Fundamental to Leading Sustainable Innovation: If you want to lead sustainable innovation, this idea that innovation is not about big ideas and instead about persistently pursuing small changes is fundamental. This is huge because it looks at creativity through a new organizational wide lens, instead of an individual focus. This means leaders have significant influence into how much innovation takes place within an organization or community. Innovation is about persistence Organizational Focus not Individual Focus Leaders can influence
How do we Lead Innovation: Under this definition there is no such thing as too much innovation and therefore, every organization no matter how innovative they currently are, can improve. So as leaders how do we “Lead Innovation”
Internal Focus: To set the tone for this presentation, I want to be clear that the focus is on internal innovation. A lot of the concepts apply to external innovation but because of limited time, I chose to focus on internal. I feel that we talk a lot about external and internal innovation is often overlooked.
Internal Components: This is what you have control over and typically where innovation will be focused. Employee Moral: Government is a service organization and therefore, people are extremely important. Being creative around how you reward and incentivize your staff is important. Financials: Innovation around finances usually equals some type of fraud. So we are not talking about finances that way but instead using innovation as a tool to decrease finances. Also, it is important to note that financial constraints are a great way to induce innovation. Technology: Technology and innovation often run hand-and-hand. Therefore, understanding what role technology plays in your innovation program is crucial for long term success. Business Processes: Going back to the opening quote. Modifying, adding or removing steps in a business process are typically how we approach sustainable and persistence innovation. Policies and Procedures: Policies and procedures can often inhibit and promote innovation. Looking at your policies and procedures is key to creating a culture of innovation. Operational Improvements: Typically this refers to purchasing new tools where business processes focus on existing resources.
Ideas are Connected: Ideas are Fluid and Must Connect to Other Ideas to Develop. More innovation happens in the break room, meeting rooms and the water color than in solitude.
Independent Work: Must be able to connect but also be developed in solitude.
Adjacent Possible Defined: Ideas are incremental. Room example
Explore the Adjacent Possible: Constantly explore new possibilities just beyond the current possibilities. Sustainable Low risk
Break Innovation Into Small Chunks
Start Slow and Let Innovation Snowball
Multiple Discovery Defined: The concept of multiple discovery is the hypothesis that most scientific discoveries and inventions are made independently and more or less simultaneously by multiple scientists and inventors. Logarithms – John Napier (Scotland, 1614) and Joost Bürgi (Switzerland, 1618). Oxygen – Carl Wilhelm Scheele (Uppsala, 1773), Joseph Priestley (Wiltshire, 1774). The term was coined by Antoine Lavoisier (1777). Electrical telegraph – Charles Wheatstone (England), 1837, Samuel F.B. Morse (United States), 1837. Discovery of radioactivity (1896) independently by Henri Becquerel and Silvanus Thompson. E = mc2, though only Einstein provided the accepted interpretation – Henri Poincaré, 1900; Olinto De Pretto, 1903; Albert Einstein, 1905; Paul Langevin, 1906. The jet engine, independently invented by them, was used in working aircraft by Hans von Ohain (1939), Secondo Campini (1940) and Frank Whittle (1941). Polio vaccine (1950–63): Hilary Koprowski, Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin. Endorphins were discovered independently in Scotland and the US in 1975.
Different Types of Innovation: Individual Initiative – Individuals submit ideas or have the freedom to spend time focusing on innovation through individual effort. Process Improvement (Introspective and Collective) – Improvement to business process and removing unnecessary processes. Continuous Innovation (Government Needs to Focus on Strengths) – Builds on current strengths by identifying new programs, products and/or services that expand overall value provided. Disruptive Innovation (High-Risk) – The creation of new programs, products or services that did not exist before that aim to disrupt current business practices.
Government Focus: We want to focus on the middle two.
We want to focus on the middle two: This is where sustainable innovation happens. Disruptive innovation is expensive and high-risk. Individual initiative is not sustainable because if the individual leaves, so does the creativity.
*End of Philosophy Section*
Create and Innovation Pact: Persistence, Advocacy, Culture and Technology (Not in Order).
No Specific Order
Overview: Creating a culture of innovation is the biggest component to sustainable innovation and can be broken down into four components.
Reading: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. By Simon Sinek
Trust: Trust it the most important aspect of a solid innovation strategy. People have to feel like they are able to do what they feel is right. Micro-management does not have a place in innovation.
Fail Faster: Failure should be an option for employees. If we learn to recognize that it is a part of the process we can learn and grow from it, instead of try to cover it up and letting it grow. The goal is to fail faster and recover and learn.
Reading: A More Beautiful Question. By Warren Berger
Challenges the Status Quo: By encouraging people to ask why we are constantly exploring new possibilities. Asking good, persistent “Why?” questions uncovers root causes below your everyday radar. It will also reveal automatic pilot, busywork and unproductive comfort zones. It may reveal your possibility robbers, or give you the aha! moment which fuels another idea.
Creates Dialog: Asking good, persistent “Why?” questions creates higher quality dialog in the workplace because it’s much more inclusive.
Constantly challenge people to answer and ask Why? Acknowledge it when people do.
Performance Based Job Descriptions – Ask What People Like and what they are good at.
How to improve weaknesses Find a way to interconnect passion with weaknesses.
Importance of Training: The mort people know, the more innovative they can be. Providing cross training or training in to new areas provides a new perspective. During this process you must have established trust and communication so that trainees can give feedback.
*End of Culture (C)*
Empower Employees to Innovate: By removing roadblocks it sets up employees with the components to implement an innovation program.
Get Out of the Way: Leadership should then get out of the way. You have put in the right components to promote innovation so now you have to let it happen. Do not try to force it or control it, let it just happen. Let innovation become ingrained in your organizational culture.
*End of Persistent (P)*
Types of Managers Support Technology for the Sake of Technology Does not Support Technology Is Educated on Technology and supports it for the RIGHT reasons
Understand Technology: Effective Organizational Leaders make an effort to understand technology and keep up with the latest trends.
Seat at the Leadership Table: The executive team must be bought in on the innovation strategy because there will be times where it is easy to except the status quo instead of continue down the innovation path.
*End of Technology (T)*
Advocacy Overview: Your innovation advocate or innovation team will be the face of your innovation strategy. They will be in charge of implementing your innovation program and tracking the process.
Individual: This can be an individual such as a Chief Innovation Officer or even a part-time role for an existing employee that wants to take on the challenge.
Team: I prefer a team because it creates some backup and allows for a more balanced approach.
Responsibilities: Review submitted ideas Stay up to date on innovation topics Gather Success Stories Recommend Training Remove Roadblocks Develop a Strategy Manage the Innovation Program Review Polices and Procedures Innovation Program: The Innovation Program is a more formal and focused component of your innovation strategy. This gives leadership some opportunity to focus innovation.
Identify Organizational Pain-Points: The biggest mistake that many organizations make when implementing an innovation program is that they do not focus their strategy. Just like any other initiative, it needs to be focused. This starts with Identifying Organizational Pain-Points. Ask for Pain-Points Identify Top Problems Create Challenge Question Gather Responses
Enable Innovators: It is not the innovations teams responsibility to implement innovation. It is their job to enable it. After you have identified possible solutions you would enable the correct people to implement it.
Ideation System: Idea gathering and selection process
Strategy Overview: Your innovation strategy will formalize many of the components we have discussed so far. Your innovation strategy should include: Innovation Goals Organizational Pain-Points Innovation Advocate Responsibilities Innovation Program Training Requirements Recognition System
*End of Advocacy (A)*
Tie back to Charles Babbage: Charles Babbage had a big idea but big ideas are not where innovation happens. Innovation takes place at the PACT.
Policies and Procedures
Sense of Community
Quality of Life
Trust in Government
• Employee Moral
• Business Processes
• Policies and Procedures
• Operational Improvements
• Ideas Are Connected
• Adjacent Possible
• Types of Innovation
• Creating a Culture of Innovation
• Importance of Trust
• “Why” Mindset
• Focus on Strengths
• Provide Training
• Innovation Advocacy
• Innovation Program
• Creative Time
• Individual Effort
• Subject Matter
• Business Process
• Focus on Existing
• Builds on Current
• New Products or
• New Business
• Disrupt Existing
• Business Process Improvement
• Focus on Existing Processes
• Builds on Current Strengths
• New Products or Services
To have a sustainable innovation strategy organizations should
focus on process improvement and continuous innovation.
Don’t Rush Innovation
Understand the Role of Technology
Identify Innovation Advocates
Create a Culture of Innovation