We’ve previously shared articles from Bruce Nussbaum, former assistant managing editor for Business Week and current professor of innovation and design at Parsons School of Design. In a recent blog post, Nussbaum draws an interesting comparison between military and business spheres, and explains how in his view President Obama may have single-handedly quashed innovation with the firing of his man in Afghanistan known for defying conventional wisdom — General McChrystal. Is it a case of military justice, or innovation-busting? You be the judge.
President Obama may well have made a major management mistake in dismissing General Stanley McChrystal, the senior commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Counterinsurgency is a creative act and McChrystal is the Frank Gehry of modern warfare. In removing him, Obama is undermining both the strategy and execution of his own policy for defeating the Taliban and building a stable, democratic Afghanistan.
McChrystal's defiance of authority, exemplified by his intemperate remarks about White House policy-makers in Rolling Stone and willingness to buck the collective behavior of his own peers, highlighted by his vote for Obama over military hero Senator McCain, reflect the values of an innovative personality and style of leadership that is exactly what is needed in unconventional warfare.
McChrystal spent his entire career in the most creative sphere of the military, its Special Operations. First as a Ranger, then as head of the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq, McChrystal moved in the edges of military circles where an approach and package of methods and tools was developed that corporations and consultants recognize as Design Thinking.
[Image via Google Images.]