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Innovation often depends on the right kinds of difference. That’s why we invited different groups of people to Transformed by You. People who are involved in formal groups or programmes and those who are more involved in informal groups and activities, we need to explore the difference in the nature of support required, the capacity constraints more informal groups face and the time required to engage them after the event..
One question we can also ask ourselves is, do we aim to influence a change in our own organisations to reflect this or do we instead provide greater support for groups to develop these digital services themselves as community applications?
Equally, how can staff themselves be more involved in this process?
We know we need to make better use of the limited resources available – time, technology, knowledge, money and of course our most important asset, staff themselves. But before that we need to identify and develop people’s motivations, openness to ideas and solving problems. Then we can look at how we incentivise and reward those innovative behaviours, particularly their confidence and resilience in this difficult climate.
By valuing staff not just for their expertise as “critical friends” to local innovators but their capacity for being open to new ways of engaging people and solving problems to areas they are responsible for.
We often focus on systems to manage innovations and trying to define people as innovators. However, the Everyday Innovation report shows that the best predictors of getting staff to generate ideas were induction programmes that emphasise innovation, work time devoted to developing new ideas and team incentives. Steph Gray goes further and lets us into a few secrets on how to be an everyday innovator (see how many you already do and you'll see you're probably innovating too!). Something I've found to work well is when you "connect things together in a new way".
Using challenge-based activities could then help acknowledge and tackle the tension between the potential increase in competition between staff in a difficult climate and the need to empower them to be able to be more willing to combine their efforts.
Hosting these activities over very short spaces of time, will also recognise that there may be less time allocated to staff to innovate but they can still have more freedom and opportunities to innovate.
How can we tackle these tensions?