In order to stay competitive, get the same (or more) done with the resources you have, retain clients and attract new ones, innovation is required. True innovation is finding a NEW way of doing something. You don’t have to be an expert in CQI, Six Sigma or LEAN to know that the 300 year old candle industry hadn’t changed much until someone innovated it into a colorful, aromatic multi-billion dollar business.
If you’d prefer to play it safe, try this terrific Innovation Killer: “Who else has done this?”
A genuine breakthrough won’t have a history to prove that it works. Try using the logic of what could be based on what you know. So rather than looking at what you know to be true, encourage your people to look at what could be true.
What if we typed only using our thumbs? You’d have Blackberry.
What if we made one cup of coffee at a time? You’d have Kuerig.
What if we received a signal from a global satellite? You’d have GPS.
What if we stood during meetings? They might be shorter.
Jumping into the unknown is the path to innovation. No matter what you call it – Brainstorming, Greenlighting, or MindMapping, the goal is to nurture ideas rather than kill them. Because I work with teams who want to do this better, I can tell you that it’s tricky business and often counterintuitive and counter to the organizational culture. But if you want to turn the future into an innovative and attractive reality, allow people to create the proof leaders need to make that innovative commitment.
Figure out how much risk, learning, and even loss you can tolerate. Almost every ‘right guess’ had many ‘incorrect’ or ‘close guesses’ first. Let people try. The evidence of those attempts will be what you need to move forward.