Audio production by James Ede, Be Heard

It’s not easy to innovate. Whether you are in a small startup or an established business, turning an idea into a solution is a long process, often fraught with challenges most of us are not entirely aware of.

I’ve always been curious – how do we stand in our own way to becoming a more innovative team or organization? And can we overcome some of the common pitfalls of cultivating an innovative culture?

This is why I invited Tom Chi to the CultureLab podcast. Tom is one of the founding members of Google X. He’s the key person behind technologies like Google Glass and Google’s self-driving cars. Tom has also worked in a wide range of roles from astrophysical researcher to Fortune 500 consultant to corporate executive. And, finally, he’s also a lifelong inventor, with 75 patents to his name. For a large chunk of his life, Tom has pioneered and practiced a unique approach to rapid prototyping, visioning, and leadership that can jumpstart innovative new ideas as well as move large organizations at unprecedented speeds.

Episode Highlights

In this wide-ranging conversation we talk about:

  • What made Tom particularly perceptive and observant – and how can you and your team members develop the same ability.
  • The fundamental difference between being committed and being attached.
  • One small question that has changed the outcome of many innovative projects Tom has worked on.
  • The typical challenges leaders come against as they are growing their business.
  • The transformational power of focusing on who you need to become to bring your vision to life.
  • How using nouns can reduce our mental agility and our ability to be present in the moment.

At the end of the day, you don’t even need to know how your culture works, you just need to keep in being committed to trying different things until the observable behaviors are working for folks.

Listen to the interview in the player below or on iTunes. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, and it may be featured on a future episode.

Audio production by James Ede, Be Heard

More about Tom Chi

Tom Chi’s current focus is investing in disruptive deep tech to reinvent the industrial economy to help humanity become a net positive to nature.  This involves finding, funding, and mentoring social and environmental/climate entrepreneurs around the globe, and coaching/teaching a limited number of values-aligned organizations & leaders.

Books and resources mentioned in this episode

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Crazy Good – A Book of Choices by Steve Chandler

Additional resources

CultureBrained Community – a one-of-a-kind virtual community for Heads of Culture, founders, and leaders who want to up their culture game.

Scaleup’s Guide to Creating a Culture Playbook

Personal Core Values Discovery Guide

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