Q: Innovation and collaboration are cited as two of the key features of the post-recession economy. How do you encourage innovation in your business? Do you have a director of innovation?
A: New ideas are vital, but chief executives should resist the temptation to appoint a new director to do part of their job.
I don't have a department for innovation, strategic planning, public relations, or even marketing. I give colleagues total freedom to run the day-to-day business, but I decide the bits that affect our future strategy.
Suggestion schemes designed to spot good ideas seldom work. A small number of colleagues bombard you with intended, but petty ideas while the people with the big ideas often keep them to themselves.
Good plans usually pop up in the most unexpected places. I discover our best ideas while visiting shops, talking to colleagues and getting to know the gossip.
Read John Timpson's agony uncle columns on the Telegraph website.