I've always found "innovation" to be an incredibly powerful word--it's not about doing something well, it's about doing something well in a groundbreaking way. Guerrilla marketing, for instance, was truly innovative in the mid-1980s and then again in the late 1990s when creative minds combined it with new communication technologies afforded by the Internet. The earlier guerrilla marketing tactics are now mainstream, but the field, in continual flux, will see more waves of innovation whenever DIY minds need it.
However, organizations are now increasingly aware of the value of innovation (it's no longer just a domain of the DIYers) and are recognizing ways in which to foster this creativity...always in search of greater success.
Chasing this same always-on-the-horizon goal, I eagerly clicked on a link for a Harvard Business Review blog, "Six Secrets to Creating a Culture of Innovation." Succinct and eye-opening: Fewer than 50% of CEOs surveyed worldwide believe their organizations are equipped to deal effectively with the rising complexity of the business world.
The big question though: "Are CEOs and senior leaders really willing to make the transformational moves necessary to foster cultures of real creativity and innovation?"
Here are a couple of the "six secrets" that drew my interest and impact meeting professionals. While reading, consider what would happen if your organizations or clients implemented these ideas.
"PROVIDE THE TIME. Creative thinking requires relatively open-ended, uninterrupted time, free of pressure for immediate answers and instant solutions. Tims is a scarce, overburdened commodity in organizations that live by the ethic of 'more, bigger, faster.' Ironically, the best way to insure that innovation gets attention is to schedule sacrosanct time for it, on a regular basis."
"VALUE RENEWAL. Human beings are not meant to operate continuously, the way computers do... The third stage of the creative process, incubation, occurs when we step away from a problem we're trying to solve and let our unconscious work on it..." The author says going for a walk, listening to music and meditating are effective in "inducing the shift in consciousness in which creative breakthroughs spontaneously arise."
The blog closes with: "These activities are only possible in a workplace that doesn't overvalue face time and undervalue the power of renewal."
So this latest hunt for access to the realms of innovation leads back to the value of renewal...
Sometimes we need to pause and shift our emphasis from the hunt back to the building blocks of creativity and innovation. After all, the hunter is more likely to be successful when empowered with a clear mind and a sharp spear.