I was reminded last week of what I seem to have forgotten in my years of focusing on innovation or was it that feeling it was simply repeating. I am constantly aware on just how innovation has seemingly stayed still in much of its design in recent years, irrespective of what we believe has been ‘innovation advances’.
We certainly do keep moving relentlessly on in finding new tools, to squeeze a little more out of the innovation process but when you stop and think about it, we actually are still extracting mostly that incremental juice, we are not transforming how we innovate.
In the main, the radical solutions often so desperately needed in our business are somehow avoided. This is where this repeating cycle comes in, we are as stuck today in the same incremental ‘stuff’ as we have been for years. A sort of “rinse and repeat” cycle.
Revolving doors and growing intensity
What we do so often see is that we seem to change the people constantly involved in innovation but we so often lose their learning when they move on or move out. We keep repeating the same lessons within innovation, that game of pushing the ‘repeat and rinse button’ on the innovation washing machine. We seem to never take innovation understanding beyond the existing and known, in the majority of cases, we fail to adopt a more radical approach. We tend to avoid the unknowns. Yet we are being pushed by constant change within the innovation solutions we work upon, yet hang on to the familiar. There is a different way and we should ‘attack’ this.
We somehow miss constantly the chances to create the collective memory and necessary reference points of past learning. We keep repeating and often really never pushing the boundaries of innovation as they are built on the same structure, environmental conditions, and processes.
Of course, we are facing more complexity when it comes to innovating. Everything is scaling more, in geographical terms, in communicating across more people involved in the process, in detailing the project understanding, in informing and feeding the system that somehow continues to build more layers of intricacy, that finer detail we need to provide. Often I think we are not so much caught up in the “long tail” but ‘chasing our own tail’ increasingly at higher speed and intensity.
We lack a platform for learning on innovation.
Do we spend any time, reflecting or learning to solve problems or challenges differently? What we should have in place is a platform for learning? We need to be deliberate in facilitating learning, we also need to bring participants together to share insights built up over time. We also need to foster a greater trust in relationships by having more access to working together and knowledge gained from past and current experiences building into a common understanding and unity of purpose.
As the environments we operate in are behaving far more dynamically and in different ways of the past we must not just learn from the past quickly on what to avoid but we have to learn this faster than ever. It needs deeper insights to grow knowledge, understanding, and performance. We do need to hone our capabilities to innovate, to access tacit knowledge but if the knowledge is lost, how can that happen? Are there alternatives to learning?
The eventual winner is the one who connects and evolves more rapidly and to do this effectively, they need ways to accelerate learning, to speed up their performance to generate more radical solutions in innovation
Calling for a change in approach to learning about innovation
I would argue there is an increasing place for external coaches, mentors, and facilitators of innovation understanding. To mobilize and leverage external resources is increasingly recognized as essential today. Open innovation, sharing in networks, in ecosystems, participating on platforms is essential, not just to keep pace but to search for ways to pull ahead.
We need to find ways to mobilize our innovation resources differently than in the past. We need to transcend, to draw out more depth in understanding.
Organized platforms of innovation learning lie outside your organization if you want to learn something different.
Far too often innovation learning is left as random learning, reliant on individual desire and personal preference. I would argue, no I actually offer something different, to challenge that approach. A structured way of learning innovation that provides that creative edge, strategic-related in its structure and approaches, out to deliver results that provide impact and intensity through this organized learning.
These ‘dialogues’ can be both in your physical or virtual space, individually or in teams. They are designed to translate innovation, to have high-impact, strengthen personal understanding and amplify the meaning and establishing the innovation connection.
I am happy to talk about the specifics relating to your situation, why not get in touch?