1. Fast Company: The world’s 50 most innovative companies of 2015

With relief, we see Apple doesn’t not occupy the top spot, though it does make number two – and with good reason. Start up and tech friendly services Slack and WeWork both make the top 15. More interestingly, a click through on to any of the listed companies reveals genuinely helpful stories about their road to success plus visuals, videos and positioning statements. From cool facts about Tesla to Virgin America’s flight safety video that went viral on YouTube, this is great source of treasure for leaders seeking external inspiration.

2. EY Voice: The power of purpose-led transformation

Businesses have been transforming themselves for generations. When is this positive – rather than a negative cost-cutting exercise? And is ‘why’ the word that makes all the difference?

Valerie Keller, Executive Director, Strategy, and Global Leader of the EY Beacon Institute looks at the history of business transformation and argues that purpose-led transformation is unique and therefore more effective than the pursuit of profit, given that it establishes a clear reason for firms to exist.Profit-centric business models are primarily concerned with what companies do and how they do it. Contrast this with purpose-centric business models which start by defining why the company exists. They address the ‘why’ first – and the ‘what’ and ‘how’ afterwards.Unilever is a great example of a large corporate that has maintained its focus on purpose-led growth over the past 125 years. Today it has literally millions of people keen to join the organisation. These people want to improve others’ lives as opposed to simply adding to Unilever’s bottom line.


3. Transform Magazine: The journey to build corporate purpose

The employer/employee contract has changed. It’s on an equal footing. Employees are looking for far more than the ‘hard’ benefits of reward, recognition and career development. They want to work for a company which stands for something that matters to them – and where that is manifested across the entire customer and employee experience. Time for big companies to get serious about purpose. “The process is not hard, but it is deep and requires commitment. The journey is not arduous, but it is continuous.”


4. Harvard Business Review: From purpose to impact 

Purpose is increasingly being touted as the key to navigating the complex, volatile, ambiguous world we face today, where strategy is ever changing and few decisions are obviously right or wrong.

While leaders may be able to clearly articulate their organisation’s mission, fewer than 20% of them have a strong sense of their own individual purpose. Even fewer can distill their purpose into a concrete statement.  Yet at the same time leaders say that understanding their purpose is the key to accelerating their growth and deepening their impact, in both their professional and personal lives.

The process of articulating your purpose and finding the courage to live it—what the authors call purpose to impact—is the single most important developmental task a leader can undertake and they share their  step-by-step framework to help executives find and define their leadership purpose and put it to use.


5. Nielsen: Breakthrough Innovation Report June 2015

This extensive Report sets out to explain what makes for truly successful innovation both through an examination of the theory and analysis of seven winning innovations of the year. In doing so the Repot seeks to address two key questions: how do I launch the next breakthrough success in my organization? And how can I improve our overall innovation performance from slow, expensive, and inconsistent to fast, resource-efficient, and consistently successful?

At 53 pages it’s quite a read but well worth dipping into for some challenging and interesting perspectives on how we can all transform the speed and success of innovation.

At the heart of Nielsen’s view of what makes for successful innovation is the Jobs Theory which essentially holds that what causes a person to consume a particular product in a given situation is not the intrinsic qualities of the product but rather the progress the person is trying to make in that particular circumstance.

People don’t so much buy products, as hire them to perform jobs in their lives. Consumers pull brands into their lives to address circumstances in which they need some help to resolve a struggle or fulfill an aspiration—to make progress.

Consequently, successful innovation should focus not on the consumer nor on the product, but rather on the circumstance. Successful innovations perform jobs that formerly had only inadequate or nonexistent solutions. Innovations that resolve well-defined yet poorly performed jobs succeed.

The report contends that most managers look at the world and see consumption, but innovators look out and see non-consumption and compromises. It challenges us to ask where we can find non-consumption and compensating behaviours in our own customers’ lives.