Posts Tagged ‘#whatworks’

3 Lessons in Leading Innovation From DARPA’s Regina Dugan February 22 2012 no responses

Last week, I had the opportunity to hear the director of DARPA, Regina Dugan, speak at a panel on leading innovation during a conference called American Competitiveness: What Works organized by General Electric and co-sponsored by Washington Post Live.  In case you’re not familiar with DARPA, it’s the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.  They’re the people who brought you things like the Internet and GPS technology.  These days they’re working on an unmanned glider that flies at Mach 20.   That’s New York to LA in 11 minutes.  (They’re at 3 minutes of controlled flight so far.)

I’ve written about DARPA before, but listening to Dugan participate in a panel on innovation was a little bit like having Picasso on a panel about abstract impressionism. Some of the things she said went over my head, but her perspective on leading a culture of innovation really stuck with me.  Here are three lessons about fostering a culture of innovation:

What a Top Chef Knows About Organizational Development – Lessons from Jose Andres February 16 2012 3 responses

Foodies in Washington, D.C., know all about Jose Andres, the award-winning chef who popularized Spanish style tapas dining in America.  Andres arrived in the United States from Spain in 1993 and opened his first restaurant, Jaleo, that year.  Today, he is the CEO of Think Food Group and the mastermind behind eight restaurant concepts with locations in D.C., Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Earlier this week, I was in the audience for a lunch-time conversation with Andres at a conference called American Competitiveness: What Works organized by General Electric and co-sponsored by Washington Post Live.  I probably learned as much about leadership in an hour of listening to Jose as I have in the past year.  It turns out there’s a lot you can learn about leadership and organizational development from a chef who has gone from running a small business to a culinary empire in less than 20 years.

I’ll likely write a few more Jose Andres posts over the next several weeks, but, for now, here are three of his leadership lessons about building a successful organization along with some thought starter questions for you and your organization.

  • Share Your Passionate Purpose.  It takes less than a minute with Andres to see how passionate he is about his work and the calling he feels around it.  When a fellow panelist asked him what his advice was for anyone starting out in business, the first thing he said was that the business of feeding people is the best business in the world.  “Food, he said, is the energy that moves everyone of us in this room.” That sort of purposeful passion about the bigger picture is what has inspired people to help Andres grow his organization. How do you share your passionate purpose about your business?