Businesses should look to break the ‘golden rules’ if they want to innovate and grow according to a leading humorist, business leader and journalist.
Browning is the founder and creative director of Smokehouse, an innovation consultancy that helps organisations to brainstorm new products and services, discover new ways of working and create new ideas for communication.
He has combined this with a career as a writer and has published several serious business publications, as well as humorous books and columns. He writes regularly for the Guardian and is also a regular on Radio 4.
Speaking at the Business Exchange, he looked at what was preventing organisations from changing the way they did things and how they could be more innovative.
When tackling a problem, organisations should first of all ‘question the question’ to ask themselves whether the problem was the real issue at stake or symptomatic of deeper, underlying issues, he said.
He also questioned the myth of whether a team should be ‘balanced’ with different types of people in them.
He said: “In creative teams it is good to get people who are the same – it energises them. Well-balanced teams give consensus and that’s not how you innovate.”
Listening was also one of the most creative tools a business leader can have at his or her disposal, he said. Equally business leaders should not be afraid to think differently.
“The people who have the big breaks in business are very often those who break the so-called ‘golden rules’,” he said.
“You don’t have to be innovative to come up with good ideas, you just have to be open-minded.”
The event was the last in a series of monthly meetings at Darlington Campus which have heard talks from high-profile national or regional business figures.