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This article is based on a talk I gave at the Gartner IT Symposium in 2019.

Why does it seem that there is something different in the DNA of companies like Amazon, Netflix and Google that doesn’t exist at most other traditional enterprises?

What is it that sets these companies and others like them apart from the rest?

Most of my career has been spent working in and around startups & high growth tech companies, across areas such as health, energy, finance and retail. And I loved it. The hustle, the vibrancy, the uncertainty and the innovation.

But a few years ago I switched sides and began working with larger and more traditional organisations. Organisations that weren’t nimble and fast, but rather slow, hierarchical and looking for change. …


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It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

As I write this, life as I have known it for my entire existence has been upended and drastically altered. The Covid-19 pandemic has swept across the globe impacting billions of people, physically, mentally and financially. One of the most shocking characteristics was just how quickly this happened. …


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Recently I decided to join the CrossFit Cult, so named because of the cult-like devotion and loyalty CrossFitters develop for their sport and community. My decision to join my local CrossFit gym (aka the box) came on the back of several years of endurance running, and having just completed another marathon I was looking for a new challenge. Initially I was drawn to CrossFit for 2 simple reasons. Firstly, it looked really hard and something completely out of my comfort zone. And secondly, although I had a relatively strong aerobic ability I had completely ignored other aspects of my fitness such as strength, power, flexibility and mobility. Stepping in to the gym for the first time, I had clear goals I wanted to achieve and defined aspects of my health and fitness that I wanted to transform. …


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I’ll admit it, I’m a huge fan of talent shows and my favourite of the lot is The Voice. Another season has just begun in Australia and has brought with it a host of super talented singers from all different backgrounds and walks of life. The beginning of each season is always the most interesting as they host the blind auditions. During the blind auditions all the judges sit with their backs to the singer as he or she performs so that they have no knowledge of who the singer is or what their physical attributes are. They are constrained to only focusing on what they can hear and make their decision as to whether to turn their chair around based purely on the performer’s vocal ability. Cleverly what this does is removes bias from the judges choice, enabling them to make better decisions with the singers they are auditioning. Making better decisions is an important skill for most people, but none more so than for product managers. In fact, good product management at its core is really about making sure you get the right decision right most of the time. …


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The Original MVP

The first time I heard the term MVP was as a teenager in the Mid 90’s. Baggy jeans had become a fashion staple, Tupac was playing on our Discman, and Nokia had us addicted to a little game where we tried to stop a snake from eating it’s tail. It was also the decade that belonged to the Chicago Bulls, winning 6 NBA Championships led by their undisputed MVP Michael Jordan.


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Photo Credit: Joseph Rosales

As a dad with two young daughters I am continually in awe whenever I watch them at play. The creativity and imagination that they so easily slip into is something completely unique to kids, and something that becomes increasingly more alien to us as we step into adulthood. Even more amazing is their willingness to invite others in to their world, confident that the invited will not only lean in to this creative play but build on what has already been imagined.

Forgetting How to Play

This view of creative play couldn’t be more different when I work with clients. There is often a very real level of discomfort many adults experience when they are asked to generate and express themselves creatively. Research shows that when you ask a room full of adults if they consider themselves to be creative, on average only half the room will raise their hand. Yet if you were to ask the same group of adults if they consider themselves to be analytical, an overwhelming 80–90% raise their hand. …


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Why disruption can happen to you and what you can do about it.

Soup In a Can

About

Josh Wermut

A product and innovation guy helping companies follow an experiment driven approach to solving customer problems and discovering opportunities for disruption.

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