Make Innovating Simpler [Yes And Blog 150]

“As innovation becomes a management discipline there is a danger that it is seen as the end, rather than the means” John Brooker  Want to make innovating simple again? I was out riding my bike recently when I found I could not use any gear above number eight, so instead of twenty-four gears through three front cogs, I had just eight gears on one. I couldn’t fix it myself and didn’t have time to take it to the repairers so carried on using it. I am no Bradley Wiggins (Olympic cycling gold medallist and winner of  the Tour de France) and after a couple of rides, I noticed that the lack of gears was not causing me much of a problem, apart from going down steep hills where I could not pick up as much speed. After noticing that, I compared the enforced simplicity of my gearing with how complex innovation seems to have become. I appreciate there are some organisations that need more sophisticated approaches, just like the Tour de France needs more complex bikes. I am also sure most organisations could cope with a simpler approach. In fact, many could cope with just three “innovation gears” if they had the nerve to get on the “bike”. So In the spirit of keeping it simple, here is my three gear approach to help your people innovate. The three gears are, Climate, Model and Tools. Create and nurture the right climate to encourage collaboration When you wish people to be more collaborative and creative you need to create a macro-climate within the organisation and a micro-climate within meetings. Here...

How Creative Leaders Can Encourage Innovation [Yes! And Blog 123]

“It occurred to me by intuition and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.” Albert Einstein Want to encourage more innovation?    There are regular  discussions on Linked In forums and elsewhere about innovation and what it is. Is it a lot of small steps over time that transforms a company (as heard at a dinner recently) or is it a paradigm change that shakes up an industry (as discussed in a telephone call yesterday)? I had racked my brains for a while to find a simple way to describe my thinking and this week, inspiration struck. For some reason, my computer started playing music tracks at random (I suspect childish fingers at work). Suddenly, I had the soprano of La Bohème fading in to James Morrison, followed by a snatch of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, leading in to a (surprisingly catchy) rap song my son had downloaded.  The thing was, it worked; they segued in to each other with a few rough edges. The inspiration was that if we equate music to innovation, there is no need to differentiate. Whether it is a thirty second advertising jingle, the theme tune to a TV series, a three minute pop song or Beethoven’s 9th, it is all music. So Let’s play with the metaphor of music here. As creative leaders, let’s not waste time arguing whether this is music or that is music. Good jingles can launch products in to popular culture; the writers of the Neighbours’ (Australian soap opera) theme tune have made a fortune and Beethoven has inspired millions. There...

How Creative Facilitators Can Use Scaling to Measure [Yes! And Blog 165]

 How might you use scaling more creatively? Imagine you are a sheep. Your experience is limited to a gambol around fields but now you are in the back of a truck on a glorious autumn day, watching the world zip by at 50 miles per hour (80 KPH). As I overtake your truck on the motorway, the question I want to ask you (as a sheep) is, “On a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 is high, how surreal is this experience for you?” That question came to mind as I was driving back from Coventry recently, partly because my mind was in that engaged / disengaged state you have when driving and partly because I had been reflecting on a workshop I had participated in the previous day, at our SFCT UK meeting.  In the workshop I asked, “What ways can we use the Solution Focus (SF) scaling tool in workshops?” Scaling is a way to measure a variety of performance related items like motivation, confidence, understanding, progress, success, etc. Typically SF people use the 1 – 10 scale and I often use the tool with people standing in a line, from 1 – 10; I wanted to explore other ways to use it. Please see Blog 41 and Blog 124 for further explanation of SF and Scaling. With thanks to Jenny Clarke, John Wheeler, David Shaked and James Lawley for their contributions in the workshop. So With a small group of talented people, we elicited a number of interesting ways to scale, which I share here with you. Apart from the first two (me and Cyriel Kortleven),...
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