Better By Design CEO summit notes – Day 1 note 3

Last note of the day

Alan M Weber, Co-founder Fast company

Change and leadership are the themes of our time. Profound need for organisational change to address fundamental shifts in global realities

Sees the world is full of VUCA – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. (I think he misses a bit here – where is the information overload – perhaps in the complexity?)

Thinks that most organisations want to change but are stuck. Gives example from Europe. (Closest equivalent to me is when I saw Toyota CEO speak in 1998 about how Toyota was moving as fast as possible to be green by going hybrid – he seemed genuinely nervous that they were not moving fast enough, and then a few weeks later the General Motors CEO talked about delivering even bigger and bulkier SUVs. That disconnect had obvious conclusions and over the years I made good percentage returns by shorting GM versus Toyota)

Sees that leadership can come from grassroots as well as the top. Portland municipality example.

If the challenge is change and leadership then how does design help?
– Design serves as a problem poser
– Design acts as a problem solver – helping specify and solve the issue.
– Design serves as a tool for making sense of the world.
– Design as inspiration and aspiration

A strategy is something that solves more than one problem at a time.

He is using Portland example about delivering the right results to the targeted population – young middle class families. Apparently Portland is different from other US cities. (He really needs to visit Wellington, which seems to have a lot of this done, but it does make me want to check Portland out)

Apparently US military buys gasoline for (not in) Afghanistan and Iraq for $1 per gallon, but the real cost of that to the forces includes cost of convoys, which means soldiers die and s forth. Real cost delivered cost is $50 per gallon (promoting this as design thinking, but it’s simple economics/cost accounting.) Therefore US military is looking at energy efficient and alternative fuel vehicles.

Jeremy asking questions: So you believe it is scalable across a country? Yes. Jeremy notes that Icebreaker set up in Portland, after a intense selection process. (That seems to be working well.) You don’t get to Portland, Oregon by accident. (I’ve yet to get there, though I’ve hit about 47 states so far. The rest of Oregon was great though). Cannot invest character. Aspen I s fake – the millionaires have been driven out by the  billionaires. Portland have bumper stickers “Portland is weird” and locals like them.
“Nobody in America knows that AirNZ is the best airline in the world. The power of story telling – would be great if you tried it.”
Trying to challenge NZ to be very different from the US. (not really selling it well as he has not been here for long, but it’s a good idea though – we have many of the elements in place, and the LOTR movies were a start. How do we become truly good and different. We also have to toe the line on international politics – it’s hard, for example, to legalise all drugs because of the impact that would have on our exporters and travellers.)

Start small, put your idea in a petrie dish and let it grow. (Or how about a bunch of petrie dishes, much like we have in our dot com economy here)

Panel
Takeaway:
Jeremy – design integration can be empowering, but the trick is to rescue design from designers, don’t leave it to the designers only
: As businessman the emphasis is on ‘Better” in the BBD – conscious choice.
Stefan: envisioning the end shows you the beginning.
Myth that it is easy – it takes time.
Jeremy – believes the business model for NZ is to have bases in markets. Icebreaker has 8 bases around the world (Portland, Switzerland, France etc.). Our challenge is to collaborate and create new networks by reaching out.
Adam (who has been here before): why can’t NZ be as unique and weird and different. Seems like it is ingrained, but it is not true.
How do CEOs survive in a VUCA world? Get good information, measure the right thing.

What would you do differently after today?

Jeremy: Spend more CEO time on fostering a great culture – it’s his number 1 priority. (great stuff)

Stefan: Default is that we glorify for individual achievement, but we shoul move to glorifying those that create the structure for achievement of groups. Need to surround ourselves with people that are both right and left brain thinkers. Create spaces where people can collaborate together.

Adam: Sharing – go back and exposed.wealth of examples that people can contemplate. He takes photos and shares when he returns.

Jeremy: agrees on space working harder. Feels that he has to radically redesign aspects of his life every 2-3 years. Go from doing it all yourself to building a hundred year company. His role is to help his direct reports embrace design thinking, decentralizing leadership across the entire organization.

And that’s it. Jeremy Moon has kept the pace right on time, and ends a great day. Now we need to sample the Villa Maria wines, a BBD client company and a fantastic company at that.

About Lance Wiggs

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