It’s a numbers game

Hazel Turner, May 9 2014

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world

~ Anne Frank

In the world of numerology it turns out I’m a number 9, which means my ultimate goal is working towards a better world. Apparently it also means that my finances are a mess and I have a tendency to think I’m the leader, even when I’m not, but let’s not go into all that today…

I have no idea of the validity of adding together the numbers of my date of birth but there is no doubt in my mind that the number 9 is powerful.

On the 16th April, 9 innovative people, just like you, from across the organisation kick-started the Innovation Movement with a fun and inspiring Think Innovation event. Now, if you add together the numbers of the 16th April 2014, guess what you get…… yep, it’s a 9 (1+6+4+2+0+1+4=18, 1+8=9, in case I’ve lost you!) … Spooky stuff. And when we added everyone up, including our inspiring speakers it made 90… So, If 9 is powerful, just imagine what our innovation movement of 9 x 10 could do!

As an organisation we are divided into departments and teams. Psychology has shown us how easily being put into a group can create a ‘them’ and ‘us’ culture. Even a simple experiment, conducted by Henri Tajfel (the ‘father’ of Social Identity Theory), putting school boys into random groups, supposedly related to whether they prefer the artists Klee or Kandinsky, resulted in the boys showing a clear preference for others who apparently shared their preference. Knowing that our identity is linked to the groups we belong to is incredibly important in finding ways to move beyond our ‘silos’ and “that’s the ways things are done around here” mentality.

The Innovation Movement sees the coming together of a new group of people, not defined by grade or department, who have shared interests, values and enthusiasm for doing things differently. I recently read that groups have properties that transform the individual, while at the same time allowing individuals to engage in processes capable of transforming the world (1). So let’s be aware of the pitfalls of group identitybut also embrace the positive energy that being part of something can bring. The Think Innovation event was just the start, I hope to see many more of you joining us on Yammer, at future events and by informal conversation in coffee shops and at water coolers.

Right, I’d better get back to trying to make the world a better place. On second thoughts, I might just go and sort my finances out first…

Reflective Questions

  • Who around you inspires and energises you?
  • In what ways can you create opportunities to meet with like minded people?
  • What are you truly passionate about? Not just interested… really passionate about….
  • How might you grow that passion though developing positive connections with other?


(1) The New Psychology of Leadership – Identity, Influence and Power

The little book of innovation – developed by Monica Lay, Kaz Brackstone, Pauline Williams and

Hazel Turner, design by Nikki Johnson

Which innovator are you? – Thanks Mark Braggins

World Café book

Where good ideas come from

First follower: Leadership lessons from dancing guy

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