Category Archives: INNOVATION NOW
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.
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.
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”.
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!
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!
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.
One of my regular targets for “change-action” is applying imagination to the traditional standards of measuring success and considering a Return-On-Investment. It is always easier to take out the OLD performance standards and/or fiscal “cost-per” measurements and declare a program, service or product a success or failure. But what about measuring a continuous improvement action/training? Is it a standard business procedure to re-gather affected staff to determine the minimum or maximum effectiveness of a continuous improvement initiative? Or is just offering the initiative and having everyone attend the measure of success?
Well because change, innovation and dollars all deserve “equal time” as progress and quality factors, consider these TOP 10 “What Aren’t We Seeing?” EVAL-CULATIONS! (Yes it’s a new word!) as you consider the value of your continuous improvement efforts:
- Did organizational leadership revisit the trainees and ask them “What’s the 1 THING you learned?”
- How many other colleagues did you share your positive learning experience with?
- Did the organization’s action/training prompt you to meet one-on-one with co-workers to consider a more progressive change?
- How many attendees expressed a “Something To Look Forward To!” attitude following the continuous improvement action/training?
- Was it possible to calculate the number of “spin-off” ideas that resulted?
- In follow-up discussions…did attendees appear to improve their ability to prioritize?
- Did the organization’s action/training generate increased/quality internal/external communication?
- How many attendees “stepped-up” to be more involved in future actions?
- Is it possible to witness personnel re-looking at past evaluation approaches and considering new, innovation-based designs?
- If our goal is to be better and special…as organizations, businesses, and workers…shouldn’t we try to use unique 21st Century EVAL-CULATIONS as new criteria?
Don’t ever be afraid of or limit the way you look at the value of initiatives. Better and Special deserve an always changing, always innovative measuring stick…plus it often causes FUN to be infused into your daily work.