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I am just having a read of 'Innovation - The Path of Embracing Change to Create Value - 4th Innovation Best Practise and Future Challenges Report' which landed in my e-mail box yesterday. Absolutely fascinating read right from the start. It consists of a collection of findings from 45 interviews with 40 companies across the world (Australia, UK, Denmark, South Africa, etc) which has been pulled together by Dr Bettina Von Stamm and funded by the Innovation Leadership Forum. Bettina gives some 'upfront observations' and then organises the findings into categories: Company Vision and Strategy, Company Culture and Industry Context.
Some food for thought:

- There is a gap between those who 'get innovation' and those who’ do not’ keeps widening.

- Innovation mindsets is not finding people who constantly come up with breakthrough ideas but one that is open to change, likes to challenge and be challenged, is focused on creating value and very importantly, appreciates diversity in all its different guises.

- Those who buy into the rationale of innovation but not the 'emotional' consequences of it continue to focus on processes and structures rather than turning towards addressing behaviours and cultures.

- When aiming to create a more innovative organisation using the word 'innovation' can be one of the obstacles!

- Create realities - there is a great difference between 'telling' and 'showing', using prototypes and other ways to make an idea or concept as real as possible This is very true - Sidekick Studios came down to our offices to meet us last week and we wouldn't have been able to understand the complete awesomeness of their Voicebox writing robot!

- Silos, be they functional or between business units, remain a frequently mentioned barrier to more successful innovation. I also found this in my Business Plan Research Report, with many of the units and teams within Kent County Council stating that they would like to break down the 'silo mentality' that exists within the organisation, and will work on this through 2010/11

- A focus on behaviours - one of the participants stated that during project review meetings, they do not start with budgets or project plans, they focus on relationships, looking at how well they work together.

- Collaboration with external parties seems easier than collaboration within the business boundaries.

- Innovation needs to be clear and transparent, otherwise people will withdraw.

- Addressing a challenge or opportunity through different lenses - 'when the conversation moved onto the fact that people tend to stick too closely to Horizon 1 it occurred to me that the three horizons could also be used to develop more impactful concepts and ideas At our event 'Transformed By You On Campus', when coming up with ideas to tackle their challenges - such as Future Digital Online Services and Graduate Retention in Kent - they were encouraged to see the challenge through the ideas of a child, Google, Richard Branson and a library assistant.

- In one of the participating organisations members were given some 'spare time' to work on their own ideas.

-Engaging others in innovation is a combination of credibility, personality and attitude.

- 'The responsibility of selling is ours' - Successfully 'selling' innovation is about understanding others, it is about talking to people in their language.

- Our Catalogue of Innovations was also featured in the report, which can be found here, go have a look!

'When we started on our innovation journey we began by making a catalogue of all the innovations that had been happening all over the organisation but no one had really noticed. Rather than having an ideas competition or starting a suggestion box we went around the organisation to talk to people. We did not ask ‘what innovations have you made recently’ but asked them where they had changed or improved things, developed new offerings, that kind of thing. We got many things the individuals involved would not have classified as innovation, in fact, we got 40 great examples. This made people realise how much innovation was actually going on and it gave then confidence.'

- Kirsty Russell

Top picture: Shows a wooden path on a beach with extends to the sea with a blue sky and yellow sunset in the background with thanks to stuck_in_customs for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.

Bottom picture - Shows students at our event 'Transformed By You on Campus' sitting around a desk with post it notes looking at a paper about Google, with thanks to Paul Sinnock at University of Kent for taking and publishing the pictures.



  1. leadership said...

    Inspiring Post! There is a lot of discussions going on this topic of Innovation. In the context of leadership innovation and collaboration, You might want to see this video post by Vineet Nayar "the irrelevant boss" http://www.vineetnayar.com/the-irrelevant-boss/ and also listen to this podcast of him where he shares some new concepts on leadership, employee performance development. http://www.vineetnayar.com/everyday-leadership-with-dan-mulhern/

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