On 26 April, BOSS Leaders of the Future (LOTF) hosted its first in-person conference of 2023 at 3M in Bracknell. The inspirational and informative event on innovative leadership was well-attended by LOTF committee members.
The day kicked off with welcome notes from BOSS Federation CEO Amy Hutchinson, BOSS LOTF co-Chairs Rachael Lewis and Alex Stone, and a keynote from 3M Director North Europe Region Consumer Business Group Jo Partridge.
Attendees were then treated to a guided tour of 3M’s Innovation Centre, which escorted visitors through a journey of 3M’s business – well worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood. The main drawcard, presented by Dale Carnegie Director Graham Perkins, was a 2.5-hour Emotional Intelligence in Leadership masterclass. The enigmatic Perkins led delegates in a highly interactive workshop providing practical tools and valuable advice.
His session revolved around exploring emotional intelligence and its relationship with work culture, how to disagree with colleagues constructively, and how to conduct difficult conversations authentically and empathetically. He reminded LOTF members that everyone is responsible for workplace culture and “if you don’t listen, you’ll never understand”.
Other pertinent takeaways involving emotional intelligence when leading from the top included encouraging opinions, shifting the spotlight to less dominant colleagues and recognising and rewarding the right behaviour.
After lunch, BOSS Chairman and CEO of EO Group Simon Drakeford took to the stage for a keynote on evolution through innovation. Citing subject experts such as Joe Dwyer and Peter Drucker, Drakeford took the audience through a fascinating and in-depth look at what innovation really is and the steps required to attain success. He pointed out that you can “learn as much from mistakes as from anything else”.
The final session was an industry innovation panel hosted by LOTF Committee members Scott Castle and Amy Remmer. Panel guests were: Sarah Chapman (3M Technical Manager and North Europe STEM Champion), Marc Curtis (Lyreco Head of Innovation), Simon Weavers (The Cheeky Panda Sales Director) and Andrea Dale (ACCO Brands Senior Market & Category Development Manager EMEA).
A thorough and candid discussion, some of the key points from this sitting included:
- Innovation can’t be planned, but when it does happen, ask ‘why?’
- While artificial intelligence will aid innovation, ultimately, people are integral to the process. There needs to be diversity of thought: capturing different opinions, backgrounds, views and life experiences.
- There are superstars in every company – invest time in them.
- Ask customers if they have a problem that needs solving and get as much feedback as possible from every party involved. Believe in what you’re pitching.
- Most innovation comes from hard work.