Creative Problem Solving (CPS)

    Changing Innovation Culture by Doing — Three Reasons It Doesn’t Happen

    basadur_large_2Innovation culture doesn’t change with assessment or analysis.

    You can learn a great deal about who you are and what your culture is like with the various assessment tools, but knowing isn’t changing. I’m a huge fan of KEYS, FourSight, and other assessment tools but they are not the answer.

    Training can help, but training alone will not do the job either.

    What changes innovation culture then?

    Doing. You change culture by Doing. 

    When employees are empowered to solve problems and those solutions are put into play, it’s motivating. It changes hearts and minds. And it changes them faster than anything else. Min Basadur says it’s the only way a culture will change. I agree with Min. Min’s been around the innovation space. Starting at P&G he’s done some amazing work both commercially and as a researcher of innovation process. I caught up with Min a few weeks ago at the CPSI conference and asked him about changing culture by doing, see his pithy remarks in a video clip here.

    So, why aren’t more innovation culture change initiatives based on doing real world problem solving projects? Here are three reasons it’s doesn’t happen:

    1. Leadership wants a culture change, but doesn’t actually want to change behaviour. It’s a bit like Rob Ford the Toronto Mayor. He’ll go to rehab but when he comes out no change has occurred.  You have to want to change for change to occur. Leadership needs to empower innovation managers to do more. Too much controlling leadership is almost worse than a laissez-faire attitude. Leaders need to ask that particular problems be solved, and then, get the hell out of the way. Then they need to embrace results be they positive or not.
    2. Not enough problem finding. It’s counter-intuitive but really, if you’re not looking for problems you’re missing the biggest opportunities for innovation. Why is this not done? Lack of courage. This is often the reason cultures don’t change. I’m speaking of the fear of facing the very toughest, thorniest challenges. We are all great avoiders of those things that frankly require a lot of very hard work. Creative problem solving is not about water guns and balloons. At the heart of it, it’s about finding – actively seeking — very fearsome challenges and taking the time to research, analyze, and properly frame just what the problem is. Challenge mapping can be arduous work, and, it has a gigantic payoff once you pay that price. This is the work that is rarely done well. People are so anxious to get into idea generation they short shrift the pre-work necessary to make it truly effective.
    3. Procrastination in the form of culture assessment. Look, I’m all for innovation culture assessment, I do it! It can be a valuable step in learning what exactly needs to change in an innovation culture. However, a company that spends six months to a year assessing culture is avoiding change. This is innovation procrastination. Do the assessments, AND, get started on a project at the same time.

    KILN USA is firmly in the camp of changing culture by doing, that’s why we invented a hands-on tool called IdeaKeg, and a project “do” cycle called FuseTrail. But don’t listen to us, listen to the wise words of an old master, the most successful innovation advisor I know — Min Basadur — and start changing your innovation culture by doing. Per Min — find a thorny problem, research it, challenge map it, jam some ideas, and get into action.

     

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    Big Imagination is Blind Spot Remover

    Coming back from a trip to Toronto (visiting with the amazing Min Basadur) I spotted an interesting billboard at O’Hare airport. IBM suggests they can help “Remove the Blind Spots from Your Business” — by using Big Data and analytics. The visual of a man at a kind of virtual desktop that has visibility to ships, trucks, retail, and factories indicates that if you can just know more about what’s going on out there you’ll have nothing to worry about. If only that were so. I’m not bad rapping IBM here, I’m sure they can indeed provide lots of interesting insight using Big Data and analytics. Many companies would be well served to do a better job with this. Using

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    Six Ideas for Creative Action

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    Harvard’s Kodak Moment?

    Have you ever been in the position where you thought, “gee, if only I was better educated, or just smarter, this complex decision in front of me would be easy.” In the innovation world the agonizing decision of whether to embrace a new trend and leave behind your old business model is always brutally dificult. Organizations have been torn to shreds in the conflict about what to do. Some have made those big choices and survived, like IBM, or, made bad choices and bit the dust, like Kodak. Part of the psychology of leadership is the doubt, the fear, that you’re not quite smart enough to make a good decision. One of the reasons people flock to Harvard to get

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    Have You Made the Creative Choice?

    Have you made the Creative Choice? There is a ton of written material about creativity and innovation. I make an effort to keep up with the waves of literature — there’s a new methodology, a new process, fresh brain research, best practices, anti-best practices, etc. Some of this literature is quite good. There is also stuff about how creativity relates to mysticism and spirituality, also quite interesting. Finally there is also a good deal of useless, boring drivel that only reinforces unhelpful mythology about creativity. If you intend to be more creative and to use that capacity to innovate, I would encourage you to read widely and make your own judgments, but don’t get lost in all the words, don’t

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    CPS is Innovation Basic Training

    Six Reasons Why CPS Training Is Innovation Training It’s ironic that the so-called soft skills often have the biggest payoff in business results. I’m always straddling the fence between creativity and innovation. I do this because innovation is why people pay me. Yet creativity is where it all starts. Creative training only feels like a soft skill. In reality it has the potential to create more value than any other type of training. But not any kind of creative training. What I’m talking about is structured Creative Problem Solving. Basic training in these crucial thinking skills might be the highest leverage training activity an organization can undertake. The plural on skills is intentional because there are several types of creative thinking, from

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    Improv and Innovation Do Mix

    Improv and Innovation do mix — and it’s not funny. You don’t have to be funny for Improv training to be useful in innovation. There are two things holding back more business people from pushing the Improv training button: 1.) They believe that Improv is difficult and that you need to have a funny bone, and, 2.) They believe that while Improv might be a good soft skill there is no direct and near term benefit to innovation (or other corporate goals). Classic improvisation games can help solve serious business problems and you don’t have to be particularly clever or funny. The benefits of using Improv — if done properly — are immediate. If you want the specifics of how,

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    Training is an Innovation Accelerant

    Creativity and innovation training is a highly effective accelerant for business results. When I step into a room to facilitate an innovation, strategy, or idea generation session I nearly always find a great deal of energy. What I also often find is inexperience — in the kind of thinking necessary to innovate. Successful managers and leaders are promoted up the ladder because of their great analytical thinking skills. Day to day, operationally, that’s what’s called for and that’s what’s rewarded. The bad news is the more imaginative and divergent thinking required at the front end of innovation is rarely used and almost never rewarded. That’s why those sessions often start with a great deal of pizazz but fade into lethargy

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    Eleven Weird Ways to Create Innovation Culture

    Eleven Weird Ways to Create Innovation Culture Lately I’ve been seeing the glass half empty when it comes to innovation topics. I want everyone to know that, wow, can I ever be positive. In fact, highly creative and insightful, when it comes to inspiring innovation. Are you an empowered leader who wants to make something innovative happen? Try these Eleven Weird Ways — they work to improve the innovation culture. Surprise and delight the team. There’s nothing like a good surprise to inject new energy into a group. It can be really simple stuff. I once gave everyone on the staff a pair of Ray Bans. Smiles everywhere the rest of the day, and they wore those shades for years. Have

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    Employee Abuse is Poison to Innovation

    Abuse Poisons Innovation Efforts — and Innovation Experts Take Fairness as a Given The Five Forms of Employee Abuse (see below) One of the nice things about working for yourself is you don’t have to put up with abuse. Yes, sometimes I’m out there scrambling, sometimes clients are very demanding — but that’s a small price to pay for living or dying on the strength of my own ideas and work. I was reminded yesterday that the vast majority of people work for a company. A good friend suffered a demeaning and unfair incident at work — and it was devastating. I recalled the many times in my early career when similar things happened to me. It occurred to me

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