Friday, May 29, 2009

INNOVATION: WHERE TO START?

The current state of the economy is ideal for making a fresh start. There is so much changing inside and outside of the organization that you need to formulate an adequate response. It was Susan Jeffers who said: “if you do what you did, you get what you got”. This is true ate the personal level as well as at the organizational level.

 

So, assuming that you want better results, you have to do something differently. And all doing starts with your thinking. This means that ‘fresh’ thinking is required. This applies to all leaders, managers and employees. To make a start with fresh thinking, you can gather a diverse group of people, people from different age groups, race, gender, experience, functions etc. Even better is to reach out for people outside of the company’s boundaries. For instance if you want to cultivate growth, you can involve a farmer or a biologist. If you want to excel at your service delivery, you have to involve your (potential) customers.

 

Going to seminars outside of the scope that you are used to can give you new ideas (= thoughts), The same applies to reading books about different subjects. Crucial is to be open and suspend your judgement. Remember what Einstein said that you have to solve a problem at a different level than where it originated. This is not a one off activity; you have to create a habit of ‘fresh’ thinking.

 

Once your thinking is stretched you can and if you really want to excel, you must have a thorough look at your culture. The culture represents basically the shared beliefs in your organization. Beliefs are the dominant thoughts, which you held.

 

There are different elements of your culture, which you can re-examine:

 

  1. Purpose: To make as much profit as possible.
  2. Management Style: Managers  give commands to employees on what, when and how to accomplish goals.Managers control employees
  3. Customers: Product-out push. Transaction focussed
  4. Rewards: People are only interested in their salary
  5. Metrics: Mainly financial; profit and shareholder value
  6. Workplace: The standard workplace is defined by managers
  7. Working hours: 9-5, 40 hours per week, on-site
  8. Training: There is limited room for professional development
  9. Information: Info is distributed according to your position

 

So, maybe you can come up with a purpose, which is truly meaningful for all the stakeholders. Or you can measure the ‘triple’ bottom-line. Or you can share info as freely as possible.

There are so many possibilities and the gains can and will be huge 

But……… you have to start INSIDE first. Start with allowing and stimulating different thoughts from yourself as well as form all people involved.

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