Why is meaning important for leaders? Studies have shown that among professionals, it translates into greater job satisfaction, higher productivity, lower turnover, and increased loyalty.1 The benefits also include feelings of transcendence—in other words, contributing to something bigger than yourself generates a deeper sense of meaning, thereby creating a virtuous cycle. Finding meaning in life helped some of the women leaders we interviewed take new paths and accept the personal risks implicit in their goals.

Shelly Lazarus, the chairman and CEO of the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, described how she “just followed [her] heart, doing the things that [she] loved to do.” This sense of meaning inspired her, early in her career, to jump from Clairol to Ogilvy. Lazarus commented that everyone she knew thought that her decision to go from the client side to the agency side was a strategic move. But “it wasn’t really like that,” she says. “I just loved the interaction with the agency because that was the moment I could see where the ideas came to life.”

People seeking to define what is meaningful can start, as one interviewee put it, by “being honest with yourself about what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing.” Building these signature strengths into everyday activities at work makes you happier, in part by making these activities more meaningful. Although there is no simple formula for matching your strengths to any single industry or function, you can look for patterns in jobs that have and haven’t worked out and talk with others about your experiences.

The connection between signature strengths and work can change because priorities do; sometimes, for example, a job is better than a calling, especially for young mothers. Our interviews show that this ebb and flow is natural and that the key to success is being aware of the shifts—and making conscious choices about them—in the context of bigger goals, personal or professional.

To read more on meaning:

Tal Ben-Shahar, Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007.

Martin E. P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, New York: Free Press, 2004.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, New York: Penguin, 2007.

For more visit McKinsey



Corporate Social Responsibility - A Case Study - Bonnie Babes Foundation

As businesses, corporates and organisations learn more about the benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility, The Bonnie Babes Foundation provides one example of how corporates and charities can work together.

Rachel Stanfield-Porter founded the Bonnie Babes Foundation in 1994. They are a national charity with branches in each state.

The Bonnie Babes Foundation exists to
• provide medical equipment to hospitals for premature babies struggling for life in
intensive care,
• assist vital medical research projects into pregnancy loss and complications to women’s
health during and following pregnancy,
• provide education and training for health professionals,
• provide 24 hour, 7 day per week free family crisis phone lines for those who have lost a
baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth,
• provide health nutrition and wellness advice for women prior to and during pregnancy,
• provide support for families with infertility issues and assists with counselling relating
to infertility,
• provide support for babies born with abnormalities,
• support women who develop pre-eclampsia and other medical conditions during
pregnancy, and
• provide extensive public awareness and education about pregnancy loss infertility issues
and prematurely born babies.


Compare these statistics:
Australian road fatalities = 1,400 pa
Babies lost through stillbirth each year = 2000 pa

Total of all cancer deaths = 36,000 pa
Total of all deaths due to miscarriage and stillbirth = over 70,000 pa

$215 million spent on breast cancer research in 2000. The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia was 12,126 in 2004
The Bonnie Babes Foundation counsels and supports 17,000 families each year.
Sudden Infant Deaths = 71 in 2007
1 in 10 babies are born prematurely (approx. 17,500 each year)


National Babies Day:

Saturday 19 September 2009 is National Babies Day, the major annual fundraising event for the Bonnie Babes Foundation (a non-profit charity organisation).

National Babies Day raises much needed funds to help decrease the loss of children every year in
Australia and provide a better quality of life for babies born prematurely struggling for survival
in intensive care.

A wide range of events are held across Australia during September to raise funds for the Bonnie
Babes Foundation.

Just like Mother’s Day or Fathers Day, National Babies Day offers an opportunity to celebrate the lives of healthy Australian babies while remembering those that have left us too soon.

Visit www.bbf.org.au to make a tax-deductible donation online or purchase the beautiful Little Feet Pin in Gold or Pewter for just $5 + P&H

Shop at Target on 19 September when 5% of proceeds from all kids wear purchases will be donated to the Bonnie Babes Foundation.

Or, get those odd jobs around the house completed by Hire-a-Hubby in the week leading up the National Babies Day, and Hire-a-Hubby will donate $30 to support the Bonnie Babes Foundation.

Baby Kingdom are donating a percentage of all sales in September leading up to National Babies Day.


There are many other ways you and your organisation can engage with the Bonnie Babes Foundation, including 'in-kind support'

Here are three of the medical projects they are currently looking for investors to support:

The following projects have just been rated the highest from the medical board they are three projects we would really like to support.  They are exceptionally worthy.

1.    DNA damage and recurrent pregnancy loss.  Funds requested $20,000

Recurrent miscarriage affects approximately 1% of couples during their reproductive lives, and the recurrent miscarriage rate is approximately 3-5%. [1] At present recurrent miscarriage and infertility are of increasing concern in most developed countries. [2] one of the major problems facing clinicians working with patients suffering recurrent miscarriages is that there is seldom a single obvious cause identified.  In recent years, increasing efforts have been made to describe causes of recurrent miscarriage at the molecular level.  DNA damage in the gametes (sperm and egg) can lead to developmental defects and pregnancy loss.  In human cells, normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as smoking and poor diet can cause DNA damage.  Any cell that has accumulated a large amount of DNA damage cannot function.  Although it has long been acknowledged that both male and female partners contribute to human reproductive success, the past 20 years have focussed on the importance of DNA damage in the male and successful pregnancy.  There is substantial literature relating DNA damage in sperm with infertility and pregnancy loss, but very little research has examined this in the mother.  It is not known if DNA damage in both the mother and father could be used to diagnose couples at risk of recurrent miscarriages.  Therefore, this study aims to determine if increased DNA damage in both the mother’s and father’s blood is associated with recurrent miscarriages.  If this is the case, larger studies will be undertaken, investigating the use of DNA damage markers as a predictive tool for couples who are at risk of recurrent miscarriages.  This would allow possible interventions to reduce DNA damage before trying to conceive, or depending on age and additional risk factors, allow for immediate referral for assisted reproduction techniques.

2.    Longterm follow up bereaved.  Funds requested $21,000

Each week in Australia around 40 families experience the death of a baby due to stillbirth or neonatal death.  Such losses can be highly traumatic for families and research consistently shows the potential for patients to experience extreme psychological distress.  Some studies have shown that distress may continue for at least several years, but little is known about the longer-term impacts.  This project offers a rare opportunity to follow up a cohort of 144 parents (both mothers and fathers) who experienced the death of an infants some 20 years ago to assess their psychological, social and physical health.  By re-contacting these families 21-23 years after their loss, the study is uniquely paced to enhance knowledge and understanding of the long-term psychosocial and health impacts of pregnancy loss and the range of factors – including those relating to the period soon after the loss – that predict different outcomes.  Such information has the potential to aid the development and provision of effective, appropriate and responsive support services for bereaved families.

3.    Retinopathy of Prematurity: ‘Ray of Hope’ Funds requested $25,000

Retinopathy is the major cause of blindness in premature infants all over the world.  Globally there are 1.4 million children who are born blind.  The growing need to prevent the pathogenesis of Retinopathy of Prematurity has become ever more prevalent as research efforts are directed toward preventing further escalation of the disease to ensure the preterm infant will have a high quality of life with the gift of sight.  It is the hope that by understanding the very early stages of Retinopathy of Prematurity we can improve the changes of developing new forms of treatment that target the earliest microvascular changes rather than waiting until the retina is invaded by numerous pathological, leaky new vessels as currently therapy dictates.

To learn more, please contact Debbie Chalmers:

Phone: (03) 9803 1800

Toll Free 1300 266 643

Email: enquiry@bbf.org.au




Solving Problems with Pictures

Interview with Dan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin August 1, 2009. By Vern Burkhardt"We can use the simplicity and immediacy of pictures to discover and clarify our own ideas, and use those same pictures to clarify our ideas for other people, helping them discover something new for themselves along the way." Pictures can be used to discover, develop and share business ideas—and have some fun.

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Latest Brain Test - Speed Memory

Feeling like your reaction time could use some improvement? Race against the clock and put your reaction speed to the test.

Play Here