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Sustained Innovation: How to Keep Those Ideas Coming with Martin Reeves, Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG

By Jeremy Weisz posted 11-03-2021 05:00 AM


How does an enterprise turn innovation from a one-time thing into a sustained part of its business model and culture? Most businesses begin with a creative spark; a few manage to be innovative over years or decades. But only a handful have managed to keep sparking for decades. One of those is the Boston Consulting Group. Long admired as the most innovative of the great strategy consultants, BCG has kept new ideas coming for more than half a century.

How? To find out, Tom Stewart sat down with Martin Reeves, a senior partner of BCG who runs the firm’s Henderson Institute, the internal think tank named for founder Bruce Henderson. A leading strategist and thinker about strategy — Reeves’s books include The Imagination Machine and Your Strategy Needs a Strategy — Reeves talks about how probing anomalies and analogies can uncover new ideas, the importance of cognitive and intellectual diversity, and how a company can truly encourage the kind of maverick thinking that is necessary for a sustained culture of new ideas.

Reeves also identifies five innovation killers, guaranteed to smother creativity in its crib, and offers his list of five companies that have developed what he calls “complexity pruning mechanisms” — organizational policies that help cut back the vines that can choke innovation as companies get big. Along the way, Reeves takes us on a virtual tour of BCG’s “Napkin Gallery,” an online collection of the actual first visualizations of great business ideas — some of them, yes, actually drawn on napkins. Martin Reeves talks about this and more as he joins Thomas A. Stewart on The Leading Edge — a place where new ideas emerge and are sharpened, and where leaders look to find the edge that brings success for themselves, their teams, and their enterprises.

In this episode of The Leading Edge, Thomas A. Stewart sits down with the Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG, Martin Reeves, to talk about nurturing innovation and creativity in business. Together, they discuss the importance of cognitive and intellectual diversity in the workplace, how to develop new and valuable business ideas, and the BCG approach to problem-solving. Stay tuned.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you will learn:

  • Martin Reeves talks about his investigative research into new ideas and anomalies in business
  • Why building a culture of insight, impact, and trust is the key to BCG’s longevity
  • The importance of intellectual and cognitive diversity in the workplace
  • Five innovation killers and how to keep them at bay
  • Reeves’ insights about corporate innovation and creativity for emerging companies
  • An in-depth look at how to navigate strategic complexity within a business
  • The value of framing when solving a problem and developing an idea
  • Reeves shares his recommendations for optimizing your “think time” — and explains the evolution of his learning system

About Our Guest:

Martin ReevesMartin Reeves is the Managing Director and Senior Partner at Boston Consulting Group’s San Francisco office. With over 30 years of experience in consulting, Reeves specializes in business strategy management and idea origination and development. He is also the Chairman of the BCG Henderson Institute, BCG’s think tank and laboratory.

Reeves is the co-author of multiple books, including Your Strategy Needs a Strategy and his most recent release, The Imagination Machine. He has a triple first-class MA in natural sciences from Cambridge University and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode:

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