Diagnosing issues and gaps during any type of organizational change initiative is always difficult processes to not only recognize the issues at hand but to provide solutions that eliminate those issues. Many organizations these days are continually focusing driving their cultures to be more inventive and innovative.
Vision: There has to be an innovation vision that provides purpose and clarity for need to be more inventive and innovative. You cannot create the shifts you are looking for the sake of just being “more” inventive or innovative. Purposeful inventiveness and innovation drives home certain needs in the organization such as new products to enter new markets or new processes to create effective work streams. Simply becoming more inventive and innovative to make more money does not provide a strong enough platform for the changes needed.
If you avoid spending time to solidify your Innovation Vision your efforts will lack purpose as it is cascaded through your organization. The people responsible for success need a reason and an endgame to measure results against.
Skills: The notion that people are inherently creative often gets lost as we settle into the operational routines of our everyday work lives. Creativity is an essential part of being inventive and innovative; and we have to help our people and our teams to tap into the latent creativity that they have. The skills needed to support a culture of inventiveness and innovation include teamwork, language and processes that support the Innovation Vision that has been established.
We spend thousands of hours in our lives honing expertise to be successful in our jobs and other parts of who we are. Inventiveness and Innovation are no different. We learn new skills; acquire new tools and behaviors to become experts at what we do. Without the skills, tools and behaviors needed for inventiveness and innovation, we will lack efficiencies and effectiveness and not reach the levels of expertise needed for the change.
Climate: The climate for inventiveness and innovation has to be supported by all levels of the organization. Leaders, managers and individual contributors have to have the ability to be open, honest and feel safe during the trials and tribulations that occur when we are trying to create breakthroughs for our business. We need to recognize and reward the successes and learn positively from the failures. Additionally, the business climate has to be open to the fact that time and space need to be available outside of the normal duties of the business in order to work on the process of creating the desired culture.
Any time an organization takes on a change, a key component is making a change with the leaders—not who they are, but how they behave. These behaviors are the ones that instill a level of trust among and between leaders and their teams. When we fail to create the climate for inventiveness and innovation, we lose the trust that is needed.
Resources: Simply put—There has to be the investment of Time, People and Money allocated to the process of creating the inventive and innovative culture. It does not happen, just because we say it needs to happen.
When we decide to make a large change stakeholders often try to do make it happen as “lean” as possible. The investment in resources is not necessarily about a money investment, however it can help. If we don’t provide the time for people to congregate, discuss, experiment and work on the change process collaboration doesn’t happen. One of the key inputs to creating an inventive and innovative culture is to drive collaboration across the organization and allow for the cross pollination of ideas and solutions.
Plan: Along with your innovation vision, we have to construct and Innovation Plan. A plan the maps out “the who,” “the what,” “the how;” and builds off of “the why” outlined in the innovation vision. Additionally, the plan should include time frames, milestones and alternative pathways to success. Include the key stakeholders as guideposts and mentors to those assigned to execute the plan.
The plan is not just a to-do list; it is the all-encompassing road map that will guide how the organization works through the processes of becoming more inventive and innovative. Without it, we lack measurement and metrics as well as a way to provide two-way feedback to the initiative. The plan itself is a document that provides structure. The planning process is equally important as it integrates the thinking of the stakeholders and those responsible for the activation of the Innovation Vision.