Learming Hub
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            [post_content] => Based on your current work – if you had only six words of advice to give a business, what would they be?

Creative Mind. Never Used. Too Bad.

 

What does this mean?

It’s a play on that devastating six-word short story commonly (though falsely) attributed to Hemingway. Equally devastating is that humanity possesses a huge potential for creativity – but for the vast majority of people, this potential will go unfulfilled. If everybody reached their full creative potential, the world would be a better and happier place, but most people aren’t even close to reaching half their potential for various reasons.

 

It might be their upbringing, if they weren’t raised to believe in themselves or to question or to dream, or they’re filled with doubt and lacking in confidence, or they simply lack the right tools and resources – there are endless reasons, many of which are culturally imposed. Take the dinner table: in this part of the world, we eat nearly all our meals with a knife and fork - no choice!. Here, creativity is being stifled because our possibilities for personal choice are limited due to cultural norms. But if you go to China as a Westerner, for example, it’s not unusual for a knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks, and various other culinary utensils to be placed in front of you because they don’t know what your preferences are. New possibilities for creativity open up, and you are liberated from the tyranny of the Western dinner table and free to eat your meal as you like, unencumbered by cultural practices and norms. This can be applied to the business world – what cultural practices are informing your business strategy and inhibiting your growth? What learnings can you take from other business cultures and apply to your own business strategy?

 

Curiosity is vital for both creativity and leadership. Leaders must be be curious, but it’s arguably more important that leaders encourage and foster that creativity in others. Leaders should ask questions to show teams they care, not just as employees but as induvial human beings. Not small talk, but real questions. Teams will feel when that curiosity - and care - is lacking. It’s vital that leaders spark not only their own creativity, but the creativity of others around them and disseminate that into the business. Exercises could be completing a one page document mapping out one’s own creative process, and then having the entire team do the same in order to maximise the team’s creative potential.

 

Because creativity is a process – one which should be interrogated and defined. There are many different stages in this process of taking an idea and making it happen: the original inspiration, the Eureka moment, the innovation phase, then testing and development – not counting the many stages of the process which don’t have a name…yet. Naming the different stages of the process helps make creativity less of a magical black box, as does studying the creative process of those around you and immersing yourself in a multitude of influences. Inspiration is breathing in (all those influences), but creativity is breathing out – and creating.

 

Leaders should strive to be explorers, not experts – because an expert knows everything, whereas an explorer is voyaging into the unknown, one who is constantly learning and curious to learn more. Another reason why creativity and curiosity are so vital for leadership – because leaders must be constantly learning and adapting to a fast-moving business landscape, where the pace of change brings forth never-before-seen challenges and disruptions that only the creative efforts of a team inspired by a creative leader can solve.

 

Where should we look for further information?

https://www.fredrikharen.com/
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Tony Moroney

Tony Moroney

6th Jan 2023

Webinar Insights

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Six Words of Wisdom with Fredrik Haren
Six Words of Wisdom with Cali Yost

Opportunity abounds within cyber security

The increased number of data breaches across the globe, the ability of malicious actors to operate from anywhere in the world, the linkages between cyberspace and physical systems, and the difficulty of reducing vulnerabilities and consequences in complex cyber networks.   

These are just some of the factors fuelling the growth of the cyber security market, which is expected to grow globally from an estimated value of $173.5 billion in 2022 to $266.2 billion by 2027 – at minimum. Some experts predict the global cyber security market will be worth as much as $403 billion by 2027. This is from an approximate global market size of $86.4 billion in 2017, which highlights to what extent cybercrime has grown over the last five years – and will continue to grow.   

However, such exponential growth brings the urgent need for more trained cyber security professionals, a challenge often overlooked by those outside the cyber security industry. It might be obvious that as organisations become increasingly digital, they leave themselves exposed to newer and more dangerous threats. But what about the people who deal with those threats and safeguard organisations? Skills and talent shortages, issues with employee retention, highly skilled technical workers being promoted to leadership roles without the requisite soft skillset or management training – these are just some of the challenges the cyber security industry faces as a result of the industry’s massive growth.  

Take Ireland as a case study. According to the most recent State of the Cyber Security Sector in Ireland report from Cyber Ireland, it is estimated that annual cyber security related revenue in Ireland reached approximately €2.1 billion for 2021, with 489 organisations employing 7,300 people and contributing €1.1bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) per annum. Yet 61% of organisations in Ireland have personnel-related issues (i.e. lack of candidates with the appropriate skill level, competition for staff, lack of non-technical skills, or unaffordable salaries) with a further 10,000 cyber security workers needed in Ireland to plug this critical skills gap. High-performing employees tend to move on after 2-3 years, while remote work throws up further challenges, with employees getting further away both from physical interaction and from connecting with their organisation’s purpose, mission and values.   

One organisation attempting to meet this challenge is Cyber Ireland, the national cyber security cluster organisation bringing industry and academia together. “We’ve set out a goal to develop a pipeline of homegrown cyber security talent in Ireland and have made significant progress over the last four years,” said Eoin Byrne, cluster manager in charge of education outreach for Cyber Ireland.  

“Through engaging with four Irish universities, MTU, Technological University Dublin, University College of Dublin and UL, the Cyber Skills project was created to address this specific industry skills shortages and awarded funding of €8.1m by the Higher Education Authority.”   

Byrne’s goal is to “put Ireland on the map” as a cybersecurity leader in Europe, via building the community, developing a cyber security talent pipeline, building an R&D ecosystem and supporting Irish companies to scale and export which includes much needed investment (although global investment in cybersecurity firms surpassed $20 billion, Byrne recently notes that many Irish companies faced issues around securing investment in Ireland).   

To achieve this mission requires leaders with a skill set that goes beyond technical proficiency –one based around an awareness of a leader’s own leadership style, an ability to become an effective communicator, growth in their emotional intelligence and the skill to cultivate engagement, wellbeing and a culture of psychological safety.   

These skills are sorely lacking in the Irish, European and global cyber security landscape. Due to talent and skills shortages resulting from the exponential growth of the industry, oftentimes highly skilled technical folk are put into management and leadership positions before they have developed the soft skills required for a management role. To help develop these skills in cyber security leaders and solve the “translation challenge,” Cyber Ireland has partnered with the Irish Management Institute.   

Quite often, technical people speak a language no one else within the organisation understands, but they also struggle to understand business language and how to frame and discuss technical issues within a wider business context.   

The big challenge is to marry and translate cyber and general business issues, so everyone is talking about the same things with a view to the same goal, which is making our organisations successful, competitive, relevant and safe. Because cyber security isn’t ‘just’ a technology issue – it’s a mindset around how we think about technology. It’s a people, board and leadership issue.

Ireland stands on precipice of becoming a world leader in cyber security. With the sector growing at a rate of over 10 per cent per annum, the Irish cyber security sector could employ over 17,000 people and create €2.5 billion of GVA by 2030 – if such growth continues. The aim of the project between the IMI and Cyber Ireland will be to develop leaders who can help the cyber security sector meet its growth targets by instilling a dynamic, agile and flexible mindset into teams while navigating a world that is hyper-connected, hyper-disrupted, and where today’s business models may not be relevant tomorrow.   

To find out more about the IMI Leading in Cyber Security programme, you can visit this link.