Starting his career in the music industry, which set him on a long journey of bringing creative forces into the world of leadership development, Tim Frost joins xynteo to help leaders reimagine their roles as catalysts for positive change in the world.
With over half a decade at innovation agency ?WhatIf!, he has helped businesses develop clarity around their innovation ambitions and bring their goals to reality. Over the last few years, Tim has worked with diverse businesses across industries, including McLaren, Arsenal FC, Coca-Cola, IKEA, Hiscox, UCL and Google.
By facilitating braver conversations, Tim has helped businesses step outside the box, untap their creativity and build cultures that foster innovation.
“I fundamentally believe everyone has the capacity for true greatness”, says Tim. “There has never been more of a need to rethink how we do business, so I am really excited to join Xynteo and work with such a talented and diverse group of people, passionate about making a positive dent in the universe.”
As Tim joined the Xynteo family in London, virtually, we’ve found out what has shaped him, why innovation culture is so important and what reinventing growth means to him:
Could you tell us something about your background and how it has helped shape your personality, beliefs and interests?
I've had a pretty global education, living in Japan, Germany and the UK growing up. This gave me a great appreciation of different cultures and the rich diversity that comes from fusing them together. I've always been fascinated by the power of creativity, concepts and ideas, particularly in how they can create huge energy and change in others. I discovered this first through writing and then music, two passions I studied at University. I started my career in the music industry, where I discovered a love and knack of helping unlock belief and creativity. Following that, I spent half a decade at innovation agency ?WhatIf!, equipping and enabling businesses to be bold about their innovation ambitions.
Why is innovation culture important right now?
I have never worked with a business that has lacked ideas or talent. Their challenge has always been how to find, and harness, that innate creativity, optimism and pragmatism, in order to create new and better things. It really is the innovator’s dilemma: the structures that innovative businesses put in place to grow and scale efficiently, inevitably begin to kill experimentation, bold ideas, and bravery of decision-making. We stick to what we can see and measure, rather than look further ahead into the unknown. We become more short-sighted, playing it safe for ourselves and our shareholders.
Now, more than ever before, we need to build and unlock cultures of innovation and experimentation in order to generate the type of bold, long-term, breakthrough thinking. Businesses have the raw materials to do this – but they need to invest in creating the incentives, permissions and structures for employees to unleash their ideas.
Xynteo focuses on “Reinventing Growth”. What does this mean to you?
Put simply, what has got us here will not get us where we need to get to. It feels like we're at crossroads for humanity. We have built an economy and society which takes too much from the planet and fuels inequality of wealth and resources. Business can and does play a fundamental role in shifting the way society works, so we need to help businesses rethink and reinvent how they grow to make sure it benefits the planet, the people and of course the profits. This requires a systemic longer-term mindset from businesses, shareholders and governments.
My passion and purpose is helping leaders and organisations rethink and reimagine their roles as catalysts for this sort of positive change in the world. In my career so far, I’ve mainly achieved this by working as a consultant, facilitator and coach helping individuals and teams have braver conversations, think more creatively, and build innovation cultures.
What change do you think will have the biggest impact in business and society?
We need a new paradigm of leadership. We need greater diversity, greater vulnerability, greater collaboration, more authenticity and more truth. We don't have all the answers to these great challenges, and we need leaders who are willing to embrace ambiguity, reaching across political and social divides to build solutions that work for all, not just the few. If we move towards a world with diverse leadership, we’ll have a chance to reinvent the way we grow.
What else do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I live in Bath with my wife and two young children, so non-work time is usually outdoors based. We have beautiful rivers, canals, forests and hills to get lost in. I'm an avid reader and take an active interest in politics, philosophy and psychology – so there’s no shortage of stimulus on that front at the moment. I'll also get into the pool for a swim at any chance!
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