Do you know these kind of meetings where you are asked to think about alternative ways of doing? However you will call it – brainstorming, design thinking or creativity hour – normally, this idea process starts slowly. But already after half an hour the paper is full of ideas. People recognize very easily where they could innovate and which would be necessary steps. What should be done and where to improve. Yes, it would be a good idea to do it in a different way. Indeed.
But when it comes to activities which are needed to get innovation started, the initial brainstorm enthusiasm gets smaller. And often dies.
Once the creative hour has passed, people leave the room and turn back to the normal way of doing. Often with a bigger frustration level than before.
So, innovation does not lack of ideas. But it seems that too many ideas scare people because they feel uncomfortable to try out new things, they fear that their normal work would suffer from additional tasks. And that they could not fulfill the expectations.
The most challenging part of innovation is to innovate itself. Dedicate time to manage the innovation process. Brainstorming is the pre-work for innovation, not the innovation itself. When you plan brainstorming sessions dedicate 1/3 to brainstorming and 2/3 to discuss on the how these ideas can be implemented.
- Take the clear decision to innovate
- Deduce activities from the ideas you have collected
- Focus. Take out just 2 or 3 aspects. Make it manageable to all involved people
- Start small, grow big. Don’t scare people with huge project plans and endless aspects of what could and should be done
- Cultivate the network of ideas-givers and give them a responsible role in the innovation process
- Do not limit to pure technical tool talk. It is essential to find out how to make ‘the car’ run. A car without drivers and without streets is useless.
- Cultivate an innovators network. Ask for support and ideas to solve barriers. They will help you and become ambassadors of your idea
- Measure success
- Stop initiatives which do not feel good
- Innovation needs an audience. Communication and socializing are huge success factors