As Bruegel’s painting suggests, in the 16th century, and well beyond, the top-down communicators were kings and emperors, mandating innovative ideas to their subjects. Their authority bound widely disparate territories and peoples. Such regimes lasted until at least a century ago. Unfortunately, imperial leadership endured in companies. But as their hierarchical structure is dismantled in favour of looser, more networked, more collaborative organisations, bosses will find it ever harder to command innovations into existence. They will need to listen more carefully and encourage staff to find a common language, or risk the whole enterprise collapsing into incomprehensible babble. content/6640fe1e-f480-11e8-ae55- df4bf40f9d0d