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GoInnovate Book Excerpt

  1. 1. C O N T E N T S Preface: Welcome from the Author v Introduction vii I. The Basics of Innovation 1. Towards a Culture of Innovation 3 2. Demystifying Innovation 11 3. Systems Thinking and GoInnovate! 19 4. Primary Principles 29 II. Generators - The Heart of the GoInnovate! System 5. Generators Overview 37 6. The ValueSet 41 7. Creativity 51 8. Collaboration 57 9. Leadership 63 III. Cycle - The Course of Action in the GoInnovate! System 10. Cycle Overview 71 11. Visualizing the Ideals© 77 12. Measuring the Gaps© 85 13. Strategizing the Approaches© 91 14. Projectizing the Details© 95 15. Orchestrating the Results© 101 •iii•
  2. 2. III. Context - The Environment of the GoInnovate! System 16. Context Overview 109 17. People 113 18. Structure 123 19. Process 129 20. Technology 135 Epilogue: Making Innovation A Way of Life 139 Resources 141 Glossary 145 Endnotes 149 About the Author 153 GoInnovate! •iv•
  3. 3. Welcome! Every significant breakthrough in the history of man has been the result of innovation. Nothing proceeds without it. From counting on our fingers to the abacus to the calculator and the computer, all movement forward has been the result of innovation. From the first cavemen to space explorers, our survival and progress as human beings has depended on it. And today, more than ever, business and government leaders at all levels are facing a serious dilemma—the challenge of doing more with the same or fewer resources, and there's no relief in sight! The best solution is to increase productivity through innovation. I have studied many successful innovators-individuals, teams and organizations—to discover what they do that allows them to move ahead while other would—be innovators flounder. The GoInnovate! System is the culmination of my twenty-five years working with these groups to expand their capability to innovate swiftly, continually and effectively. As you learn and apply the GoInnovate! System, you too will increase your performance, influence and success at work and throughout life. Most of the books written on innovation discuss theory and concepts at length, shortchanging the practical, “how-to” questions. GoInnovate! provides you with the principles, practices and tools to successfully innovate over and over again. This book is for executives who support innovation efforts, front line managers and leaders who pilot innovation teams as well as anyone else in the organization with a commitment to innovation. Your unique background and experience will serve as a valuable resource in your learning. Tap into that experience and the GoInnovate! System will take on greater personal meaning and value. In the process, you will likely transform the way you view the world, your organization, the people around you and most importantly, your own capacity to innovate. I welcome you to the wonders of innovation. Andrew Papageorge Author of the GoInnovate! System P R E F A C E •v•
  4. 4. Adhesives, baseballs, chocolate bars, dynamite, elastic, fishing rods, graham crackers, helicopters, Internet, Jell-O®, Kitty Litter®, lunch boxes, motion pictures, neckties, onion rings, the printing press, Q-Tips®, roller coasters, sunglasses, traffic lights, umbrellas, watches, x-rays, yogurt, and zippers. What do all of these items have in common? These innovations came into being because someone had a creative idea. However, innovation is not the same as creativity. As important as ideas are, they are just one aspect of true innovation. Even though innovation is understood by many to be the key to improving processes, eliminating waste, improving productivity and increas- ing employee satisfaction, few organizations have a system for achieving consistent results through innovation. While there are systems for all the other important functions—financial, marketing, manufacturing, customer service—there is none for innovation. Yet it holds the key to improving all the activities in the organization. People fuel innovation. But merely sending a dictate telling employ- ees to be more creative and innovative doesn’t work. They need a system to help them do it—swiftly and effectively. The GoInnovate! System provides people with tools to guide them step-by-step through the innovation process. It will guide people in “how to think” differently about themselves, their teams and the organization. GoInnovate! will help them to think outside the normal boundaries and draw upon their own and each other’s creativity. Innovation is often misunderstood, but it can be understood. The approach detailed in these pages demystifies innovation by breaking it down into understandable, logical components and then showing how it works as a system. The GoInnovate! System stimulates people not only to accept change I N T R O D U C T I O N •vii•
  5. 5. but to be a part of it, thus opening the door for innovation to take place throughout the organization. People want to be productive. They thrive in a system that proactively supports them doing just that. The GoInnovate! System works in any organization. It does not replace management philosophy, policy or procedures currently in place. It will compliment your current structure and mode of operation and enhance the value you receive from current initiatives and processes. You and your people have spent too much time and money learning those processes. The power of GoInnovate! is that it utilizes everything your organi- zation already knows and does well and enhances it, helping to direct and focus those skills on innovation and doing it swiftly, continually and effectively. GoInnovate! will strengthen your existing systems while at the same time expose weak areas and give you tools for improvement. The effect of GoInnovate! when used completely and continually, is that the functionality of your organization will be vastly improved and people will be re-energized about their work and their interactions with colleagues. Yet, GoInnovate! is much more than a system for innovation. It is a “framework for thinking” and making decisions of every magnitude—small or large in your organization. Its benefits extend beyond the innovation effort to positively impact people’s work on today’s business, serving today’s customers. The result: substantial performance improvements and the abili- ty to accomplish more with the resources you have. We appreciate those who have chosen to work with us by bringing the GoInnovate! System into their businesses. GoInnovate! Global clients include: Intel, United States Air Force, Groupo Kimex, Estée Lauder, University of Texas, United States Postal Service, Singapore Police Force, SaskTel, SBC, City of London, Nordstrom, Hewlett Packard, Chevron, and numerous other organizations interested in increasing their capability to innovate—to generate wealth—in today’s economy. I am also deeply grateful to all my colleagues, employees and friends who have provided direction and encouragement along the way. A special thanks goes out to Lee Berglund who was my partner early on, Rudy Platzer for spurring me on to write the book and reviewing it in detail, Pat Kaufman for her expert guidance, Steven Haines for his help in exposing GoInnovate! to a wider audience, and Erin Thomas for being my editor and bringing it all together in the end. My wife, Mary Ann, has provided me unconditional sup- port and practical advice from the beginning of GoInnovate! in 1980. I ded- icate the book to my son, Alexander, who is my inspiration. Now, the future is before you…GoInnovate! GoInnovate! •viii•
  6. 6. F O U R Primary Principles Principles are the foundation of the GoInnovate! System and remain true regardless of changing conditions. Understanding the value of innovation and the need to create a self-innovating organization is just the beginning. Learning how to use a system of innovation will create that kind of organization. Three guiding principles underlie the GoInnovate! System of rapid and continual innova- tion and give it its foundation. Principles Principles are universal laws that govern our lives. Like gravity, principles are true regardless of the cir- cumstances or conditions. We do not learn principles; rather we unlearn beliefs that are inconsistent with them. •29•
  7. 7. GoInnovate! Organizations are extremely complex systems. Rigid rules will not address the intricacy present during the innovation process. When the variables are few, control is possible and rules can apply. But when the variables are many and uncertainty is widespread, principles can direct deci- sions and guide behaviors. Learning and applying the GoInnovate! Principles will allow you to work successfully within the high levels of intricacy and uncertainty that are inherent in almost any innovation. The GoInnovate! Principles underlie and transcend the practices and tools contained in the three Components of the System - Generators, Cycle and Context, which will be discussed in subsequent chapters. Each of the Principles has major implications for how we go about innovating and are invaluable guides for bringing about swift and continual innovation. Primary Principle #1: Everything Is Connected To Everything All parts of the universe are linked together and interchange their influences. As David Bohm, a physicist and contemporary of Einstein, once stated, “We are all one…. Everything is connected to everything else. We are not sure how this connectedness works, but there is a certainty that there is 'separation without separateness.’” Quantum physicists like Bohm see all matter as being connected and in motion. There is an "implicate order" that we can neither see nor sense in any way. We as humans are part of this “wholeness” that is continually unfold- ing. Thus everything in the universe affects everything else, because all are parts of the same unbroken whole. Australian physicist Paul Davies, Ph.D., explains it this way, “To the naive realist the universe is a collection of objects. To the quantum physicist it is an inseparable web of vibrating energy patterns in which no one component has reality independent of the entirety; and included in that entirety is the observer.” All of our conditioning causes us to see the world as fragmented, as made up of separate “things.” We tend to break everything into bits, like departments, nations and professions and then we continually try to connect these “things” back together again. Rather than “thing-ness,” we need to learn to see the world in terms of related parts of a whole. You might doubt that everything in the universe is connected, but in a more pragmatic sense, we think you will agree that everything in an organi- zation is connected. By looking at the organization as a system in which everything is interrelated, we see how all the processes, people, structures, communications, and changes affect one another. In order for the GoInnovate! System of innovation to be successful, we must maintain an overview of all these related parts throughout the main portion of the GoInnovate! System called the Cycle. •30•
  8. 8. Primary Principles In recent GoInnovate! Academies we asked participants to identify how things might be different in their organizations if everyone believed and lived this First Principle that Everything is Connected. Some of their responses: • Communication would improve. • Ownership of problems would be expanded. • People would be more helpful, kind and considerate. • Individuals would have greater interest in their work and in the work of others. • Costly mistakes would be avoided more often. As important as interconnectedness is, we see many examples in business where this truth is ignored: marketing departments that oversell production capability, research and development departments working without first consulting with marketing, and planning departments that don't walk in lock step with finance and other departments. And the list goes on. These actions result in products that are too expensive to produce, or worse, don't even meet customer demand. With every innovation we con- sider, we should ask, "What affect will this change have on other parts of the organization?" This should be the first acid test for every innovation, large or small and in every walk of life. An automated order processing system creates a backlog in the shipping department. A new product's design is difficult to package and ship. A new market is developed which requires different distribution strategies. Such considerations must be recognized and acted upon from the outset to avoid unnecessary confusion, waste and stress. Primary Principle #2: Thought is Generative The greatest discovery of all time…thought creates! Thought is causal. Thought is the originator of everything that is brought into existence, the starting point of every new innovation. This is a profound fact and a demon- strable one. Thinking causes things to happen. Action, the movement of energy, flows from thoughts. Conditions are the effect of thinking. Thus new thoughts create new conditions. With every innovation, we must ask, "How will this change affect other parts of the organization?" •31•
  9. 9. GoInnovate! As Paramahansa Yogananda said, "Mind is the architect of the microcosm and the macrocosm. As water by cooling and condensating becomes ice, so thought by condensation assumes physical form. Everything in the universe is thought in material form." Our patterns of thought can hold us captive. Thought creates the world around us and then says, "I didn't do it." Physicist David Bohm talked about a "generative order" in which, depending on our state of conscious- ness, we "participate in how reality unfolds." Thought has developed in such a way that it claims not to affect anything but rather relates to us what is real, what is true. But this is not true. Ideas and our thoughts create our conditions. Consequently, organizations are in large part shaped by the way people think and interact. To make organizations more innovative, we must change how people think and interact. Understanding that "Thought is Generative" is vital to innovating swift- ly, effectively and continually. The primary obstacles to innovation lie in our most basic ways of thinking. If these do not change, any "new input" will end up producing fundamentally the same results. So we must examine our thinking and thought processes from a personal, team and organizational perspective. What is our approach to solving problems, what are our basic beliefs about ourselves, our work, our competitors, our ability to effect change? Realizing that thought is generative can free our thoughts and consequently our actions. Do you want to earn more money? Of course! But money is only a medium of exchange for ideas, goods and services. We provide ideas, goods and services for money. If we want more money, then does it not make sense to look for the source from which all ideas, goods and services originate? Imagination, ideas, our thoughts are the sources of all innovation, goods and services. So if we want more money, we must improve the quantity, quality and organization of our thinking. The major problem with most of us is that we most often think about WHAT we think, rarely HOW we think. The problem is behind us, not in front of us. Many of our old thoughts and perceptions continue to affect our actions even though we are no longer consciously aware of them. By changing our thoughts, we release ourselves from the past. We asked our GoInnovate! Academy participants to identify how things To make our organization more innovative, we must change how people think and interact. •32•
  10. 10. Primary Principles would be different in their organizations if everyone believed and lived this Second Principle that Thought Is Generative. Some of their responses: • There would be less redoing, more thinking up front. • There would be physical spaces that enhanced thinking. • People would spend more time on 'how' they are thinking not only 'what' they are thinking. • We would do more listening and less judging of others. Primary Principle #3: Everyone is Creative and Innovative Many of us find it difficult to embrace the principle that says, “Everyone is Creative and Innovative.” Society seems determined to “train the creativity out of us”. We are taught in the rigid and unimaginative learning environments found in most schools as well as being subjected to the criticism and judgment of our parents, teachers and peers (often unintentional). Is it any wonder that by the time we reach adulthood, most of us believe and manifest the belief that we are not creative and innova- tive? But the truth is that everyone is creative. When initiating or participating in an innovative process, we must recognize everyone's innate creative ability. Anyone can come up with a good idea, a great idea, or an idea that is valuable to the end result we are seeking. We have students in our GoInnovate! Academies who are fervently convinced that they are not creative. We watch them participate in some of our exercises and prove themselves wrong. As they absorb and practice the material, their innate creativity begins to flow. It is always an interesting and gratifying phenomenon to experience. It was once thought that creativity and innovation existed only in the research and development or technology departments, or “at the top” of the organization. In fact, it has always been associated with the people who know the most on a subject. In truth, creativity and innovation is not limited to a chosen few. It is not based on one’s intelligence, and it can be learned and cultivated through our own efforts and the proper environment in the workplace. Recently, a group of psychologists determined that out of people over 45 years of age less than 5% are creative. At ages 40, 35, 30, 25 and 20, the Throughout the innovative Cycle, we must recognize everyone's innate creative ability. •33•
  11. 11. GoInnovate! •34• percentage was the same—5%. At age 17, the number jumped to 10%. At age 5, however, it was 90%. This shows that we all have creative potential within us, it has just been suppressed, or “trained out of us”. We are all creative. In recent GoInnovate! Academies we asked participants to identify how things would be different in their organizations if everyone believed and lived this Third Principle that Everyone is Creative and Innovative. Some of their responses: • People would share their thoughts more openly. • People's ideas would be "explored" rather than shot down. • The whole environment would be more inclusive. • More ideas would be sought from "outsiders". • Radical thinkers would be welcomed. Synopsis • The three Primary Principles of GoInnovate! provide the foundation for the GoInnovate! System and are woven throughout the process. • Principle #1: Everything is Connected to Everything • Principle #2: Thought is Generative • Principle #3: Everyone is Creative and Innovative "If you hear a voice within saying, 'you are not an innovator,' then by all means, boy, innovate and that voice will be silenced." ~ Vincent Van Gogh