Leadership

    Five Ways Incivility Decapitates Innovation

    A Culture of Incivility Harms USA Innovation

    decapitatinginnovationv1Five Ways Incivility “Decapitates” Innovation

    The recent flap around Kathy Griffin’s posting a picture of a fake severed head, of our President, was a sad attempt at humor, but incredibly successful at provocation.

    It has brought up the discussion, once again, of the civility of our discourse in America. I think Tiffany Quay Tyson does a nice job of summing up how many people are reacting to the Griffin incident, and the subsequent howls of reaction.

    No matter your political persuasion, civil discourse, and it’s close cousins, politeness, gentility, tolerance, compassion, and good manners have slipped far from where we once were.

    Those who keep track of civility are in agreement about the downslide. I’m not interested in arguing the point, who started it, or, which side of the aisle is worse. It goes beyond politics. Simple behaviors like cutting lines, yelling at people while in your car, treating people poorly, and flaming folks on FB — they indicate that politics is only reflecting a broader cultural tendency towards more incivility.

    Here’s the bottom line: incivility harms innovation, long term and short, business and personal.

    Five ways a lack of civility negatively impacts innovation:

    1. Teams: Innovation of all kinds is done by teams and rarely by individuals. Team members have to work together to get things done, and, a lack of civility puts people in unproductive conflict, and more often. In order to be productive teams need to get past conflict (see Tuckman model). So, teams are less effective and the result is less innovation.
    2. Bubbles: Diversity of thinking boosts the quantity and quality of creative output. In an uncivil world, people avoid those who don’t think as they do. Insular bubbles of “same think” people are created and those bubble groups have less creative ideas — because they have less thinking to combine. The result is less innovation, or, groups settling for incremental, not breakthrough, innovation.
    3. Government Efficiency: The government plays a big role in setting the table for corporate innovation. The results the USA has gotten from government programs, like NASA, has led to new industries and commercial success stories. Funding, and doing, deep research in science and technology pays off in the long run. As our federal government becomes more dysfunctional and less focused on problem solving, they get less done. Funding for important research gets put off or cancelled, and this will, in the long run, lead to less innovation. Of course, incivility is not the only reason research is not getting funded.
    4. Tolerance for Creatives: Creative people are sometimes not mainstream in their beliefs and behaviors (and I admit some are conventional and not stereotypical “creatives”). Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, and many others were complex characters, and for those people to create something important, a lot of tolerance is needed. With less tolerance for different views, be they political or otherwise, our crazy geniuses will be fired, or, won’t get nearly as much done. Again, less innovation is the result.
    5. Customers: Organizations that have uncivil cultures reflect that to their customers and suppliers. If your co-workers are rude to you, your unhappiness is likely to spill over when facing customers. Even a single incident of rudeness is enough to turn away a customer of many years. This is more of an income impact, but without income, an organization can’t invest in…innovation.

    So, folks, let’s keep our heads on, and start acting like nice people. Innovation needs you to behave that way.

    Comments

    Organizational Creativity, A Practical Guide for Innovators & Entrepreneurs

    Book Review of: Organizational Creativity, A Practical Guide for Innovators & Entrepreneurs I read the literature associated with creativity and innovation. Can you hear me snoring? I don’t review most of them because I’d have to pan them. They are consistently boring, dry, and wonky. At the end of the day many books in the genre are, weirdly, not very creative. I’m happy to report that I’ve read a new creativity book that is quite dynamic. Organizational Creativity, A Practical Guide for Innovators & Entrepreneurs, by Gerard Puccio, John F. Cabra and Nathan Schwagler* is a breath of fresh air. It’s dense with fascinating and fresh information about innovation. As claimed in the title, it really is practical, and indeed,




    Read More..
    Comments

    Different Ideas Emerge From Different Doing

    Different Isn’t That Difficult; It Requires … Doing Things Differently Innovation Programs Based On Best Practices are Doomed to Mediocrity Things I’ve heard recently from c-suite executives about their own innovation programs: “Floundering and ineffective, if I’m honest.” “Mediocre results, we just can’t seem to get to anything really different.” “Lackluster. I’m not impressed by what they come up with.” “We don’t do idea generation well.” These are the words I’ve heard innovation directors and c-suite executives use to describe their own innovation programs. Sad isn’t it, those words are depressing. It’s enough to contemplate bringing a swift end to the thing. The quotes above are all from larger company high level managers who already have highly defined innovation processes




    Read More..
    Comments

    Innovate Immigration Policy

    Why a Hostile Immigration Policy is Stupid Who remembers George Gilder? He’s a relevant person to recall at this moment in time. George Gilder said in 1995: “Without immigration over the last 50 years, I would estimate that U.S. real living standards would be at least 40% lower.” He could be wrong with that figure. It might be more than 40%. He said that in 1995. Readers who would prefer I stay out of political posts please understand this is a post about Innovation. I’m not going to comment on the moral, legal, or overtly political aspects of the new immigration policy. I will say that the new policy is hostile, at the very least in terms of how it’s




    Read More..
    Comments

    Projects Are How Innovation Happens

    Projects, Projects, Projects Innovation is complex and difficult — but one thing about it is not. What’s quite simple about innovation is that projects are what make innovation real. The following concepts, frameworks, approaches, etc. are Not Innovation.  Unless they are in the context of an actual project. Thinking about things is not innovation Having beers and kicking ideas around are not innovation Brainstorming sessions are not innovation Idea Campaigns are not innovation Guided visualizations are not innovation Design Thinking is not innovation Creative Problem Solving is not innovation DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats are not innovation Lean is not innovation Prototyping is not innovation Crowd sourcing or Open innovation are not innovation TQM and Six Sigma are not innovation Defining




    Read More..
    Comments

    Intrapreneurship Chicago 2016

    Authentically Different Conference In recent years I’ve become a bit anti-conference. I still go to some but I find the formats tired. The formula favors big name authors and speakers who sometimes miss the mark. The agenda is so jammed you don’t have time to talk to your peers. The social events are fun, but a bit… forced. So, you may be surprised when I bend over backwards to promote Intrapreneurship Chicago 2016.  The event is going to be held at the TechNexus accelerator in the River North area. Chicago area innovators and intrapreneurs, take note. June 22! This conference is authentically different. And highly useful if you are a real working Intrapreneur. 90% of the conference attendees will be




    Read More..
    Comments

    10 Essential Elements of an Innovation Mandate

    Getting a Mandate to Innovate is Key Larger companies typically have an innovation process in place. They don’t always work, but the majority of the Fortune 1000 has some kind of innovation process or system. There is an implied consent then, to innovate, at those organizations. There are people, budgets, expectations. At smaller companies, the Mis-Fortune 5000 as I sometimes jest, there is often not a process in place. In many of these still sizable firms innovation tends to be a reaction to an emergency, or a sporadic effort that takes a back seat to operations. They often default to incremental improvement of the product or service based on customer demands. A newly appointed Innovation VP or Director at a




    Read More..
    Comments

    Temporary Innovation Veep

    The case for bringing in a temporary Innovation Veep.* “On Call Innovation Director/Mentor/Trainer”? What really changes innovation culture? Are you seeking a change in your innovation approach? Is your organization mired in a non-innovative swamp? First let me say what does NOT change innovation culture. It’s not that these services that I’ll mention below can’t be helpful, they can. But on there own, they will not change innovation at your organization. There’s one thing that will change culture and I talk about that at the bottom of this post. Don’t skip ahead. * Let me acknowledge the ideas of author Michael Foster — we discussed these concepts about a Temp Veep over coffee in San Jose a few weeks ago




    Read More..
    Comments

    Damaged Pure Michigan Brand Impedes Economic Development

    Pure Michigan is a Damaged Brand As a Michigan resident I’ve followed the developments in Flint with a mixture of horror, sadness, outrage, and confusion.  This post is not about political blame. Having said that, I don’t deny the political element to the problem; it’s a sad tale of bad decisions on top of bad decisions, and some of those made for purely political reasons. Fact seeking people on both sides of the aisle need to take a very close look at what’s happened. The focus of this post is about the damage that has been done to the state of Michigan’s brand, Pure Michigan.  This is not being talked about, but it’s as damaging in the long run as




    Read More..
    Comments

    Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Innovation

    The Time is Now to Plan for 2016 Innovation This time of year it’s natural to get an innovation plan in place — if you’re not there already — the time is now. Talking to customers about their innovation efforts I’m hearing regrets in December. Wishes for having done more, and done more sooner. Shel Silverstein wrote a poem that sums it up nicely: Woulda-Coulda- Shoulda All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas Layin’ in the sun, Talkin’ bout the things They woulda-coulda-shoulda done… But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas All ran away and hid From one little did. by Shel Silverstein A Simple Innovation Plan — in 7 Steps I get it, innovation, if it’s not part of your culture, is hard to kick start and get




    Read More..
    Comments