Thursday Nov 16
10:50 –
B 05 - B 06

What’s the Worst that can Happen? - How Authentic Connection Enables Change & Innovation


Trust is the metric that best reflects the quality of our relationships and of our social connections. "The more interconnected a system is, the more robust and resilient it will be", finds philosopher, Alicia Juarrero. Trust is a metric for social resilience.

Political Scientist, Francis Fukuyama, finds trust to be the pivotal attribute of a successful culture. Trust culture enables societies to leap forward, while distrust results in decline.

We reliably find the absence of trust is the cause for teams failing to adopt agile or lean practices successfully. How can trust be developed to support successful adoption?

We're physically dependant on connection. Rejection hurts. We get meaning and validation where connection allows us to be authentic and vulnerable. Yet we exist in environments that routinely inform us, that what we do and who we are, is not "Good Enough". We are shamed into conformity (often masqueraded as improvement) and blamed for failures.

"The secret killer of innovation is shame. You can’t measure it, but it is there. Every time someone holds back on a new idea, fails to give their manager much needed feedback, and is afraid to speak up in front of a client, you can be sure shame played a part. ... () Shame becomes fear. Fear leads to risk aversion. Risk aversion kills innovation" explains Peter Shearan, from his experience working with companies like Apple and IBM, enabling large-scale behavioural change.

Vulnerability is considered a weakness, instead of a required condition for innovation. Being risk-averse means we construct change so it is failsafe, looking for a safe path that invariably leads us to imitation and consequent failure.

"Management, in most of its incarnations, is an institutionalized form of distrust" say Robert Solomon and Fernando Flores.

This talk presents some answers I have found: about how we can remain authentic in a blame culture; how we can build authentic trust and enable safe-to-fail environments by strengthening our connections, as well as my own experience applying these practices.