Deloitte recently published the results of a survey (2014) that states, “Leadership remains the No. 1 talent issue facing organizations around the world, with 86 percent of respondents in our survey rating it as “urgent” or “important.” Only 13 percent of respondents say they do an excellent job developing leaders at all levels—the largest “readiness gap” in our survey.”
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Innovation never occurs in a vacuum. Organizations that desire the generation of new ideas and innovation or that seek to create an “innovation-based culture,” must put in place processes and tools to support collaboration. Collaborating is one of the key ways innovators “connect” when they engage in innovation activities. Innovators thrive on a diversity of ideas and perspectives and connecting to people is an excellent way to achieve this diversity.
The need for continuous and sustained innovation has never been greater for businesses and organizations, regardless of size, industry or market, for profit or non-profit. Now, innovation is everyone’s business due to several factors including increasingly competitive markets, increasingly diverse and demanding consumers, along with current and forecasted trends and challenges. In many cases, cost-cutting has been cut to the bone and efficiencies squeezed beyond the point of diminishing returns. Profitability and growth are increasingly challenging. Engagement and retention (or lack of) are growing and costly problems as well. So now, whatever your business, continuously seeking new ideas, new opportunities and new and better ways of doing business, is critical to your success.
First, serve as an innovation role model. Ask good questions and encourage questioning beyond habit or the obvious. Be a good listener. Recognize failure as part of the innovating process. Model resilient optimism that inspires curiosity and belief in the possibilities. From confidence to capability, be a people-builder.
This case example reflects the current realities that many organizations are facing today or will in the near future. It also provides an example of how adopting Everyday Innovation as a business strategy, and applying the BASIS Method can create great results and outcomes, including increased revenue, profit, market share, brand identity, engagement, and attracting a more diverse population of talent, including “Millennials.”
EiQ continuously experiences and shares Everyday Innovation stories from a diverse collection of perspectives, industries, organizations, disciplines, roles and regions. The following excerpt is a preview of a series of Everyday Innovation stories…
The ability to generate and sustain innovation has become an imperative for organizations as markets grow more global, open, and competitive, and customer expectations grow more diverse and demanding. Our world demands a new view toward innovation – a new brand of innovation, one that is more broad and more inclusive. In order for our world and the organizations in it to prosper, it is essential that everyone learn the skills to become active contributors toward innovation. Organizations must commit to innovation as a key strategy for success and expect and support everyone in the organization to be an active contributor toward innovation. Our world demands Everyday Innovation.
The BASIS Method is a systematic approach for generating and sustaining Everyday Innovation. It brings meaning and purpose to innovation by defining and branding innovation specific to an organization’s unique needs and goals. BASIS makes innovation actionable by providing customizable plans that lead to the development of the People and Organizational Capabilities needed to generate new ideas and innovation from all levels and all functions, from everyone, every day.
Everyday Innovators are continuously seeking and making a diversity of connections for new ideas and innovation. Everyday Connections highlights the four general types of connections that Everyday Innovators make: People, Data, Experiences and Analogies.
One of the core People Capabilities for Everyday Innovation is the skill of viewing the world and our work through an “innovator’s lens.” The ARC Model represents this lens, which is focused on creating. Everyday Innovators develop the skill of regularly viewing circumstances, events, problems, and situations through a lens that reflects a creating mindset.
While the importance and value of innovation cannot be overstated, the “legend” of how it is accomplished has been greatly exaggerated. Innovation has been romanticized to the point where many of us believe it is something beyond our ability. The stories associated with innovators and innovations come to us wrapped in a great deal of mystery and mysticism. This makes for very interesting stories but it also distorts our perception of innovation. These stories and myths can make innovation seem mysterious, illusive and out of reach, leading us to believe that the ability to innovate is a rare gift limited to an elite few “geniuses,” people such as Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs.
The term everyday has three meanings that represent three fundamental components of Everyday Innovation: (1) Involving everyone in innovation; (2) Valuing every type of innovation, from small to transformational; and (3) having an innovation mindset at every moment.
We have been in survival mode, both as individuals and organizations. We have been in a fear-driven, defensive, protective position, not all that different from a roly-poly bug. But over time, as the storm of the Great Recession endured, our fear-driven, protective position has increasingly led to organizational paralysis, where fear reigns supreme, indecision and inaction rule, and “stay under the radar” is the modus operandi. And this all too prevalent organizational condition represents an anti-innovation environment reinforcing anti-innovation behavior.
One of the foundational principles of Everyday Innovation is that “Diversity is Power.” The potential of the outcomes we create expands as we actively include a diversity of perspectives. And these days, “inclusion” is an often misused word. So when deciding, defining and creating desired outcomes, are we including all the right people and perspectives? And are we truly including them?
Everyday Innovation represents a systematic approach for building innovation capabilities and focuses on the capabilities of both the people and the organization. The last part of that statement is important to note, because all too often, all of the talk about innovation fails to sufficiently address the organizational capabilities necessary to encourage, expect, reward, and drive innovation.
At times fear can be an effective tactic for accomplishing compliance and driving desired behaviors, but it is a very ineffective tactic for fostering innovation. In fact, fear typically stifles and suppresses innovation. And it actually takes a lot of energy and resources to generate and sustain a fear-driven environment that stifles innovation.
All effective Performance is improvisational—the ability to make the “right” choices toward intended outcomes. As we develop greater ability to make these choices, we increase our ability to not only come up with new ideas, but innovative ways to bring these new ideas to life.
New ideas and innovations already exist and are being implemented in your organizations today. Too often, they are kept at an individual or localized level and not leveraged more broadly. In addition, a wealth of great ideas and potential innovations are right at the “surface” in people’s minds. But all too often, that’s where they remain. So the question becomes, what would happen if an organization actually expected, encouraged, developed, supported, rewarded and leveraged these “everyday” ideas and innovations from everyone in an organization? What might be the results?