homepage_name! > Editions > Number 114 > Business Thought - Max

Dr. Max McKeown Visionary, business-guru, and influential presenter.

Change is inevitable, but progress is not

Dr. Max McKeown is a visionary business guru and influential presenter that reveals insider knowledge gleaned from twenty five years of experience consulting for amongst many other major global brands; Pfizer, Topshop, and Sony, as well as launching the Xbox in the UK. He has been at the helm of shaping these companies and the experience of their customers. Max’s hands-on experience has made him one of the most unique creative minds of a generation.

With his fast-paced, down-to-earth, and fearless exploration of how you can create a better future through innovation, Max reveals his insights with an unusual presentation method. He stands in front of an enormous and imposing white board where he illustrates ideas and creative thoughts, deduced from insider knowledge of the world’s biggest brands and from the audience’s interpretations of his revealing presentation. His ‘ideas board’ allows everyone to think, create, and learn together. He often draws interactively with the audience to gain maximum engagement, high energy, and effective learning.

A multi-award winning speaker and consultant, international best-selling author, and expert on strategy, leadership, and culture, Max’s lauded publication The Strategy Book was Winner of the Commuter Read at the Chartered Management Institute Book of the Year 2013 and was rated Amazon’s Best Business Book of 2012.

A guest speaker on national TV and radio, and an impressive and popular corporate speaker, Max is unique as a leading business figure whose work with Fortune 100 companies allows him to reveal the truth about business, using his gift for creating an indelible imprint on the memory of delegates at an event.

Max allows audiences a deep vision into the challenges, pitfalls, and secrets of transforming into a high adaptability culture with an idea hungry climate in which creativity is loved and nourished. How can you change focus from inside-out to outside-in? How can you become a powerful strategic thinker and doer? How can you develop high trust leadership that enables you to move faster, delivering the future your customers need? How can you bring to life innovation that matters? What are the powerful rules of adaptability?

His ideas on shaping the future have been used by companies across the world and have proved that people and businesses get stronger and smarter when faced with adversity and they use imagination to create brilliant strategies that provide clever paths to better places.

Max brings the truth about high adaptability and high innovation to life with examples, humor, and emotion so that audiences gain memorable, personal, and practical insights to help them in the real world.

McKeown is an advocate of innovation culture. He argues that failure can be positive for progress if it is viewed as part of learning. He makes a distinction between change and progress, stating "change is inevitable but progress is not". His work describes how “creativity doesn't come from hiring the right people, but from creating the right conditions”. He also argues that "reacting matters as much as planning" and that strategy is effective only when it shapes events in the real world.

In Adaptability, a contribution to innovation literature, he sets out four levels of adaptation that social groups can achieve. Collapsing is the end of the social group. Coping is survival 'without prosperity, pride or joy'. Thriving provides benefits that are worthwhile and desirable. Transcending overcomes the limits of the old system, allowing more for everyone. The three step model of Adaptability (RUN) involves recognition of required adaptation (R), understanding of the adaptation required (U), and necessary adaptation (N). He describes High Adaptability (Killer) Cultures, or HACKs, as supportive of self-renewal that nurture and develop the talent of what he refers to as High Adaptability, High Achievement individuals, or HAHAs, who learn to become stronger when faced with adversity as compared to Low Adaptability, Low Achievement individuals, or LALAs, who become increasingly inflexible when put under pressure.

Social groups and individuals attempt adaptation in the following three steps: First, recognition of the need to adapt. Second, they attempt to understand the necessary adaptation. Finally third, they adapt as necessary. In most societies there is a mix of different systems at different levels of adaptation fit. Many efforts to reach higher levels of adaptation fail because one or more of the steps is not completed successfully. People may fail to understand change is necessary, or not understand what kind of change is necessary, or simply avoid making those changes.

In The Strategy Book, a winner at the Chartered Institute of Management's Book of the Year Awards 2013 (Atherton, 2013), McKeown argues that "strategy is about shaping the future" and approaches strategy as something that people do, both as a style of thinking and the combination of actions taken along with their consequences. He describes how individuals, and groups, can increase their ability to think and act strategically by finding the best route to desirable ends with available means. He wrote the book to help real people use strategy partly in response to a call to action from Richard Whittington writing about schools of strategic management research known as Strategy-In-Practice.

The Innovation Book is your roadmap to creating powerful innovations that deliver success in a competitive world. It has been written to make deep smarts about innovation accessible without dumbing down. It answers the following questions: How do you become a more innovative thinker? How do you lead and manage creative people? How can you use innovation tools to get the best results? How can you engage people with innovation? How do you avoid pitfalls, problems and screw-ups?

Renowned strategist Dr. Max McKeown is pioneering the concept of being Nowist. You can make decisions that help now and in the future. You can move effortlessly from decision to action. You can keep moving, not slowed down by fear of failure, expectations, what-ifs, or wasteful irritation at yet another interruption. Fascinating research shows that it’s efficient and not lazy to skip unnecessary effort and that we can all be more effective and happier when thinking on our feet. The book #NOW explains how to live better in the now. We can all be a little more Nowist. You can enjoy the flexibility of everyday life and enjoy moving forward instead of becoming overwhelmed. The Nowist approach allows us to proactively leap into better, faster decisions, giving us more time to enjoy living. #NOW teaches us how spontaneity can be a better influence on work and happiness than endless worrying about past and future.

“If strategy isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong…”

“New ideas can be like children. Beautiful to their parents who created them. Ugly to those who didn’t. And absolutely, absolutely, not finished yet!”