Innovation - The Cultural Aspects
Creativity is often stifled in many companies - people just do not like change. If you are not willing to accept debate, dissension, or alternative ideas, your organization is probably not ready for change. Take care - your competitors are changing; if not the ones you know, then the ones you don’t.
If you have a lot of off-the-wall thoughts, you’re creative
If you use those thoughts to degrade or disrupt progress, you’re a troublemaker
If you can turn those thoughts into something of value, you’re innovative
Cultures that support the free flow of ideas, without “personalizing” the activity, excel at innovation.
“If Julie thinks Fred’s idea is all wet, don’t you think it would be refreshing for Julie to say ‘Fred, that idea is all wet. Here is why I think so, here’s what I think is better and why.’
If your team had that kind of conversation, and nobody takes offense, you have a healthy team. Otherwise, it’s time to figure out how to fix your team.”
From “IS Survival Guide” by Bob Lewis
You probably have someone in your organization that is outspoken - maybe even classified as a troublemaker. Embrace that person - they are one of your most valuable assets - someone that is willing to challenge the status quo. This person can be the catalyst of innovation in your organization - you just need to learn how to work with this creativity. Innovation seldom comes from doing things the same way you have always done them. These people are not evil - if they wanted to be subversive, they would take their dissent underground. By working out in the open, they are striving to bring the best out in everyone.
Our principal has been part of many significant innovations over the years. He was a member of the development team on the original IBM PC, co-founder of the first Mac users group, one of the early Novell CNEs, inventor of the first laser interferometer measuring device for disk drive accuracy, co-developer of the first portable spectroscopy device, the process modeling technique (swim lanes) that later became Rummler-Brache, and numerous other industry innovations.
If you want to harness the nascent innovation in your organization, contact us - we can help.