CIO Tools:   Building Innovation Culture
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CIO Tools: Building Innovation Culture

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The goal of innovation is to come up with new ideas, new processes or new thinking that produces results that are improved from what we are conditioned to expect. In many ways, it is the old ...

The goal of innovation is to come up with new ideas, new processes or new thinking that produces results that are improved from what we are conditioned to expect. In many ways, it is the old paradigm of making 1+1 equal to 3.

This is so cliche that people often laugh when it is introduced into a conversation. It is like so many other tired sayings such as “work smarter, not harder.”

But innovation is just that - the combination of different ideas to produce even better ideas. It is the exact reason why so many businesses and experts strive to engrain innovation into the fabric of their organizations.

If you wish to foster innovation in your company it starts by deeply understanding your talent pool and forming smart teams.

The key factor in segregating your talent pool is understanding the personality types that, when combined, produce innovative ideas....

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    CIO Tools:   Building Innovation Culture CIO Tools: Building Innovation Culture Document Transcript

    • WHITEPAPER CIO Tools: Innovation Culture team selection and the effect on innovation by Jim Vaselopulos - Partner, PSC Group April 2010 The goal of innovation is to come up with A Revelation in St. Louis new ideas, new processes or new thinking that On a recent trip to St. Louis I made a few produces results that are improved from what very important observations. First, I had for- we are conditioned to expect. In many ways, it gotten how impressive it is to visit the Arch. is the old paradigm of making 1+1 equal to 3. Second, I have to mention that every parent should take their children to the City Museum 1+1=3 in St. Louis - it is an amazing place for kids of all ages. The last observation was during an IMAX film of the Lewis and Clark expedition commissioned by Thomas Jefferson in 1804. This is so cliche that people often laugh The revelation I had from this movie was that a when it is introduced into a conversation. It is great deal of the success of the expedition had like so many other tired sayings such as “work to do with decisions that were made before it smarter, not harder.” even started. But innovation is just that - the combina- Thomas Jefferson was smart to pick Meri- tion of different ideas to produce even better wether Lewis. In turn, Lewis was smart to pick ideas. It is the exact reason why so many busi- William Clark to be his co-captain. Likewise, nesses and experts strive to engrain innovation their collective choices for the expedition team, into the fabric of their organizations. including their guide Sacajawea, contributed greatly to their success. It was the composition People often mistake innovation as an indi- of the team that led to their overall success. vidual effort. In this model, you identify and enable those few “gifted” individuals who have High Performance Teams the creative capacity to innovate and give them Modern business books and moguls all the room (time, resources, etc.) to do so. It is a spend a great deal of time on the issue of team fact that you can have success with this ap- selection. Jim Collins, of Good to Great fame, proach. There are individuals who are very in- talks about getting the right people on the bus. novative in every company. Jack Welch from GE set the standard for creat- Unfortunately, this approach does not foster ing high-performance teams. Similarly, the an innovation culture and offers limited results. Lewis and Clark expedition was a high- So what is the alternative? performance team. What is the better option? So what does this have to do with Innova- tion? The answer is actually quite simple. 1 www.psclistens.com © Copyright 2009, PSC Group, LLC
    • If you wish to foster innovation in your Do the Math company it starts by deeply understanding your Let’s revisit the concept of 1+1=3. As- talent pool and forming smart teams. sume that we are not dealing with numbers, but The key factor in segregating your talent objects. In the picture below, how many pool is understanding the personality types that, M&M’s do you see? when combined, produce innovative ideas. 1+1=3 WHITEPAPER Finding the Talent The personality types that foster contagious and new ideas as defined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point seem to fit the con- cept of innovation as well. Gladwell identified =3 Now let’s assume that these M&M’s are “mavens” (information specialists), “connec- people. We have Red, Green and Brown. tors” (those who link people & ideas) and These are three individuals in your company - “salesmen” (persuasive & charismatic commu- perhaps a connector, a maven and a salesman. nicators) in his book. You can now see how a connector is really the A single maven may come up with good real-world equivalent of a mathematical opera- idea, but it is logical to think that several tor. This is how you achieve a sum that seems mavens could produce even better ideas. If, greater than the parts. however, you add a connector, your odds of developing a truly new idea that combines two Making it Cultural! or more disparate concepts is more likely. Sup- Much like the success of the Lewis and posing your dream team develops an innovative Clark expedition, the establishment of an inno- new idea, though, it still must get funded. That vation culture begins with the establishment of is where your salesmen come into play to figure well-balanced teams designed for the task at out how to monetize and sell the idea. hand - innovation. This extension of Gladwell’s work may be In the end, it is the recognition of personal- rather simplistic, but it maps well to all of my ity types and the deliberate formation of teams that experiences with innovation and high perform- makes this approach something that will impact ance teams. It also provides a context in which and improve your company’s innovation cul- to identify and segment your existing talent. ture. I t ’s a l l i n t h e w a y w e l i s t e n . ™ Jim Vaselopulos is a seasoned business executive with domain expertise in Financial Services, Marketing, Manufacturing and Service Industries. Jim works closely with many firms to help align business needs and technology for competitive advantage. His many roles include Partner at PSC Group, LLC, interim CIO at several organizations and strategic business consultant to many others. His speaking engagements include regional executive events, various podcasts, industry organizations and technology-centric educational institutions such as the University of Illinois. Jim Vaselopulos office: 847.517.7200 Jim holds an Engineering degree from the University of Illinois and an MBA mobile: 847.274.9637 from Marquette University. jimv@psclistens.com 2 www.psclistens.com © Copyright 2009, PSC Group, LLC