FROM ‘HERE TO THERE’ THROUGH INNOVATION
Memo: “Regarding the way we’ve always done things.
This will now be disregarded”
Pre-pandemic feels long ago; when life was more predictable and mostly secure with a certain order. Like a popular song, the majority all danced to the same rhythm. The innovators were always there; known as ‘them’, they were ‘over there’ while the rest of the world basked in the familiarity of the familiar.
And now ‘things’ are different. Very different. The patterns have changed, the rhythm is unusual; discordant and disruptive. We’re in chaos and we need to organise life differently.
“We’ve always done it like this”, while never being the best response to anything, has now become one of the most dangerous reasons for any organisation to do, well, anything.
If your organisation has a chance at survival and success in this new environment of ‘business as unusual’ then it needs to start, not with results, management plans, KPI’s or market forecasts, but with its greatest asset; its people.
“How?” you ask.
By starting with words.
Words Change Focus
Words frame our thoughts and our behaviours. Our stories do the same. They influence our perspective, our behaviours, decisions and our life outcomes.
The words need to change.
What do we change our words to?
Innovation is the buzzword, the way forward; the key to the future. If you want skin in the game then you are going to have to innovate. Start by infusing that word into your daily conversations.
Innovation is disruptive but disruption has jumped out of the closet in the form of the pandemic; side-swiping our ‘way’, creating chaos and requiring us to dig deep into our evolution and do exactly that; evolve. We need to get from ‘here’ to ‘there.’
So how do we innovate? By starting with the next important word, ‘ideas.’
Your people are your biggest resource. Ideas come from people and people have to feel safe and secure enough to willingly share theirs.
This is a fact about who we are and how we are.
Are you encouraging people to share their ideas? Do you have a system for doing this? Does it work?
All Ideas Are Important
It doesn’t matter if an idea does not work the first time. A scientist’s attempt to create a new adhesive was deemed a failure because it was not strong enough against a predetermined outcome but that same product, when looked at through a different lens turned out to be the perfect solution for the goal of a low-tack adhesive and voila! 3M Post-It’s™ were born!
Ideation: The formation of ideas and concepts
What processes do you have in your organisation for the promotion of Ideation?
Are these processes well known and functioning successfully?
Do you have a tangible method or way of measuring the success of ideation within your company?
Are the members of your organisation confident and excited about sharing their ideas?
Innovation has been active in some organisations for many years. ‘Research and Development’ existed in most organisations but it was in the form of a department, not a mindset.
True Innovation is not a set of tasks within the walls of one area of an organisation. Innovation is an orientation and should be visible and active at the coalface of every process, task, meeting, discussion and decision.
It needs to be a mindset.
We need a mindset reset.
Recognise Reaffirm Reorganise Reframe
Embed the above words into your vocabulary and make sure you use them regularly.
To be successful in today’s world, leaders must:
Recognise, reaffirm, reorganise and reframe their people-culture; relationships, and systems to support innovation.
This involves guidance, leading and fostering new ideas and new ways of thinking, being and operating.
An Innovative Culture
Look carefully into this word ‘culture’ and how it shows up within your organisation.
Culture, what culture?
If I walked into your business tomorrow, what would I experience?
Would your staff be able to clearly articulate the vision, values, mission statements so carefully crafted on your company documentation, stationery and logo?
Are these statements current and relevant? Do they support innovation?
How can you find out that you know for sure what your staff/employees/colleagues are experiencing?
What do you have in place for idea sharing, idea growing, ideas at all?
A Portal of Ideas
When you are open to trying things a different way it is highly likely that you are going to experience success.
However, this cannot be a hit and miss, spray and pray approach.
We all have the capability to be an instigator of innovation. But to get this off the ground; visible, accessible, a clear, workable portal is required.
Whatever you put in place, attach an attractive label such as what I like to call an ‘ideas highway’. Highways create movement, they are central and accessible. Make sure everyone has an onramp.
I have a lot more on this but this chapter is just a taster.
How can you create opportunities for your organisation participants to be actively involved in innovation?
Cross-Pollination in Company Culture
This bunch of words strung together has a significant impact on innovative thinking and ‘being’.
A self employed business person has to be ‘everything’ starting out. During this period they ARE the sales dept, the product development dept and every other component apart from what they can afford to outsource.
Organisations have specific people in specific departments focussing on specific things. This is a good thing BUT just how much potential is being strangled when there is no opportunity for those people to share ideas around how the organisation could improve as a whole?
‘Phil from Sales’ or ‘Jenny from Marketing’ need their titles reworded as Phil and Jenny; emphasising that they are valued employees rather than minimising their value to one area of the company. Phil or Jenny may well have an excellent lens on some of the gaps in the big picture of the company or a fantastic idea for how to maximise efficiency.
This change in titles is small but big. Our language reflects company culture and either supports innovation or not.
I’m a huge fan of 3M. They have successfully implemented pathways for employees to experience different aspects of their company, broadening their view and inspiring innovative thinking.
Are those ‘good ideas’ elusive or forthcoming?
Fully invest in your people power and ‘feed the need’ to have a voice through a robust ‘ideas highway’ and the innovation will grow.