In the past decade, I have listened to many leaders across all sorts of industries and organisations dialogue about innovation but very rarely have I seen organisations actually embody and live the outcomes of these dialogues. Facilitated dialogues and workshops with the endorsement and often participation of company leaders invariably leave participants highly enthused. Yet very often after a relative short period of time, organisations absorb this optimism and little changes. Leaders attest to the many difficulties associated with innovation, not least of which are the political ramifications. Innovation is like a political movement, often polarising entrenched hierarchies, organisational elites and factions. Innovation favours ideators and implementers, those wanting to overthrow the status quo and get on with change, challenging anybody who stands in their way. How a leader handles this unresolved organisational tension is crucial to the implementation of innovation. Over the last couple of months I have observed a trend within some larger organisations in which senior leaders are starting to engage internal staff in something more than just dialogue about innovation. I can’t put my finger on what it is directly but for want of a better description I will call it - innovation action. Innovation action is beyond mere dialogue and seems to follow a rough pattern.
Entries in HR (4)
The cumulative creative behaviours of senior leadership teams offer a strong indicator of whether an organization can successfully work their way through an innovation or transformation initiative. I stumbled across this phenomenon when I started to witness impediments and then the breakdown of well intentioned and well planned innovation initiatives on an organizational scale. It was clear to me these impediments occurred at senior levels not because of any deliberate subterfuge. They occurred because of “the blind spot phenomena” in creative skills and capabilities within teams working on innovation. The cliché “what you don’t know, you don’t know” occurred to me as best way to describe these circumstances. Creativity, that element of discovery, experimentation, invention, perception and risk which drives innovation, creativity’s output, is subjective. It is influenced by our personal creative attitudes, behaviours and practices. It is an area of skills development that goes to the very heart of who we are and how we behave and is very difficult to talk about directly. In my own journey as an innovation practitioner, the “blind spot phenomenon” revealed itself slowly over a period of six months as a result of the application of
It has taken a decade for social media to finally deliver on its promise of democratising the work place. We might not have the paperless office but we certainly have free social media that poses a huge problem for the revenue, profitability and very existence of service driven organizations. The problem now for services organizations is not when to change but what to and how. This means organizational innovation is no longer an imperative. It is a must do. Yet, organizations find it extremely difficult to implement innovation as it requires strategic, tactical and behavioural change and to align those elements can be an Herculean task. This difficulty was highlighted recently when I was invited to a meeting with the MD of one of Asia-Pacific’s leading HR services companies. The MD has responsibility across all divisions for revenue, is passionate about innovation and recognizes the HR market is changing rapidly
There is major disruption to markets and business models taking place globally as a result of the confluence of technology emerging into main stream behaviourial norms and the continuing global financial crisis. Thus, organizations need to focus on change and transformation as primary objectives to survive right now.
Creativity and innovation are the drivers in change and transformation.
Having worked globally helping hundreds of organizations to innovate, I have recently developed new ways of identifying what type of mindset is required, what the innovation impediments are, and how to remove them to make innovation actually flow in an organization.
The skills required to be innovate are without exception latent inside the organization, its leaders, managers and employees. All that is really required to unleash great innovation is some tools and a determined mindset.
Oh and confidence!!.. And this is where I know how to assist you.
Give me your best and brightest leaders and managers, allocate resources and watch how your own leaders and managers can develop an organization wide innovation practice and transform your organization into a 21st Century industry leader.
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