Tried anything recently that didn't quite work out? Congratulations!
Bottom line, there is no innovation without "failure." If your perception of failure is something to avoid, you can kiss your efforts to create something wonderful goodbye. Failure comes with the territory.
If the word puts you in a foul mood, try another one -- like "experiment," for example.
The truth is that by expanding possibilities and automating part of the creative process, we can all be more creative and productive. In a virtual world of infinite abundance, only creativity could ever be in short supply.
It’s a common question thrown at me by entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, or the more cynically minded corporate leaders.
That is, why bother trying to innovate if no matter what they do, large companies can no longer maintain a sustainable advantage and their life spans are just getting shorter and shorter? Isn’t it better to hasten Joseph Schumpeter’s process of creative destruction and move capital and employment from inefficient dinosaurs to more vibrant and agile upstarts?
I give them three reasons.
First, timing matters. There’s a difference between recognizing and preparing intelligently for an inevitable transition (or even an inevitable demise) and throwing a still-thriving business away prematurely. Creative destruction carries transaction costs. People lose their jobs. Cities dependent on a large employer suffer. Know-how and other assets carefully built over years or decades are destroyed. Certainly, those transaction costs have to be balanced against the drag created by bloated bureaucracy, and the soul-crushing work that characterizes too many companies. But it is a cost nonetheless. Schumpeter himself posited that creative destruction, which he called “the essential fact about capitalism,” would lead to capitalism’s demise because of a backlash against the chaos it unleashes.
Ori Brafman I recently spoke to Ori Brafman, who is the author of the new book, The Chaos Imperative: How Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success. Ori has an MBA in organizational studies from Stanford Business School and consults with and speaks to Fortune 500 companies on organization, disruption, and [...]
The power of the individual versus the power of the collective is a tension that has been around longer than human resources and talent management as an occupation. While an organization is concerned with achieving success for the collective, we often forget the collective is made up of unique individuals
I recently participated in a survey for APQC that was looking to identify the hot topics within product development and innovation. One or two hot spots surprised me, others less so.
In the round-up of results almost two-thirds of survey respondents have placed refining the identification of customer needs and remaining competitive in terms of profit at the top of their product development agendas. I like the increasing emphasis on identifying customer needs
Creating an environment conducive to open innovation does not and cannot happen overnight. That’s because open innovation isn’t really a one-time event. It’s both a process and a culture. The first entails a series of steps, which will be discussed later. The second will naturally result from how effective an organization is in implementing these steps. Here are the steps. Step 1: Identify Cultural Roadblocks to Innovation and Collaboration Think about your existing corporate culture. It’s not only hurting the bottom line, it’s also blocking people from doing their best. You simply can’t ignore what’s already there. To build a culture [...]
his week is the Front End of Innovation conference in Boston, which is arguably the most renown event for corporate innovation professionals. Here's my presentation on Strategies and Tools for Creating a Culture of Innovation. In this presentation I introduce the concept of the Culture of Innovation Canvas, a simple tool (download PDF or download…
Innovation is a tricky thing to bring into an organization because it’s so multi-faceted. There are many types of innovation, there are many people to consider, and there are many processes to use, all happening in a complex environment that is constantly changing and evolving based on what your competitors are doing.
So what’s a leader to do to drive it forward? Following are seven strategies for bringing about more innovation and creating a deliberate approach to growth and development of the individual’s and your organization’s capacity.
Create a mandate for change, backed by a strategy that embraces innovation.Be a a model of what it will take individually and collectively for the organization to become more innovative. Communicate challenging strategic issues throughout the organization. Create highly diverse teams to address strategic issues. Give people access to creative methods and experiences. Design and build systems to nurture innovation.Champion ideas that don’t quite fit
How many times have you seen this in your organization: a team of empowered people spends hundreds of person-hours working on solutions to a significant organizational challenge? They carefully examine all the data, work through a process, create a lengthy PowerPoint deck in a pretty binder, present it to the next level and then…nothing. Nada. Niente. Zip. Zilch. Zero.
(*Sigh*) Yep, another organizational time toilet. Hours, money, brains, solutions…all down the drain. It must cost your organization millions, even billions. Nationwide, the statistic is that every year we waste $8.7 bazillion on committee meetings and problem-solving teams that result in nothing being implemented (Source: US Senseless Bureau of Made-Up Numbers).
When we’re brought in to work with organizations, whether it’s strategic planning with the CEO and direct-reports, line workers working to improve quality, and everything in-between, this pattern shows up.
“Could you please help us to encourage failure and mistakes in our organization?”We’ve never heard this as a genuine question in a board room. Yet New & Improved and many other innovation gurus say that mistakes and failures are a critical part of the innovation process. Consider this quote from Judith Estrin, CEO of Packet Design, Inc. , a network-technology company:
Unless you've been in a coma for the past 20 years, I'm sure you're familiar with the phrase "get out of the box." It's everywhere. Whole industries have sprung up around it, including mine.
No one can deny that getting out of the box is a good thing to do. Seems like a no-brainer, eh? Kind of like helping little old ladies cross the street. Or tearing down the Berlin Wall.
But before you start planning your heroic escape, answer me this: What the heck is the box, anyway? What is this so-called thing that keeps us so contained, confined, caged, trapped, claustrophobic, and otherwise unable to create?
Let's start with the basics. A box has six sides, including the top and the bottom.
Creativity is changing. Not so long ago, it seemed like a “man on the mountain” approach could suffice. All you needed was a great idea and then get people to rally around it to make it happen (or so many thought).
To whatever extent that was ever true, it certainly seems to be getting less so. Due partly to a change in zeitgeist and partly to greater integration and complexity in business life, we’re working more in teams. So the question is: What makes some teams better than others?
Research into social networks has begun to shed some light on that question and is coming up with some sensible answers that have important practical implications.
Popular culture can be a great source for inspiration and insight. Some people think watching TV is a waste of time and that you should spend hours on top of hours in your work. I’m of the belief that getting lost in a TV show can help you escape from the grind and find inspiration through someone else’s work.
Shows like Entourage, The Wire and Breaking Bad are just a few of the shows that I’ve taken inspiration and insights from over the last few years. Like the other millions of people across the globe, one show that has taken my full attention is the Netflix sensation House Of Cards.
The characters, plot lines and storytelling found in House Of Cards is nothing short of captivating. Frank Underwood is the perfect example of a character you hate to love. The ongoing drama in the plot is one that forces you to become immersed it’s complexity. It’s a show that makes you question social dynamics, political corruption and business as a whole. Some of the biggest lessons that I’ve taken from House Of Cards can be applied to both life and business. Here are the top lessons any professional can take from House Of Cards:
Social innovation is a powerful and valuable tool in the environmental sector. It involves social groups and communitiescreating, developing and diffusing ideas and solutions to address pressing social needs. More recently, social innovation hasbeen gaining policy attention, providing a means to stimulate new ideas that address complex issues alongside ensuring citizen participation. Due to its participatory and creative nature, it is well positioned to address environmental challenges,which are multifaceted and often require societal or behavioural shifts towards more sustainable options.
Fostering the good ideas that come from staff and members is the first step toward building innovation into your organization. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy has created a blueprint for embracing innovation from its staff and putting new ideas into action
Bringing innovation to life from wherever you are in the organization requires five key values:
Integrity – Doing what you say you’ll do.Tenacity – Persistently and doggedly pursuing an option or solution until it succeeds and/or others see the brilliance of it.Courage – Being brave about pursuing options that are risky, novel, or untried.Curiosity – Being interested in new ways of doing things, unusual approaches, or things that are outside of your area of expertise. Consciously not knowing the answer, and seeking new ones instead. Consciously learning.Humility – Recognizing that ideas can come from other people, a willingness to change your mind, being able to admit mistakes when you make them, and being willing to learn from the mistakes of others, rather than punishing them.
If you had only five minutes to teach someone how to be more creative, what would you teach? For trainers, the question translates to: What’s most likely to stick? What do people remember and implement? What training really makes people more creative? These are questions we’ve asked each other for many years now, especially as clients have requested that training programs be shortened.
The four authors have been teaching, training, facilitating, and researching creative thinking and problem solving for over 70 years full–time. We’ve worked with thousands of new groups to help them increase their ability to think more creatively, and we’ve boiled it down to four key points.
Our point is not to boast, but to provide an indication of just how many times we’ve experimented and refined our ability to increase the “stickability” of the tools, techniques and methods related to creative thinking and problem solving. When you consider that the four of us just love, Love, LOVE new ideas, then you can imagine the size of our collective scrap–heap of things that didn’t work, or at least not as well as we had hoped.