Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Be open to changing the rules (i.e. the system)

Last week, I did attend the Open Innovation Festival in my city, Amersfoort. It was a nice event, but I really don’t understand why they called it “open”. There was nothing being discussed where ideas were sourced from the community. There were no initiatives to truly engage the local community. It was more about what innovation is. Well, the way it looks to the local government.

The mayor and general council gave a presentation about what innovation is. That was really shocking as the content was really poor and missing the point. They did exclude disruptive innovation from the menu! They said that they were only interested in incremental innovations.

At the same time cities are confronted with a lot of challenges and a more demanding population. A consulting agency did share that they are experiencing huge problems in aligning all stakeholders (citizens, public servants, management, council and board).

If you stick to the old rules and are not open to fundamentally change the system, then it will be very hard (even impossible) to get good results. You have to be open to changing the rules. A simple example from field hockey does illustrate this. When the FIH (international hockey board) skipped the rule of ‘offside’, the game became much more attractive. Also the number of goals scored did increase a lot. Scores like 5-4 or 7-3 are normal sores now and the public loves it.

So, if you really want to align all stakeholders then you (corporations, governments, NGO’s) have to be open to changing the rules of the game!

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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