And in case you're wondering, your boss likely thinks that &quot;Creativity&quot; is an important quality to promote.
First, rarely do innovative ideas just pop out of nowhere. Most exceptional ideas begin life as a mere hunch...a half-baked thought that rattles around in our brain. Some of these keep us awake at night, NOTE: You can consider taking out this and the next 3 slides and replacing it with one that actually plays the YouTube video referenced. It’s very good and works well with audiences. If you need help embedding the video, let me know (Louis Richardson)
while others plant themselves in our mind and then might even go dormant for some period.
But what often happens is that your hunch is introduced to a hunch lurking about in someone else's head and
that collision results in the breakthrough thought...something bigger than just the sum of their parts.
So if these hunches are out there...who do they belong to?
Now I will warn you not to rush to find your organization chart. Many companies have Research and Development departments which are the source of good ideas, but most executives realize that often, good ideas come from the people working on the plant floor, the new kid stocking the shelves, people on the fringe of the mainstream...as well as customers and those looking at you from the outside.
As for your &quot;creative&quot; employees, do you think your personnel department is tracking them? Actually, we'll talk more about that in a minute.
But assuming the hunches are out there, how do you get these people to bring them out into the open? Picture in your head one of those people you know who has a history of inciteful and creative ideas.
I'm going to guess that it's unlikely they are the kind of person that's going to fill out a structured survey form.
Neither are they likely to respond to email distribution requests for their input. If these are the idea people, their email in-box is probably already overflowing with requests for help. So if you can't prescribe it, what do you do?
You want these hunches to be out there and available to bounce off of others. You're looking for knowledge accidents. Now you can use focus groups and other means to try to orchestrate innovative moments, but on a day-by-day basis you really need to just create an environment that is designed to spark these collisions.
The way you do that is...you open up the conversation...you do that in the context of the work that is already being done...and then you observe.
What do I mean by open up the conversation?
Think about how you and others in your company communicate with one another. If you are like most you use email, phone, text and face-to-face. Each of these are good communication methods, but they are often point-to-point.
You have a question...you think you know someone with the answer...you send them an email with your inquiry...and they respond back with the answer...but if that's where it ends, only you and the person you asked gain any benefit from that exchange. And email blasts with large distribution list or conference calls are usually to targeted audiences.
Johnson points out in his book that coffee houses in the age of enlightenment created a space where ideas could mingle and form and swap with one another and create new forms. The story is told that the beginning of our modern day GPS systems occured back in 1957, in a cafeteria at the cafeteria at the applied physics lab at John Hopkins. The first satelitte, Sputnik, was launched on a Friday and by Saturday it was the topic of everyone's conversation. The Soviets had designed Sputnik to emit a signal so everyone would know that it wasn't a hoax. So a couple of guys over lunch wondered &quot;has anyone tried to listen?&quot; So they did...and they noticed that from their listening positions they received variations in frequency based on whether it was approaching or overhead. And in 3 weeks they figured out the exact orbit. Someone overheard their conversation about their findings and asked, &quot;So, you figured out an unknown location of a satellite orbiting the planet from a known location on the ground. Could you go the other way?&quot; And they did. It turned out this person was trying to work out how to track missles for the military. Now it's advanced to where you have a pocket sized device that can easily find the nearest coffee house.
Social solutions are great tools for sharing ideas and hunches. They are very popular and extremely easy to use. However, let's remember...we need to open the conversation, but we must do it
in the context of our everyday. It has to fit in with YOUR business.
One problem we have is that the emergence of a social awareness has resulted in a wide range of social tools...from a wide range of vendors. The majority of which are targeted at the consumer market space. There are some that do wikis, others that do only chat, still others that help in sharing media.
While many of these are great individual tools, they might serve as a distraction if all tossed into your work environment. When I first meet many execs, their concept of social is built on these consumer tools and they see them as something very different from their work tools. And many would be. Work a while...Be social a while...work a while...be social. Not a formula for success.
And some of our business application vendors are seeing that social needs to be integrated into their apps, so many are actually attempting to embed social features around their individual apps.
The results of these efforts are just silos of social. Social has become the new &quot;e&quot; word. We used to have e-commerce, e-CRM...now we have social commerce and social CRM. It's not going to work...and what concerns me is that we've actually been down this route before.
When electronic content first came on the scene we were excited about the possible implications it would have on our business. I'm old enough to remember the early days of word processing. For people whose business was creating and capturing text, this worked. But for the mainstream business user, storing and managing content was an extra step outside their work process...so it didn't really have an impact.
Likewise, if we don't integrate social into the context of our everyday business, it's not going to result in the benefit we all expect.
We've opened the conversation, we've done that in the context of our everyday work, now it's time to listen and learn.
You need insight. You need the ability to look into your constituents conversation, to see what your competition is saying...to rapidly get feedback to enable you to respond quickly.
And while were on the subject of business intelligence...think back to our valued employees who have a wealth of hunches...the ones that you aren't even aware of.
We've always respected (and often protected) valued sales personnel because of the power of their Rolodex. A senior sales person was known and valued for the trusted relationships they had built. In a time where you might be deciding between one rep and another, the value of the Rolodex often came into play. I mean, how could you afford to lose all those contacts...because we know that if the rep went to a competitor, it's likely his trusted customers might go as well.
Now sales reps aren't the only one building trusted relationships. Consider the customer support rep who spends hours a day, often in the trenches...working through issues with customers. Many have developed deep relationships. Now consider that this support rep might be reaching out beyond their normal phone conversations and has established themselves as a source of information, both inside and outside their organization through blog postings and informational tweets. How do you know to protect and leverage this person, if you don't know who they are and what social value they have? You need to be able to listen and learn.
So the challenge for your company:
Open the conversation...social tools allow you to do that, but you have to do it in the context of your everyday work...IBM's social solutions are designed to be integrated into your business applications...and lastly, be prepared to listen and learn....otherwise you won't fully benefit from the power of your social network.
If you think this is something you'd like to pursue or know more about, please reach out to us. IBM has a long standing culture of open conversation, integrated into business and a rich heritage of listening and learning. And we are anxious to help you.
After all...anything less would just be...well anti-social.
Where Ideas Come From?
where ideas come fromleveraging your corporate knowledge
thank you it’s been my pleasure Louis Richardson Social Business Evangelist IBM RichardL@us.ibm.com www.twitter.com/inter_vivos www.linkedin.com/in/louisrichardsonI invite you to visit www.thecollaborationsoapbox.comYou can read any of the materials there, but I wouldsuggest you request to join the community so you cancontribute and comment.