It’s often said Canadian businesses aren’t innovating enough and we risk losing our competitiveness. Let’s explore an innovation process that’s part of a business relationship mapping tool I recently designed.
Below is a graph of part of the innovation process:
First, let’s look at goals. You can have immediate goals such as improving team communication or you can have longer term goals such as designing a new product.
Second, let’s establish some parameters and metrics. Parameters are guidelines that those working to achieve the goal must respect. There may be few parameters – the only thing that matters is that the time delivers by X date, budget-smudget (that doesn’t happen often). You can also have the scenario of having many parameters: the project must conclude by X date, within Y budget, using ABC personnel.
There’s another way of looking at parameters and that’s using parameters to stretch the innovation. Project must be done by X date using newly developed resources. What are those resources? Don’t know – that’s part of the innovation and resourcefulness of this particular project.
Third, you need to look at your existing network. What are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, what are the knowledge gaps? Then you can start putting feelers out to see who is interested in participating and has the skills and knowledge to compliment your existing team.
Fourthly, you get to be resourceful, scrounge, create, and beg for new resources.
Fifthly, you implement and measure your impact.
If you look at how you are managing people, constraints and resources, you can then start to have different conversations. From those different conversations, all sorts of wonderful impacts can follow.
I’d like to hear from you if you’ve tried to apply this model. Let me know what you think.
I changed my twitter profile to say that Canada needs to create 3 million jobs. I should qualify that – 3 million middle class jobs. It might sound like a crazy number but keep in mind that the CBC recently reported that Canada could lose up to 7.5 million jobs because of automation.
The need to generate 3 million jobs is simply to address current economic realities. Below I outline how I think Canadian companies can generate these jobs.
I think the bulk of these jobs will be generated by small and medium sized businesses that see the potential in doing things differently. By that I mean they stop spinning their wheels trying to sell to the biggest company in town and start doing more business with other companies. The economy goes from a pyramid, trying to sell to the company on top, and becomes more of a spider web with an array of relationships.
Doing things differently means that companies rethink how they interact with their employees. Wise employers realise that they need to expand development opportunities for their employees. Innovative companies encourage their staff to bring all of their talents to work. They also provide opportunities for employees to own a piece of the company (private shares, cooperatives, other arrangements).
When people can bring more of their talents to work, they want to contribute more, share and inspire. Being allowed to be an authentic person increases opportunities for innovation.
Companies can generate 3 million jobs by rethinking their business ecosystems. Some relationships work. Other relationships offer false hopes and time sinks. False hopes come in the form of thinking someone else will come in and rescue your company. They won’t. Only you will steer your company in a new direction.
And then there are time sinks. You think you are being productive when in fact you’re not. Once unproductive behaviours are hacked away, then true innovation and growth can occur.
I’m looking to create a group of small businesses to participate in a round of workshops to innovate and grow. If you’re interested, contact me directly.
Some 12 years ago events piqued my curiosity on the economy. Since then I’ve become deeply interested in economic trends, systems-analysis of economic issues, economic numbers, and solutions. It is my personal belief that Canada needs to create at least 2.5 million net new jobs to begin to (re)experience prosperity. It is my belief that the majority of these jobs need to be export related. I’m happy to go over with you how I reached that number – just ask me. Really –go on, just ask me.
Over the past few years I’ve been engaging entrepreneurs and business owners -- and pretty much anyone who will listen -- on economic matters. I mentioned the soft economy. Job growth is often not as strong as wanted or needed. Profits and margins are low. I noted weak productivity increase and slow innovation. There were other trends that I mentioned. Cold hard reality facts.
One of the participants suggested that I was too negative. That I shouldn’t mention to entrepreneurs and business owners how weak the current economy is, that I shouldn’t mention how stuck many companies are and how stagnant current efforts at business innovation are. In good faith and with sincerity, the participant suggested that this perspective would shake business confidence, demotivate participants from being creative and generally be a downer.
I thought about it. And then I came to the realisation that until someone recognises the cold hard facts as they are, nothing will change. The alcoholic will not seek rehabilitation until they chose to. In drunken stupors all will seem fine because the haze is considered normal. They chose to seek support to become sober when they know and understand they have a problem they can’t fix on their own. The athlete will not seek a professional coach until they realise that their practices and methods will only get them so far in the competitive leagues. If they are sincere in advancing their performance, then will seek out professional athletic coaches.
I think the same is true for entrepreneurs and businesses. When entrepreneurs and businesses come to grips with the harsh numbers of today’s economy, the sagging productivity, the stiffness of competition, the painfully low margins, the rising of barriers to access to resources and networks, then and only then will they be motivated to think up new solutions and implement them. First admit there is a problem. Second come to terms with the problem (it won’t go away on its own). Then thirdly, start working on the problem’s solution.
Bottom line: face the brutal economic reality for what it is – take a moment to gather strength and courage, and then press forward boldly and innovatively.
PS: Thank you Jen for helping me find my voice in expressing the sober yet opportunity-laden impressions of business.
Allo there ~ I'm Renée and this is my blog on leadership and business development. Here I explore the nexus between leadership, conflict resolution, networks, innovation and prosperity.