Here are 3 things which you can do right now to drive innovation and change in your organisation. These things aren’t difficult but they have big impact!
1. Look at your organisation through fresh eyes
When a new hire walks through the door, there is a short amount of time before they adjust snugly into ‘the way things are done’ in the organisation. We’re all just so keen to conform.
Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar, realised that this phenomenon results in a huge lost opportunity for creativity and innovation. He decided to make questioning (the new hire does the questioning!) an essential part of the induction process, but not without giving people the confidence to do so.
When Pixar hires new people, Catmull starts off the induction by speaking about mistakes the company has made and lessons they have learned. He immediately creates an environment in which it is clear that everything is up for improvement, assumptions should be challenged; Pixar is always looking to learn. He encourages new hires to question everything, speak up and point out things that don’t make sense. Now, with every new hire, a new wave of challenging assumptions and creativity comes in. And the message is immediately clear: change, creativity and innovation is the norm.
How can you make challenging the status quo and questioning the environment part of your induction process?
2. Stop stopping at the first right idea
One of creativity’s mortal enemies is something we see happening in organisations all the time. It goes something like this: There is a problem that needs to be solved, someone has an idea, everyone thinks the idea will work and the creativity stops. Everyone just runs with that first right solution. This is very bad for creativity.
What research has shown over and over again, is that real creativity happens once you push through the first rounds of obvious solutions. To develop highly creative ideas, get the obvious and top of mind ideas out of the way (capture them), but then go deeper and keep ideating. And then capture those ideas and go deeper! This is where the really creative ideas are often generated.
Can you put a ‘creativity rule’ in place? Encourage your team to always push through to round three so they stop falling into this trap!
3. Start rewarding uncovering customer insights
There is something all highly innovative companies around the world have in common. They are obsessed with customer insights. Of course they love their products, services and ideas as well – but really, they see those things as things which serve as solutions to exciting (customer) problems. Shifting the emphasis in organisations from a core focus on ideas, services and products, to a focus on uncovering customer needs and insights before coming up with product and service ideas to meet those needs is one of the most valuable shifts an organisation can make. It takes an organisation from applying a product centric approach (we build and they will come) to a customer centric approach (customer needs inform products and services, leading to significant growth and innovation). And this shift can start with rewarding the right behaviour. Do you have awards, rewards and recognition all linked to ideas, new products and services (like most organisations do?) If so, think again. Rewarding uncovering customer needs and insights will drive exactly the change you are looking for.
Can you create your regular customer insight award? Can you link rewards to becoming truly customer centric?
If you’d like to dive a bit deeper in any of these tips or would like to chat more about innovation in general, I’d love to chat. firstname.lastname@example.org