Some teams have brilliant programmers. Other teams have excellent marketers. Still others have team members with an exceptional breadth and depth of experience. All of these interesting balances and mixes of skills, talent and drive. Some lead to innovation, others don’t. The question is why?
Why is it that so many companies have talented individuals and the company lags behind in innovation?
Leadership is often a listed a key component. That’s very true. Teams and ideas flounder without solid leadership. In addition to leadership, I think there needs to be underlying mechanisms that support creativity. There’s a need for structures to be in place to support the mixing and mashing of ideas, experiences, skills and opportunities.
You can have all of the ingredients of the salad but no bowl to put the salad in. Without a bowl, you have no salad.
What are some structures needed to have innovation?
Innovation is as much about talent as it is about how the culture of the business supports employees’ creativity and curiosity.
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.
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.