Riding the waves


It’s been a while…apologies. But today I wanted to share a very interesting and relevant article I read in the NYT Sunday Business Section—specifically “Corner Office,” which interviews business leaders (some names you may recognize, others not) and asks them about their earliest influences, early leadership lessons, what they’re looking for when they hire and what they tell recent college grads. They are all uniformly enlightening.

Today’s piece profiled Dion Weisler, the Chief Executive, HP, Inc. And he mentioned a management technique that he finds especially useful: the three waves of innovation. It’s based on surfing (Weisler grew up in Australia). The first wave is the one you’re currently on, say, your core business. The second is the waves that are coming—which do you choose. That usually has to do with growth. And the third is “what all great surfers do…go home and pull the weather reports and figure out when the next big one is coming.” In other words, predicting trends that you can get a jump on. Or as he calls it “pure invention and category creation.”

In a sense, all creatives are surfers. The first wave is our every day work and that can be challenging enough. The waves that are coming are your dreams and goals. Which offers the greatest personal, professional, psychic growth? And then, the third wave…reinvention. We’re all on the look out for the next “big one,” the big idea that can change our world.

After all, what is creativity but another word for innovative thinking?

I am forever indebted to Dion Weisler for this powerful metaphor. I hope you are too.

photo credit: John Florence

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