Did you ever think about innovation projects and try to put them into special categories… just to make them easier to replicate? Well in this month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast, I describe four “Forms” of Innovation:
- PURE IDEAS
- UNIQUE APPLICATIONS
- NON-TRADITIONAL PARTNERSHIPS
- TARGET AUDIENCE
My goal is to help everyone better organize their creative concepts and enhance focus and action.
However, the greatest segments of this podcast lie in the sharing of real-time innovation examples from my employment development workplace past. I hope you enjoy the message.
One of the “ice-breaker” training session start-up activities I utilize is to ask everyone to first introduce themselves with a little personal background, current day job information and then one extra special question! The question: If you had the chance to interview someone living or has passed on… a President, inventor, musician, family member… you get it, who would that be and why? The responses I received at a recent session were insightful, thought generating and just plain great. However, by accident… I did not discuss MY PERSON. But let me say this “mistake” was not overlooked. Several from the session have contacted me and asked me to send them my answer to the WHO & WHY question!
Well… just to keep my promise… here are my thoughts about the person I would like to interview.
I would like to have a long creativity/innovation/dreamer conversation with Walt Disney. I believe it would be difficult to finish any conversation on one (1) topic with Mr. Disney because they would all lead to more questions. Think about it! Was he always a “cartoon person” …? and did he dream about building a Disney World / Disneyland right from the start? And why Mickey Mouse? Couldn’t he have focused on a dog, cat, horse or even a pig as the starter character?
However, you can bet we would have to spend extra time discussing the “What Else?” topic. I would assume he would be proud of how developed the Disney franchise has become and that his name exemplifies quality customer service. But wouldn’t it be cool to hear his version about what other options and opportunities he planned to pursue?
I believe asking yourself “Who Would You Interview?” is an excellent personal reflection tool. So… Who Would YOU Interview?
This week I am excited to share my most recent American Society of Public Administration (ASPA) article. Teaching COMPROMISE 101 is a much-needed instructional opportunity I have been thinking and formulating in my mind for quite some time. And because public sector innovation is my trademark developmental dream area, not only does this article explain the need and void… but I also offer a customized syllabus for Teaching COMPROMISE 101.
Enjoy the article: TEACHING COMPROMISE 101
How many times have you sat in a business setting, a training session and/or a one-on-one strategy meeting, and the statement: “Do you/anyone have any questions?” is put on the table? And unfortunately, how often is the result just a HUGE zone-of-silence in the room?! Well I can tell you there have been a ton of times I have and continue to experience this long-standing phenomenon. And I will admit I have been on both sides of the table when the silence occurs. So yes, I am not innocent from contributing to the silence!
The Mystery of Asking Questions is therefore an appropriate TRIPLE III TIME topic. Also, in light of the numerous situations that challenge professionals every day with the zone-of-silence, we need to at least prescribe a special TOP 10 to address this mystery area.
Think about these:
- Every question NOT asked… is an opportunity lost.
- Simplicity matters and is appreciated when asking questions
- Believing “I will ask the question the next time we meet” … is hoping that history will repeat itself.
- Great leaders are great question askers too.
- Being the FIRST to ask a question has a positive recall impact on those in attendance.
- Often only by asking questions can a thought, idea, innovation, dream proceed.
- What progressive learning occurs during a zone-of-silence period?
- Questions can serve as the means for: “Making That First Good Impression!”
- People have yet to perfect “mind-reading” … so in the interim ASK QUESTIONS.
- Finally, set the example… ask the question… and help your co-workers, friends, family… you get it!
I am sure there are many more than 10 points that could help solve The Mystery of Asking Questions! Share them when and wherever you can.
It is impossible to be involved in another deer hunting year and not recall the great experiences, great conversations and especially the great people who have come and gone as part of this life legacy. My style of hunting allows for a lot of silent sitting and quality thought time. The cool result is often some progressive Inspiring Innovations company development ideas… and extra special topics to share via these TRIPLE III TIME blog messages.
This year I want to explain my realizations about An Important Deer Hunting Habit that evolved out of my quiet time. For some reason as I relived deer hunting days past, I determined that every story, every conversation, from every person was positive. I remember my Dad telling story after story about being a poor shot and all of the times he missed his target. But his presentation was always smile-generating. He would blame his eyes, the sights on his gun or that we made too much noise…. but always with a corny grin. His positiveness was infectious and has become a memory-sharing legacy we all seem to follow.
So why is this An Important Deer Hunting Habit… a great TRIPLE III TIME message?
I want you to think about your standard response when someone asks: “How was your day?” I believe most often people start with all the negative, problem things that they experienced… and only when encouraged sort out what may have been positive. In An Important Deer Hunting Habit language this means… yes, you missed a lot of shots today and maybe you didn’t see much… but you were still “hunting”?! So when you apply this habit to the “How was your day?” question… you must smile because even though things might not have gone your way, you were still working, helping, sharing, building, dreaming and experiencing. Opportunities that some never get a chance to be part of.
Bottomline: You don’t have to be a hunter to understand and apply this An Important Deer Hunting Habit philosophy. Just appreciate the shots (opportunities) and being involved in the hunt (life).
Recently I was on the road to meet with a group about an organizational development challenge and I decided to change my radio station channel to one I had listened to for years on my way to work every day. Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that something was different. The talk radio message was mostly the same… but I WAS DIFFERENT! My thoughts about the traditional radio messaging were not at all the same… my views about their position on certain issues differed greatly… and interestingly I turned the radio off.
This weeks TRIPLE III TIME message: Consider the Source is intended to push you to consistently have an OPEN FRONT DOOR for new/alternative sources of local/state/national/international information. What am I suggesting? I believe too often people settle into a traditional framework for news and information. The result is that our opinions and positions on every issue are driven by only one or two sources. And when you start wishing to hear something new, different, better…make sure you: Consider the Source.
Just like any process… what goes into the process… has a huge impact on what comes out. So, think about your own personal and professional processes. Do you allow/look for diverse sources of new information to shape your position(s)? Do you Consider the Source when you endorse a certain view or action on an issue? Or do you just tune into W-OLD (I borrowed this from a GREAT Harry Chapin song) to guide you?
Today more than ever before it is critical to maintain an OPEN FRONT DOOR for newness of information and diversity of opinions… everyday… EVERYDAY. And remember, always Consider The Source!
Investing development time in your staff will ALWAYS give leaders a solid return-on-investment! So, this month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast focuses on the importance of GROOMING Staff for What Next! It will help each individual staff, your organization/business as a whole and especially you as the leader in making tough decisions about the future.
I hope you enjoy this LEARNING MOMENT.
Too often employees at all workplaces are “just there” and rarely get the opportunity to share personal thoughts about their views on the world-of-work. Think about it. What if you were assigned the task of preparing a special NEWSLETTER for all of your co-workers to see for this week… what would you say?
Well, I believe it is important for everyone to think about this type of assignment. And just to help give everyone a few ideas about how you might answer the “What’s MY NEWSLETTER?” question… I thought a special TOP 10 may be in order!
- Would you compliment the product/service quality of your organization?
- Would you highlight problem personnel issues?
- Would you discuss concerns about the lack of communication in the organization?
- Would you indicate that too many people know too little about what your group does?
- Would you brag about what you all have accomplished in the last year?
- Would you offer ideas/innovations that could enhance product/service growth?
- Would you write testimonials from co-workers about feeling valued?
- Would you compliment or complain about leadership?
- Would you talk about ways to recruit people to fill workplace vacancies… because you care?
- Or would you decline the offer to complete the “What’s MY NEWSLETTER?” assignment because you are unaware, afraid or just don’t care?
The “What’s MY NEWSLETTER?” task is a unique form of self-analysis/self-evaluation. And it just might help you with some insight to improve workplace challenges!
You can send me YOUR Newsletters… just for fun.
INNOVATION has been the main “focus-of-help” for the individuals and groups I have been working with over the last few months. Whether the area of development concern was managing growth, redesigning staff expectations and responsibilities or devising alternative ways of marketing to draw in new customers, the main ingredient of the solutions I proposed was: INNOVATION.
Hey…but guess what? My INNOVATION-based solutions weren’t embraced?! Instead, the decisions were to use old-style solutions to resolve old-style problems. And because I never know were ideas for important TRIPLE III TIME messages may come from…I could not pass up the opportunity to positively “spin” why INNOVATION NOW can/should be the priority.
First, think about all of the progress needs identified in the first paragraph. I believe it is critical for leaders to drive INNOVATION in these areas. What do I mean? I mean that leaders should begin progressive discussion by asking/suggesting “Did You Ever Try…?” just one simple new concept or initiative! Remember simplicity matters but also by initially asking for everyone’s input… you quickly lessen the “defensiveness-isms” (yes, I know it’s not a real word) that often kills INNOVATION.
Next as a problem-solving, progressive solutions leader you must be persistent in initiating your “Did You Ever Try…?” proposal. Do not accept multiple excuses about how or why your INNOVATION may not work! Rather insist that because no one has tried the idea before… no one can truly testify to its workability.
Finally, if at all possible… leaders must progressively insert themselves into the implementation of the INNOVATION tryout. Inclusion is a professional courtesy that often is not used effectively by leaders and thereby is not accepted by individuals or groups as part of the “Did You Ever Try…?” help process. Instead the “change agent leaders” are just left on the outside looking in…and, unfortunately, aren’t able to provide the necessary longer-term continuous improvement “therapy”.
INNOVATION is just changing, improving to grow and thrive. So, when a leader/co-professional suggests: “Did You Ever Try…?” think deeply about this TRIPLE III TIME message before you answer.
Throughout my career in employment, training, education, business and community development, I/we have always tried to stay ahead and “on-the-cutting-edge” of the systems. Whether I was designing a new program, partnering with a non-traditional organization and/or creatively utilizing technology to solve a customer service problem, I/we made it our standard business procedure to advance beyond the norm.
A great strategy, mode-of-operation…right? But what happens to professionals when they move out or their “zone” or area of expertise?
Well, let me just say that my long-term mentor and former college professor was SO right when he advised me to “never assume or believe that everyone has been where I have been or experienced what I have experienced.” Hence it is critical to understand that in almost every situation, what is Old to Some… is New to Others!
So why is this an important TRIPLE III TIME message?
To be an effective communicator/leader, you must always strategically position yourself between the old and the new and establish a mid-ground special foothold to maximize your message effectiveness. If you start too far ahead… it is impossible for the old gang to see where you are going. Likewise, if you go too far back those dreaming of a new future become disinterested quickly and lose their focus on what next!
So, do I have an ideal solution to this age-old dilemma? … No? Just know that Dr. B had to remind me over and over about this challenge… and that if I wanted individuals/groups to invite me back to help them as a consultant in the future… I needed to master the: Old to Some… New to Others issue.