Re-inventing innovation

Innovation is a buzz word these days - fancy for some and passion for others. In this compounded recession - teams are facing a dramatic challenge of programme delivery pressure and the need for innovative (yet customer centric) problem solving at all levels. 

The simple principle of "It is our responsibility to sell (honestly) and not their responsibility to buy", holds true across most of the organizations and at multiple levels.

Organizations worship efficiency, are hostile to variability and love conformance. In product development context. With these implicitly ill intentions, organizations try to focus far too much on the formal process where powerpoints are presented and filtered at multiple levels before they reach the real decision makes. 

Senior executives by definition are always short of time and this filtration blinds the vision about novel ideas. If you struggle to find new ideas in your organization, don't assume there aren't any!

If the ideas are revised, debated, screened and formalized before anyone with authority sees them - mark it down as stepping into a vicious circle towards death of innovation.

Instead of thoroughly vetting ideas before they reach senior management, find ways to expose decision hubs to ideas when they're raw. Skip the PowerPoint presentation—it only creates high expectations for a slick, refined idea. 

Remove the well-intentioned gatekeepers from the process . 

Some recommended steps towards augmenting innovation:

Brainstorm: Create a forum where team members get together and use affinity (KJ analysis) or any similar brainstorming technique that includes free thinking format. Ensure that the individuals get a chance to contribute individually before the thought share. Allow the team to anchor their thoughts around grouped ideas. 

Engage change agents: The teams have to find the right change agents who are passionate about innovation. It will then serve the purpose to the team to create informal opportunities for the raw & fresh ideas to be shared outside the ring fenced teams.  

Create an idea sharing forum: Try to create open forums that allow transparency and look at the ideas' processes before they're presented. Ensure that the ideas are presented  in their earliest stages as raw or on poster board to a room of mingling executives who can stop to discuss ideas that catch their attention.

Radiate the passion: Engage the enthusiastic and artistic team members to prepare thought provoking banners and spread the energy by inviting other teams to the brainstorming and demos.

Recipe for success

"It's not what you know, it's who you know" is truer than ever in today's truly challenged organizations.

The fundamental question then is - how do you know whom to know?
Personal support, purpose and work/life balance play a vital role in the filtration of whom to know.

A paired coach or a close friend proves to be priceless in situations of extreme uncertainty of bad days.

A solidarity driven objective based culture tries to take the human factor out of the equation. Pairing                     with more sociable personalities helps drive the broader meaning of work.
An honest friend will help you bring consistency into positive attidues including spirtual well-being,                                                         dietary habits and physical health.

With these three key filters at hand - try to choose influential and passionate change agents around you.
Having the right people around you - try to focus on learning (with passion) and success is inevitable.

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