Category Archives: INNOVATION NOW
TRIPLE III TIME: “If You Have A Better Idea…?”
TRIPLE III TIME message ideas often show up because of situations I never saw coming! Just a few months ago I was asked to help conduct interviews with young adults to offer them insight and perspective about the interview process, questions often asked and the “behind the scenes” purpose of many topics that may be brought forth. It was a fun, interesting time…but the REAL new life experience for me came at the end of the session when five of my interviewees asked if they could now interview me?!
Of course, I say YES…and although the questions they asked were pretty basic, one stood out and has generated the topic for this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message.
“What was your main philosophy as an innovation leader?”
I know I had a very puzzled look on my face. Plus, as I searched my mind-history for a good answer, I couldn’t think of any MAIN philosophy that drove my innovation leadership style.
But then out of nowhere the absolute, true response to their question came out very naturally. I told the group that as I developed an innovative idea, project or program and naysayers regularly had all kinds of challenges to moving forward on the concept…my leadership philosophy was (and still is): “If you have a better idea…put it on the table. But if not we are going to get GOING!”
By my voice tone and strong delivery of this statement, the group understood my philosophy very clearly. There were no additional questions about the philosophy…rather lengthy discussions on the innovations I was privileged to be part of.
I recommend that all reading this TIRPLE III TIME message look inward and discover YOUR MAIN LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY! Think about what you stand for and what you consider a personal/professional growth philosophy. It is a wonderful, revealing action. Let me know what your philosophies are!
TRIPLE III TIME: IDEAS UNLIMITED CLUB
Innovation…Public Sector Innovation…IDEA GENERATION…and ENTREPRENEURSHIP in any form have been a vital part of my personal and professional life. No matter the organization and/or the challenge…my “There Is Always A Better Way” attitude, motivates me to go beyond what may be expected by those around me.
So what do you do to pass along this package of creative energy and drive in a meaningful, 21st century way?
You start a northern Michigan IDEAS UNLIMITED CLUB!
This week in partnership with Central Michigan University, Alpena Community College and 20+ high schools in northern Michigan, we held our first IDEAS UNLIMITED CLUB session.
Just to help everyone understand the IDEAS UNLIMITED CLUB is an Entrepreneurship-Driven “cooperative-partnership” focused on blending the business/community development learning efforts of Central Michigan University’s Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship, Alpena Community College and select Northeast Michigan School Districts. The principle function of the IDEAS UNLIMITED CLUB cooperative partnership is not just the sharing of basic Entrepreneurship concepts and processes, but also the employment of a unique monthly, structured Mentoring Moment facilitated by CMU students/affiliates engaged in Entrepreneurship coursework/projects that is shared with engaged community college and high school students.
How did we do: “Just Right!” The use of video-conferencing technology made the face-to-face “feel” a vital contribution. There was a lot of listening by all…but the importance of idea-sharing…for some maybe for the first time…was so COOL!
Yes I am passionate about the IDEAS UNLIMITED CLUB. And if it helps even one young adult across our multi-county Michigan region, we are all ENTREPRENEURSHIP WINNERS!
TRIPLE III TIME: VISIONARIES – Do You Know One?
When you hear the phrase: “He or she is a visionary,”…what comes to mind? That they can see the future? That they can predict the outcomes of certain events or actions? Or do you follow the Oxford Dictionary definition of a visionary which states:
“Visionaries are idealistic, imaginative and have inspired ideas about the future.”
Well as I selected: VISIONARIES-Do You Know One? as the topic for this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message, my focus was mostly on the Do You Know One part. And my guess is that as you think about do I know someone with vision, your mind goes to people like President Kennedy or Albert Einstein who as visionaries impacted our world. But today I want you to think about visionaries in a simple, small town manner. Think about:
- Farmers…don’t they have a vision every year about an excellent crop as they plant?
- Truck Drivers…don’t they dream about an on time (or ahead) of time safe delivery?
- Plumbers…don’t they have visions of quickly, efficiently fixing the leak in your house?
- Teachers…don’t they hope that all their students pass their classes with good grades?
- Doctors…don’t they all anticipate they can prescribe a cure for your illness…and it works?
- Employment Counselors…don’t they envision that everyone they help gets a GREAT job?
- Auto Mechanics…don’t they have a vision that they can fix your brakes…quickly?
- Construction Workers…don’t they dream of building a cool, unique house sometime?
- Musicians…don’t they envision playing a perfect song for an appreciative crowd?
- Authors…don’t’ they all foresee that they will write the next best seller?
So let me ask again, VISIONARIES-Do You Know One? Hopefully your answer is YES and by using the list of 10 Visionary examples…I hope you know you probably are one too!
he goal of this TRIPLE III TIME message is to encourage you to be a natural VISIONARY everyday…EVERYDAY! Never apologize for having a sense of idealism and imagination. Because that is what VISIONARIES are made of.
TRIPLE III TIME: The Battle Against “Slowness”
As effective managers…supervisors…leaders it is always a major responsibility to keep everyone productive and working at a full-employment pace. Some leaders strive to keep everyone challenged…maybe beyond regular capacities, while others in leadership positions remain satisfied with a pattern of maintenance speed.
But today’s TRIPLE III TIME message is how to deal with: The Battle Against “Slowness” in the workplace.
The Battle Against “Slowness” appears when the product or service you are involved in loses value and the demand goes down. Or when your special business niche is no longer special and worker activities slow to an unprecedented level. The impacts of “Slowness” on workers having too much undriven time are numerous. Consider this TOP 10 list of challenging negative impacts:
- Inability to prioritize.
- Gossip/rumor mills increase.
- Lost sense of production urgency.
- Minutia becomes a daily principle.
- People become involved in other people’s job/business.
- The “addiction” to non-work computer time goes way up.
- The quality of task completion goes down.
- Arriving to work early and staying a little late evaporates.
- The appeal to work somewhere else becomes more regular.
- The value of and priority of having a GREAT WORKPLACE CULTURE becomes an overbearing business/organizational issue.
Do I have several great suggestions? My single suggestion is innovation. But just discussing and collaboratively addressing The Battle Against “Slowness” is very important. This Battle is EVERYONE’s job and anyone who ignores it becomes part of the problem. The solutions are a constant work in progress with innovation as a motivator.
TRIPLE III TIME: Leadership Decision-Making (The Little Bit Strategy)
The task of Leadership Decision-Making for any business or organization is NOT designed to be easy. Whether it is deciding on a financial investment, down-sizing strategy, personnel matter…whatever, every issue has different challenges and mandates appropriate time and deliberation.
Think about it.
In almost every decision area the issue of profit or loss or cost versus benefits come up for assessment. Or maybe with regard to personnel, a certain decision may result in someone being laid-off or transferred to another town, state or even country! SO many considerations have to be reviewed and it is challenging because there is not a PERFECTION IN DECISION-MAKING Guidebook?!
Well this TRIPLE III TIME message is intended to offer a Leadership Decision-Making idea I have benefited from over the years that I call: The “Little-Bit” Strategy. The basic principle of the The “Little-Bit” Strategy is simple…try and make sure your decision on anything helps EVERYONE involved to come away a little bit better and happier. Whether it is awarding separate contracts to two different organizations and thereby sharing the income and responsibility, or assigning a job to a team instead of a single individual and thereby growing diverse project input. The benefits far out-weigh the challenges.
The “Little-Bit” Decision-Making Strategy does not prioritize attempting to please one single individual or group. The “Little-Bit” Strategy also doesn’t cater to the biggest whiner or loudest voice. Its goal is leading by inclusion and shared responsibility.
It’s worked well for me.
TRIPLE III TIME: Collaborative Innovation
In the September/October 2021 edition of the Public Administration Review (a special journal publication), at long last I discovered an article about Collaborative Innovation!
And although the article was prepared by a group of educators and researchers from the United Kingdom, the fact that it focused exclusively on employment development and the “wicked problems” facing today’s labor market was/is totally professionally encouraging!! So as I considered how to adapt the article’s highlights within this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message, I decided to share critical direct passages so that all committed to quality innovation practices may benefit.
“The core principles of collaborative innovation are that innovation can be supported most effectively through: the creation of spaces for mutual learning among stakeholders and from service users; joint ownership of program design, development, and implementation; and empowered participation among stakeholders, through the sharing of risks, resources, and decision-making”.
“Joint ownership through participation and dialogue can improve the implementation of new and bold solutions when different resources are mobilized, exchanged, and coordinated. Real innovation advocates support forms of collaborative decision-making and street-level teamworking that enable: the integration of ideas and consensus-based approach to the selection of most promising solutions; and joint ownership of risks and benefits and a shared commitment to the implementation of new solutions”.
During Collaborative Innovation “empowered participation is facilitated through processes that manage power and resource inequalities among stakeholders…which are defined as policy makers, funders and other “meta-governors” (public, private, and nonprofit organizations involved in the governance and management of services), and user groups and communities. While some forms of power inequalities remain inevitable, governance and management arrangements can empower relevant communities and stakeholders by endowing them with relevant knowledge, rights, and resources to participate in driving innovation”.
There are a number of GREAT concepts and learnings contained in these article excerpts. I hope everyone reads them more than once and realizes that Collaborative Innovation is always a progressive way forward in both the public and private employment sectors.
TRIPLE III TIME: Let It Come To You
Patience and waiting for the right moment are NOT strong personality traits among those considered INNOVATORS. In most instances there is a drive…a need to get the new concept out there for trial and error to determine if the creative idea/project/service is as useful and implementation-worthy as dreamed by the INNOVATOR!
However, in the world of real time one must accept the reality that most co-workers and colleagues can NOT read the INNOVATORS mind…and most have NOT gone through the same development thought processes to motivate the creation of the new idea/concept. Hence the result is a collaborative “air” of reluctance to move everyone/everything forward and at the same time a sense of professional deflation within the INNOVATOR.
This week’s TRIPLE III TIME advice: Step back and “Let It Come To You”. If it sounds like I have personal and professional experience in this area…I HAVE! As an INNOVATOR and having had the opportunity to interact with other INNOVATORS…the “Let It Come To You” strategy has many appropriate alternate progress benefits as you still maintain your new idea energy! Think about these options:
- Use your INNOVATOR moments to “touch” and build on other existing project/service areas with a continuous improvement mindset.
- Continue to “feed” pieces of your new idea/concept with others in your organization…but not your whole innovation.
- Openly discuss the need for project/service improvement in your innovation target area on a regular basis.
- Do not stop researching for comparable unique concepts that could improve your innovation even before introduction.
- Finally, keep in mind that most often the harder you push an idea/concept that may be way ahead of its time…the more distance you might create among those who can make (or break) your innovation.
Be an INNOVATOR! But understand that sometimes you have to “Let It Come To You”.
TRIPLE III TIME: Innovation Tracking
Innovation Tracking has unofficially been one of my career life hobbies. It started years ago when I thought the world should have/create a National Center for Public Sector Innovation (NCPSI). I appreciated the great group of co-workers and work colleagues that joined my hobby from a distance. Interestingly NCPSI development activities went much further than anyone but me expected! However it was one of those concepts that was a little ahead of its time…so it faded.
But today think about how people make it a practice…even a service to follow/track trends. There are society, fiscal, political, medical trends…and the list goes on. Often they reveal interesting economic growth patterns or changes in how people act, vote, etc. So how about we apply this style of activity and begin a special “creativity movement” and have “followers” participate in Innovation Tracking!
We would begin by simply applying Innovation Tracking to individuals. Could they report that they have tried an innovative new practice in their world of work…weekly? How about observing innovative change…large or small in the product/service they offer? Next, how about if people tracked innovation in their community? A new walking path…a new voting process…a new/alternative downtown…or just an alternative cooperative music/performance get together.
Because of what I do and who I am personally…I do Innovation Tracking all the time. I review innovation organizations online, belong to innovation “groups”, and try to initiate some form of innovative practice with those I work with and even in my personal life…everyday…yes EVERYDAY!
Try it. Don’t make Innovation Tracking harder than it is. Do it in an effort to see more positivity and commit to a belief that there is ALWAYS A BETTER WAY!
TRIPLE III TIME: Creativity “Fertilizer”
Have you ever heard or thought about the priceless value of spreading Creativity “Fertilizer” in your home…workplace…community? This notion may sound odd and a little bit “out-there”…but consider the progressive impacts this type of activity can produce.
First think about the fact that most people really like becoming engaged with creative people. Whether it’s the positive energy, thinking beyond the norm, and/or just the “dream-ability” that results from an open, blended discussion.
But what do I mean by spreading Creativity “Fertilizer”? Here are a few examples:
- Writing down a fun single word on the breakroom board and asking for cool thoughts from co-workers.
- Setting 15 minutes aside every other day to just visit with a co-worker about “what-else” your group could initiate.
- Having an IDEA DROP-BOX in your workplace…for everyone.
- Including a Creativity & Innovation time on every meeting agenda.
- Sending out a monthly message to friends and colleagues asking for them “sprinkle” a little Creativity “Fertilizer” in their workplaces.
- Occasionally bringing in a professional person…not connected to your workplace and asking them to share thoughts about creativity in their world.
I believe it is critical for everyone to spread a little Creativity “Fertilizer” from time-to-time. It is a solid professional development habit and it makes innovative thoughts and actions contagious!
TRIPLE III TIME: Check Out the Competition
One of the main discussion points with every attempt at spearheading an innovative initiative is to Check Out The Competition! You know “the drill”. Is someone or another company already doing what you are thinking of trying? Is your proposed new product or service already out there and is it successful? Is there a design or option that is very similar to your innovation and therefore would it be best to just replicate their initiative/product/service?
Well let me be clear that when you are considering an alternative innovative strategy…it is very important to Check Out The Competition. However, for this TRIPLE III TIME message, I want you to also consider INNOVATION TRANSFERABILITY. What do I mean? Let’s say if you work in a public service area…don’t be afraid to transfer your service design to one utilized by the fast-food industry (i.e. Meal-Deal model). Or if a unique customer service approach is successful in a community development situation…why not try it in an auto repair setting. Or if a creative social media advertisement design works well for selling the latest salsa recipe…why not try using it to market customized job training in your area?
During my career of pushing public sector innovation every chance I got, applying INNOVATION TRANSFERABILITY has been a solid tool everyday…every time. When you Check Out The Competition and observe a new successful approach to public or private sector product/service delivery…always…ALWAYS consider the potential of INNOVATION TRANSFERABILITY! Great ideas are often not recognized for their easy application in new areas and non-traditional ways. Only when you appropriately Check Out The Competition and apply INNOVATION TRANSFERABILITY…do you see the new opportunities.