ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Posts Tagged ‘Creativity Leadership’

Do Implementing “Best Practices” Stifle Creativity/Innovation?

Posted by Plish on January 26, 2009

The Future of Best Practice Adoption

The Future of Best Practice Adoption

 “Companies have defined so much ‘best practice’ that they are now more or less identical.” — Joseph Kunde, Unique Now…or Never

We all have seen, heard, or read references to “Best Practices”‘ as being a road to success.  Kunde’s astute observation challenges us.

Are we so involved in adopting “Best Practices” that we are losing our unique, tactical edges?  Can “Best Practices” result in all our solutions to big problems looking alike and do they really advance innovation?

Just today the Pfizer/Wyeth merger seems to answer “Yes”, “Yes” and “No” respectively.

Yes, there are times and places for instituting “Best Practices”.  They are to be used when the road is poorly marked, when the strategy is one of staying the course. 

But, when the goal is to bring new innovations to the world, to out-battle those bigger and stronger, to zig when others zag, the “Best Practices” enacted should be those that empower us, people, your team, 

to be authentic,

                                  powerful,

                                                           creative, 

                                                                           dynamic individuals –

that together –

are greater than the sum of their parts.

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Posted in Authenticity, Best Practices, Creative Environments, Creativity Leadership, culture of innovation, Disruptive Innovation, innovation, Tactics, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Finding and Grooming Innovators

Posted by Plish on November 25, 2008

Good article here from the Harvard Business Review.

In general, the article is right on.  I’ve personally (and unfortunately) seen much of what this article says must be done (or its lack thereof.)  I disagree, to some extent, with the section on giving innovators responsibility and the reward structure.  The argument is made that once innovators are found they should be given a chance – rewarded if they succeed and not given another chance if they fail. 

Since the article discusses “finding” innovators, I can see the rationale behind the need to give them a chance.  On the other hand, if a company has to “find” innovators, is it truly a company with an innovative culture, or a company that is efficient at keeping positive cash flow? I would argue there should be a difference. Perhaps not in the needed result but in orientation and execution.

In line with this is my dislike of the “one-strike-you’re-out” rule that most companies mentioned here seem to use.  By definition within the article, innovators are those who take risks.  A high risk project might fail- it’s what makes it high risk!  Having said that, risking once is relatively easy.  Risking twice or thrice after a former failure takes guts and courage.  The approach in this article cuts true innovators off at the knees. 

If somebody fails, (or as I prefer to say, “Increases his/her experiential database”, which coincidentally increases odds of future success!) analyze the situation, learn, cross-pollinate and keep moving forward!  What do I mean by cross-pollinate?

Any Innovator that is turned loose will innovate – new products, processes, systems, sub-systems will be developed in the course of any project.  Odds are HUGE that something developed during a “failure” can and will be used somewhere else in the company and perhaps with even greater payback than the original project had! That person should be rewarded not barred from future attempts.

What are your thoughts?

ARTICLE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Sustaining innovation, many agree, is crucial for a company’s long-term success. But truly innovative people are rare: They have excellent analytic skills, never rest on their laurels, and can identify the solutions likeliest to win over top leadership. They are socially savvy and can bring a diverse group of constituents into alignment. They tend to be both charming and persuasive.

The right talent-management procedures can help in spotting potential innovators. Reuters, for example, interviews candidates one-on-one and gives them complex, real-world scenarios in which they must reach and defend decisions, accommodate new information, and convincingly sell their point of view. Starwood and McDonald’s require would-be innovators to lead cross-functional teams in developing promising ideas and then to present those ideas to senior management. One global industrial products company in the UK insists that they do a stint in the sales department.

Developing breakthrough innovators requires mentoring and peer networks. Mentors provide insight into the motivations, goals, mind-set, and budget constraints of managers in a variety of relevant functions. At Allstate, for example, the CEO coaches and supports the mentors themselves, sending a strong signal about the importance of the program. Peer networks provide a sense of solidarity and a uniquely fertile environment in which to exchange ideas, impart information, and instill hope.

Companies that excel in developing innovative leaders often remove them from revenue-generating line positions and plant them in the middle of the organization, where they form “innovation hubs,” with easy access to influentials, more autonomy, and broader job responsibilities.

Practices like these keep companies open to new ideas and prepare them to respond nimbly to innovation from elsewhere in their industries.

Posted in Case Studies, Creativity Leadership, culture of innovation, innovation, Innovation Metrics, problem solving, Research, Uncategorized, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Latest on Innovation Metrics

Posted by Plish on November 14, 2008

InnovationLabs has published a white paper on innovation metrics.  While intriguing in its breadth, I’m not totally sold on the proposed metrics contained therein.  Too many of these metrics can be “padded” so that when it comes times to performance reviews people will be rushing to fill their quotas of “customers seen” or “ideas generated” just so they can claim they’re innovative.

Many of the other metrics are based upon  “what was done”, or “what was the return on x project”.  While necessary to somehow measure, these types of metrics lag and are like reacting to a fever of 105F after the person’s fever dropped to room temperature  becaue he/she cooked.

Thoughts?

Posted in Creativity Leadership, innovation, Innovation Metrics, Nature of Creativity, patents, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Creating a Culture of Innovation – GROW!

Posted by Plish on November 10, 2008

Interesting article here.  It seems everyone is looking for a magic bullet in innovation. 

It’s right there in front of you–in fact– it IS you! 

Humans are inherently creative and they are always looking for ways to make their jobs easier and more productive.  Do the following and GROW!™  You’ll be creating/supporting a culture of innovation without needing a program.

Get out of the way!! Don’t let your ego get in the way.  Let people be people and don’t stifle their need to improvise and come up with solutions!

Reward Risk taking and innovative thinking.  Nothing helps innovation like knowing that someone has “got your back” 

Obstacle removal.  You’re trying to do everything at breakneck speed-get the obstacles to success out of the way so you don’t trip! What are the obstacles?  Ask your people.

Work and win!  Nothing spurs innovation like confronting the problems of the day.  Work hard and innovation will percolate.

The same rules apply to individuals as well- apply the acronym to yourself and watch the ideas flow!

Posted in Creativity Leadership, innovation, Innovation Metrics, Nature of Creativity, Team-Building, Workplace Creativity, ZenStorming | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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