31 October 2022

Season 3, Episode 22. The Golden Rule of Collaboration with Helene Cahen

Welcome to Innovation Meets Leadership! I’m your host, Natalie Born. In this episode, Helene Cahen talks about innovation and collaboration in organizations. She explains how fear of failure can prevent us from innovating and why it’s important to create a culture that allows for risk-taking and creativity. She also shares insights on design thinking principles and ideation, and how teams can collaborate more effectively by putting clear processes in place and being open to each other’s opinions and preferences.


Born and raised in Paris, France, Helene graduated with a business degree from the elite Sciences-Po Paris and earned a Master of Sciences degree in Creativity and Change Leadership from the State University of New York. She is an Innovation Consultant, Trainer, Facilitator, Coach, and Speaker with over 20 years of experience helping companies navigate innovation challenges. Most recently, she was a TedX Talk speaker at TedX Seattle and has been a speaker on Design Thinking and Creativity at various conferences including the American Creativity Association, Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), Creativity Expert Exchange (CEE), and the Design Thinking Unconference.


[00:19] Cultivating A Culture of Innovation

  • Organizations want to be innovative, but it's possible that they don't know how

  • Without the right culture, people, and processes, innovation will not emerge

  • If we’re going to innovate, we’re going to fail

    • Organizations need to take risks and be open to failure

  • When a culture has an environment of no, people will not thrive and they will leave

[06:33] Design Thinking and Creative Problem Solving

  • It’s essential that we give people the space to think creatively but, of course, within constraints

  • The principle of dynamic balance

    • Diverge and look for options

    • Converge and select

  • Three concepts of design thinking

    • User-centered - understanding the people who will be impacted by innovation

    • Prototyping - creating a prototype to get feedback

    • Iteration - accepting change and adapting to it

  • Helene reflects on how she applies the three concepts to her work as a consultant

[14:20] Team Improv and Co-Creation

  • When we’re constantly shutting down ideas from the team, we are stunting innovation

  • Being open to co-creation and valuing other people’s way of thinking leads to better team dynamics

  • There should be facilitation and a clear process and language in ideation in order to bring the best outcome

[23:01]  Closing Segment

  • Connect with Helene!


Key Quotes:

“Organizations are looking at the risk of innovating but often don't look at the other part of it, which is the risk of not innovating.” - Helene Cahen


“Innovation is really your journey, and we are going to learn along the way. Part of it is failure. Embrace early failure because early failure is not really failure. It's about learning.” - Helene Cahen


“We often spend a lot of time talking about concepts on a piece of paper. But change is not about the concept. It's about reality and how it works in our life.” - Helene Cahen


“What I'm encouraging is actually to see the value in people thinking differently and appreciating that. See others for who they are and embrace the differences in thinking.”  - Helene Cahen


Connect with Helene 

Website: https://www.strategicinsights.biz/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/strategicinsights 


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