It’s Never Too Late For Innovation Resolutions

25 April, 2018 / Articles
clock hands being pushed back by a business man

It’s almost May and despite all your good intentions to change your innovation habits, you have little to show for it. What we recently referred to as the “new year” is almost half-way done and you are no more innovative this year than last. Year in and year out, that is the story of so many of our lives, mine included.

Sound familiar? Of course! We’re all busy and change takes time and energy; habits are hard to break. But, we still have the better part of the year to go in 2018, and there is abundant time to start experimenting with new behaviors. So, in the spirit of “perpetual reinvention,”  now is as good a time  as any to re-start. There is no reason that innovation resolutions should  only be made on an annual basis.

Here are  a set of innovation resolutions that complement those originally posted at the end of last year, originating from among a set of thoughtful innovation practitioners. What strikes me as being particularly noteworthy about these is that they offer suggestions that can be adopted by us all: practicing  extreme empathy with respect to our innovation clients, being more precise regarding anticipated innovation impact before and after an engagement, bringing new partners into the innovative activity and experimenting with the rules and roles of that partnership, being more thoughtful about execution as well as ideation and in how we balance our attention portfolios between content creation and delivery. All in all, what they offer is not so much rocket-science as practical ways for changing behaviors to unleash energy to get us moving.

Estelle Metayer: Principal and Founder, Competia; former McKinsey consultant and educator, corporate director/board member, painter, pilot and trend-spotter @competia

Cultivate extreme empathy: devote significant time to observing surroundings and pay attention to emotions. Make every frustration a learning experience; how would you redesign this product, this service ? Make every waiting time an observatory; why is this person behaving this way? Why did she choose this color of socks or why does she puts  her phone facing downward on the table? Take nothing for granted, question everything, explore every angle.

Alex Osterwalder:  Listed by @Thinkers50 Founder Strategyzer.com, Co-Author of “Business Model Generation” & “Value Proposition Design”. @AlexOsterwalder

In 2018 my team and I at Strategyzer aim to measure innovation and returns more rigorously! This consists of measuring how much we can prove that an idea is a good one (evidence), at what cost (experiments), and with which potential results (profitability).

Abhijit Bhaduri: Author of “The Digital Tsunami”, best-selling novelist, cartoonist & talent management advisor to organizations; social media commentator and blogger on digital transformation; & creator of sketch accompanying this post. @AbhijitBhaduri

It is time to create new models of learning and leadership for a world where exponential technology is shaping how we work. Bringing an interdisciplinary lens to explore new models of leadership learning is my innovation resolution.

Using the lens of performing arts will help me look at leadership behavior with a fresh perspective, I will collaborate with a National Award winning actor from Bollywood – Ashish Vidyarthi to create an offering called Leadership Theater, based on working with “new teams assembled based on the specific needs of that moment and with a limited financial commitment.”

Tim Kastelle, Teacher of innovation management at the University of Queensland Business School  @TimKastelle

In his book “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention,” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says “To achieve creativity in an existing domain, there must be surplus attention available.” I’ve been very much in delivery-mode over the past couple of years, but now I need to get back into thinking more creatively for a while. And, that surplus attention issue is a big one. So, I’m resolving to pay more attention to how I allocate my attention, making sure that I make space for creative work.

Paul Hobcraft: founder and Principal of Agility Innovation, framing and discussing different issues around innovation’s understanding. @Paul4Innovating

We have ways to take where we are in our technology and digital understanding and feed it human ingenuity, as well as combine the collected knowledge found in a network of collaborators, to advance the solution to unlock previously intractable problems. This is where the new innovation era will thrive, in any industry and in our societies – the power of connected innovation. It is searching for the “how and what” as our constant goal and ambition, that leaders should encourage.

Kevin Anselmo
: Founder & Principal at Experimental Communications, Former Director of Public Relations for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and Host of FIR Higher Education podcast. @kevinanselmo

My innovation advice for leaders would be to truly tap into stakeholders’ intrinsic motivations – striving towards a goal for personal satisfaction or accomplishment. Intrinsic motivation fosters the type of curiosity and out of the box thinking needed to explore new frontiers and bring about radical change. Effective communication is a key driver to instilling intrinsic motivation. This means articulating a clear and concise purpose as a foundational point and iterating on this to show the application for individuals and groups. This probably means putting much more emphasis on the “why” of a project or initiative as opposed to the “how”.

Tania Dussey-Cavassini: former Swiss Ambassador for Global Health & Vice-Director General of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health  (2013-2017); leadership & strategy consultant, coach. @TaniaDussey

To live innovation as a lifestyle, I will challenge myself in wondering what question did I not ask yet, in order to make sure I embrace whatever issue at hand from all angles. My friend Gemma Page, who has been part of the prestigious cast that played “Follies”, by Stephen Sondheim at the National Theatre, gave me the brilliant idea to start a “cultural diary”. I have called it “my book of beauties”. This is where I now keep track of all the pieces of art, shows, movies, architectural places that I visit. In my musings, I take the time to reflect upon these pieces of art that move me, and I search and study the creative process of the artist.

Willem Smit: Assistant Professor of Marketing at Asia School of Business, International Faculty Fellow at MIT Sloan School of Management. @WillemSmit

My resolution is to sustain innovation by “large scale” prototyping:  In 2016 when we launched the Asian School of Business, we were working with a white sheet of paper – able to design a totally new program from scratch.  Today, the situation is different. Our sheet is now colored with innovative expectations, and we need to continue to innovate. Rather than sending our students off-campus to work at firms on small-scale, independent projects,  this year, I’m asking companies send their people onto our campus to create a [bigger impact, more coherent]  hackathon to develop real digital marketing strategies and subsequently run real campaigns.

The science man and innovator, Fernando Fischmann, founder of Crystal Lagoons, recommends this article.

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