advertisement
advertisement

Innovation Is All about a Mindset

I’d like to weigh in on Jeff De Cagna’s post “Innovation Requires a Holistic Perspective” and his question regarding the true nature of innovation: is it primarily about the organization or primarily about the individual? Yes, it is both, but I think more precisely it’s the creation of an innovation mindset… first among leaders and champions at all levels, then as part of a corporate cultural mindset.

I’d like to weigh in on Jeff De Cagna’s post “Innovation Requires a Holistic Perspective” and his question regarding the true nature of innovation: is it primarily about the organization or primarily about the individual? Yes, it is both, but I think more precisely it’s the creation of an innovation mindset… first among leaders and champions at all levels, then as part of a corporate cultural mindset.

advertisement
advertisement

At the beginning of any strategic innovation initiative, everyone’s excited and optimistic — we’ve got a great idea and we’re going to rule the world (Dreaming). Then “shit happens” as it always does and we face failure (Doubting). It’s never as easy as we thought it would be. Failure is a natural and useful element of innovation… it’s how we learn and adapt our solutions. Or determine it’s time to try another challenge. As we develop innovative concepts into real-world practical solutions, we’re learning more, the problem isn’t as simple and we begin to truly understand the complexity of the challenge. It’s this 3rd stage (Quitting or Perservering) that truly separates innovators from dreamers… those that perservere and don’t quit often experience a transformational experience of having worked through the challenges and acquire a new confidence built upon deep knowledge and experience.

Individuals and organizations that repeatedly fight their way through to these transformational events acquire an ability to champion innovative and potentially risky ideas. It’s not blind optimism, it’s a recognition and calmness about the process of trial and error and a development of informed instinct as to when it’s appropriate to continue with the challenge or move on to the next one.

advertisement
advertisement

Those organizations and individuals that never make it beyond the first stages, become hardened in their positions and adopt ever more risk averse approaches to future endeavors. It becomes a vicious cycle.

My belief is that when an organization is in this vicious cycle, the best way to “break out” is not through risky internal innovation programs, but initially through partnering with external innovators and start-ups. By outsourcing some risk, they’re limiting their upside, but they are getting an opportunity to be exposed to this transformational thinking in a way that a risk-averse organization can stomach.

Here’s a link to a more extended explanation of the model if you’re interested: Innovation Mindset Model

advertisement
advertisement