07.2012 - Want Innovation?  Brainstorming is Not the Answer!

Often, we’re asked about what cultural dynamics make a difference in amplifying organizational innovation.   

We offer this short answer:   Diversity + Open-Mindedness + Persistence

Most of us are instinctively creative but we exist inside systems that often have mindsets, processes, structures, and traditions that thwart innovation.
Leaders who have "figured out" innovation know there are three key imperatives for group dynamics that foster innovation:
1.  Rich diversity of perspectives and backgrounds.
2.  Ability to respond to others including flexible thinking, the ability to embrace new perspectives, open-mindedness, and deep listening. 
3.  Persistence -- not giving up.  Innovation is work.

Here are five questions to ask yourself about your organization.
  • Is risk-taking punished or rewarded?  In other words, are ideas that go against conventional thinking seriously considered? 
  • Do people look outside the organization to generate a fresh eye/perspective to create new thinking? 
  • Are the overall expectations that innovation is only worthwhile when it is a big, earth shattering INNOVATION or do people recognize small steps toward achieving big change?
  • Are we having fun?  When people are having fun, they tend to  creative.   The fun factor relates to being relaxed.  Often, it's in the relaxed state that break-through insights occur. 
  • Do we seize the first idea that pops into our heads or do we generate lots of alternatives that we incubate?   Once we generate ideas, do we pilot or test ideas so that we minimize our financial or marketplace exposure?
One of our favorite innovation indicators is an organization's heroes or heroines.  If the people who people admired in your organization are upholders of the status quo, your organization has some work to do to get on an innovation path!

"Every creative journey begins with a problem.... It starts with a feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer." Jonah Lehrer, Imagine (2012)

Creative outsiders can bring diverse perspectives that shed new light on old challenges.  

StrategicStudios create spaces for leaders to get outside of the routine and tackle challenges and create new futures with zest and resolve.