I am an anthropologist-turned-executive, who has spent my career as a perpetual outsider. I have helped growing businesses in companies like BP, HayGroup, Syngenta and Terramera using the incredible power of diverse perspectives. Both my academic training and decades in the corporate world taught me the same lesson time and time again: examining your world through the eyes of someone from a different background lets you discover new ways forward.
Several years ago I left the corporate world to live the second half of my life on my own terms. I had a strong desire to give something back. So with business partners I launched a podcast called the Innovation Ecosystem and over the next 3 years I was fortunate to interview almost 100 people, all leaders in their own fields, about innovation, leadership and change.
While these podcasts helped leaders see the world with fresh eyes, they were all still rooted in the language and perspective of business.
Feedback from listeners and business partners convinced me that this it was time to explore new areas, to go beyond the foothills and to venture into more challenging and exciting terrain.
As a result I recently created a new business called Outside Lens. The business will help you to escape from the hamster wheel of conference rooms, PowerPoint presentations, and airport lounges. That’s the “Outside” part of the name OutsideLens. And the “Lens”part? As I said, I am an anthropologist by training, and having achieved some moderate success by applying different lenses to business, I understand that fresh ways of looking leads to fresh solutions. Exploring issues through multiple lenses unlocks unimagined possibilities.
So I founded OutsideLens to leverage this insight, to help leaders navigate the choppy waters of today’s volatile business environment. From the podcasts and my work with organisations and individuals, our goal is always the same: to bring you fresh and diverse perspectives that help you navigate the world we live in.
- Marshall Goldsmith was right: “What got you here won’t get you there.” The past no longer equals the future.
- Bubbles and silos kill agility.
- We are all surrounded by useful wisdom hiding in plain sight.
- New ways of looking unlock new ways of doing.
- The best results come from pushing yourself hard, but safely.
With this in mind, what can you expect from me and this podcast going forward? Well I have a fascinating line up of guests. Given my background, as well as having leaders from the worlds of business, sports, the arts and academia, I am also bringing perspectives from the outside, from the worlds of exploration, photography, anthropology, ethnography. Some of the guests planned include, for example, the 40-something CEO of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, with a market cap of almost a quarter of a trillion dollars, a man who started out in public health. Or a leading photographer who learned his craft from none other than Ansell Adams, and who devotes his time to protecting cultural sanctuaries in places like Bhutan, Mongolia, Mexico and Peru. Another guest is the Nigerian co-author, along with Professor Clay Christensen, of one of the most eagerly awaited management books of the year, focusing on innovation in developing markets. I wish that book was around 5 years ago, I must say, as it offers a fresh and distinctive way of looking at how to grow businesses in the emerging markets. And last but certainly not least, one of the last explorers of the old school, a man I first met over thirty years ago whose stories of survival in challenging physical environments will be of real interest to those of you operating in challenging economic environments.
As you can probably tell, I am really excited about the new podcast show. If you would like to know about us, what else we are doing, or to subscribe to the podcast, jump over to www.outsidelens.com for more information. I hope you enjoy the upcoming season, and let me know what you think, either on linked in or email me via the website.