By Peter Froehlich
The title is a little pop-cultural reference, of course, to Clash of the Titans (the 1980s version) and I bet our speaker would enjoy it—though I am sure he’s heard it a thousand times before.
In addition to being the author of Chief Culture Officer, Grant McCracken is author of Transformations (IUP, 2008) and Flock and Flow (IUP, 2006), among other u press offerings, and was our plenary 1 speaker—he did not disappoint!
McCracken launched from the podium to launch the 2011 meeting. He jumped down from the dais to stalk up and down the length of the hall, tearing through enough material for two talks, diving into the heart of strategic innovation, reviewing business literature on the subject and new b-school approaches, and tipping at least one sacred cow.
I’m going to treat the two sub-talks separately, in part to capture the fallout from the second half in a lead lined box, but mostly to hold the first half on its own merits for a moment. Somewhere, I will mention that the sum total effect was brilliant; it improved the takeaways from the meeting for everyone in attendance, and therefore the selection of McCracken for the plenary 1 slot—for this particular conference—was inspired.
In the first half of his talk, McCracken noted that we are in an exceptionally tough spot (a theme that ran throughout the meeting), that recent business literature/management advice was of little to no help, and that we’d have to think for ourselves to get out of it (another theme that ran throughout). On the upside, according to McCracken, we are uniquely well suited to tackling this problem head on, given our backgrounds and collective skill sets, provided that we work together and listen to others.