Creating Innovation

Are you better at asking questions or giving answers?

When in doubt, it’s perfectly reasonable to rely on the tried and true; the steps that got us this far…right?

Seeing issues from a new perspective; forcing ourselves to be open to possibilities beyond what we’re able to see on the immediate horizon; innovation is a skill many are talking about now.

We may not all agree on how we got where we are, where we’re going and who will help us get there, but most of the people I speak with on a regular basis do agree that innovation will be a key component as we sort out some of the other questions.

In fact, I recently took the opportunity to attend a virtual Innovation Summit sponsored by GovLoop, and once again, I was reminded that seeing things in a new light, while sometimes difficult, is often rewarding.

Of course, talking about innovation, especially in organizations, is far easier than actually innovating. There are issues that get in the way, even in those organizations that would like to innovate. Among them are a lack of leadership for innovation, no budget to pursue those leaders or those activities that might spur creativity, innovation not being a priority and not being certain how and where to start to facilitate innovation in the organization.

Ironic, isn’t it? The lack of knowledge of how to innovate can stop the process cold. And yet, innovation itself is needed to escape that cycle of thinking.

So, if we are to, as Nike says, “Just do it”, where do we start? Where do you find inspiration to innovate?

The Summit encouraged me to reflect on how I innovate and what propels me to try new ways of looking at old issues. The following are 10 ways I have found helpful in facilitating innovation:

1. Leverage technology to help streamline operations.

2. Spend time in nature: I find that being outdoors is a great way to open my mind up to new possibilities and generate new ideas.

3. One of my favorite sayings and core beliefs, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good”: one way I have seen organizations generate innovation is by creating space for people to fail and/or try new things.

4. Create champions for innovation: it is important to develop some senior leadership champion for innovation to help support the accomplishment of the key organizational objective.

5. Provide specific tools to help people create more innovation: check out our Innovate, Create, Relate: Making New Ideas Work in Your Organization workshop in our Spring Into Action showcase.

6. Develop ways to recognize innovations in your organization, such as highlighting innovative approaches in your employee newsletter.

7. Create an incentive for people to generate new ideas by creating contests.

8. Use mind mapping as a way to generate new ideas.

9. Create an outside advisory board as a way to get new ideas and/or fresh perspectives.

10. Keep open to the possibilities.

I’m always looking for other ideas, so please share what works for you and what works in your organization.

If your organization is having a difficult time starting the process, but you’re serious about innovation in your organization, be sure to check out our Innovation Workshops.

Boxer Advisors, LLC, is a full-service consulting, training and coaching firm with more than 50 professional consultants, facilitators, and coaches and carefully selected partners providing services to Federal agencies and Fortune 1000 companies since 1996.

Contact us today to learn more.

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