It’s co-hosted by Simon Ursell, managing director of London B Corp four-day week environmental consultancy Tyler Grange, and Rusty Earnshaw – performance coach and consultant to the likes of the English Football Association, Great Britain Hockey, British Triathlon, the Rugby Football League, British Swimming and Google.
Kirk has spent the last 11 years of his career at the global tech giant – one of the top four companies on the planet.
As well as developing innovation frameworks, he’s more importantly helped colleagues navigate the right behaviours, mindset and techniques to unlock creativity, fresh thinking and innovation. It’s an approach inherent to the firm’s culture and, as a result, its employees are happier and more motivated, loyal and productive – whilst is bottom line is boosted.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to learn from Kirk Vallis on this podcast.
How to become a creative leader
He’s a firm believer that it’s people who innovate and that technology is the tool that increases its pace and makes us braver and more disruptive. During his 50-minute episode, he shares how to become a creative leader whilst developing creative capability across all levels of an organisation.
He also discusses how to harness creativity for problem solving, and the steps all leaders should take to create the right mental, physical and psychological conditions for their employees to do their best thinking – whether that’s in a regular internal meeting, a brainstorming session or developing and delivering the most ‘audacious’ new business proposal.
Can AI surpass human capability?
During the podcast, Kirk also delves into the fascinating topics of the intersection of AI and creativity and questions whether it will surpass humans in its ability to be creative, as well as the power of experimentation as a catalyst for safer and more ambitious goals.
He also discusses the concept of 10x thinking – pushing the boundaries of what is currently possible and looking for solutions that are so transformative that they have the potential to fundamentally change the way we live and work – as well as the importance of reflection, signposting, and external perspectives and how to embrace failure to make us more resilient.
New ways of working
Kirk joined Google in 2012 and has since gone on to build the organisation’s Magic Academy – the revered programme to help make creativity as valued a part of Googlers’ toolkit as knowledge and technical based skills. He’s also worked with them to disrupt their thinking, to develop new ways of working and to train them on techniques that help them be even more creative on demand, when it’s needed most.
He also consults with adidas, the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, financial software company Intuit, best known for its QuickBooks software and global professional services network Ernst & Young.
He also leads creative problem-solving modules for both the English Football Association and the UEFA Pro Licence and Technical Directors course. Recently, he supported the England Senior Men’s rugby team in preparation for what was a successful Autumn Nations Series in 202 with its trio of wins.
Focus on innovation
Simon Urselll, co-host of The Bounce Backability Podcast, said: “A crucial aspect of Google’s culture is its focus on innovation and creativity. The company encourages employees to take risks and think outside the box, and it provides them with the resources and support they need to do so. Kirk has been a driving force behind this approach to doing business for over a decade and, in doing so, has helped shape a culture that is extremely vibrant and attractive to the most talented people from all over the world.
“We can obviously all learn a great deal from his approach to innovation and problem solving and, importantly, how we should all reframe failure as an opportunity for growth and learning. Kirk shares how, by embracing failure as a natural part of the journey to success, we can unlock our true potential and develop the resilience needed to overcome future obstacles.
“All employers and leaders stand to gain by promoting creativity at work. The most successful businesses are those that engender creative thinking and develop environments where everyone shares ideas, has a voice, asks questions and challenges the norm. Some ideas will stick, others won’t, but you’ll definitely learn a lot along the way.”