Idea Generation

    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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    The Year is Half Over, Where is Your Innovation?

    The Year is Half Over, Where is Your Innovation? Underway? Running like a Swiss Watch? Missing in Action? Innovation Peeps: The year is nearly half over. Okay, in a month it will be officially half over. I’m doing this with seven months left this year so that you might get a running start on an innovation initiative — an “FEI Cycle” that you can complete by year end. FEI stands for Front-End-of-Innovation. This is the perfect time to take a half-year checkpoint on your innovation efforts because there is still time to get some significant work done in 2014. On July 1, you’ll have six months left to get something done, or, complete something already underway. Consider the next thirty days your

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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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    The Innovation Metronome

    There is no achievement without hard work. There is no breakthrough innovation without hard work. Innovation happens when you practice with discipline, with rhythm. We sometimes get lucky with things and shortcuts present themselves. Even then, one has to be ready to recognise luck when it’s sitting in front of you — on its hind legs begging for a ham bone. Even recognising a breakthrough innovation opportunity takes the hard work of understanding the market, the context. Call that deep research. Usually innovation is a bit like the guitar lesson I had yesterday. I take a weekly lesson from a kind church lady. Donna is a great teacher, she swings, in the musical sense. I emphasize the kind aspect of

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    Leaders Hate the Concept of Creativity

    SNARK ALERT I’m not trying to be snarky. I am snarky. I’ve always been snarky.  I like being snarky, it’s fun. Here’s the problem: Being snarky is a bit like being the boy that cried wolf. When you’re being a smart ass just for practice you often stretch the truth. Okay, I often throw the truth out the window to be funny or to shock — but not in this blogg! As a creativity and innovation writer I suppress my inner Snark in order to be taken seriously. But now I think I’m doing you a disservice. The value of SNARK is it can be a wakeup call. As an innovation thought leader, I’m here to help. You can improve, you can

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    Ten Ideas for Using Innovation Film Clips

    I’ve written an article on Innovation in movies – Inspiring Innovation Films: a Top Ten List.  It’s been published on the Innovation Excellence portal — I’d be most grateful if you’d read it and comment over there. Today’s post is a value add to that article with some ideas on how to use creativity and innovation clips in projects and meetings. If you’re an innovation educator, manager, or team leader you may want to consider using clips as training and/or stimulus tools. I’m a big one for keeping things entertaining no matter what you’re doing. Movie clips are a great way to do that. Here are Ten Ideas on how to integrate film clips into an innovation project: Send out a

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    Indigan Storytellers Debut

    I had the pleasure of participating in the debut performance evening of the Indigan Storytellers group last Friday night. As Rocky Balboa once said “you shoulda been there.” It was an intimate evening of exquisitely told stories coupled with fine hand-crafted whiskey. The location was Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, Michigan. The room was packed and a good time was had by all. I report on the event here for two reasons. First, because Storytelling as an art form is creativity of the highest order. Innovators of all kinds have much to learn about the craft as a method to elaborate new inventions, messages, and brands. Learning how to write and then perform a 10 minute story is an exercise

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