41 Ways Business Leaders Can Foster a Culture of Innovation
Yes, we know you want your organization to be more innovative. And yes, we know you want to improve your organization's culture of innovation. The best place to start? With YOU.
1. Give up needing to be the smartest person in the room.
2. Seek out people who think differently than you do.
3. Reward new thinking.
4. When you delegate, delegate.
5. Listen more, tell less.
6. Create an environment where no idea is considered dumb.
7. Be a learner, not a know-it-all.
8. Require that 30% of all budget proposals include innovative
products, processes, strategies, business models, or management
9. Celebrate failures and learn from them.
10. Don't rush to resolve differences. Tolerate ambiguity while
gaining a deep understanding of the thought processes underlying
11. Surface conflict and support minority positions.
12. Let go of your way of doing things.
13. Explore the territory before seeking a destination.
14. Reward people who disagree with you.
15. Protect the new from the old.
16. Get feedback to test whether what you think you communicated is what people actually heard.
17. Do whatever is necessary to deeply engage employees in the realm of the possible.
18. Do whatever is necessary to create widespread understanding and commitment to a shared vision of the future.
19. Reward teamwork and unselfish effort -- not individual heroics.
20. Accept as much of yourself as you can.
21. Recognize the talents of those around you and leverage them to the max.
22. Pave the way for your subordinate's success.
23. Develop all your reports to be your successor.
24. Provide very specific, timely, behavior-based positive feedback.
25. Begin your feedback with what you like about a new idea.
26. Make the path to considering, evaluating, and deciding on new ideas clear and easy to navigate.
27. Look behind "wild ideas" for potential new directions.
28. Never write anyone off. Try to understand where they are coming from before judging them.
29. Don't forget that everything you do is scrutinized for meaning.
30. Spend at least 20% of your time in two-way communication with people at all levels of your organization -- and spend most of this time listening, not explaining.
31. Be intentional and deliberate. Be clear about what you are trying to achieve and test whether that is what you are getting.
32. Stick your neck out for what you believe in and value.
33. Acknowledge when you don't know -- and rely on others to help you figure it out.
34. Give the work back. Your job is to get the best that everyone has to give -- not come up with all the answers yourself.
35. Eliminate fear from the workplace. Foster excitement and commitment.
36. Acknowledge when you are wrong. Don't defend yourself. Just learn from your mistakes.
37. Engage others in the exploration of what is possible. (Don't create unnecessary limits).
38. Keep your organization in the zone of "productive disequilibrium." Resist efforts to revert to the "tried and true."
39. Increase freedom and accountability. Let employees experiment with whatever approaches they think are worth exploring while remaining accountable for results. Let them own the "how." You own the "what".
40. Provide timely feedback and data to everyone so they can identify what is working and what needs fixing.
41. Remember that the only person you can change is yourself.
-- Barry Gruenberg
VIRTUAL TEAMWORK CARDS
If you are looking for a simple way to improve teamwork in your organization, click on the "We're All In This Together" banner in the sidebar.
What you'll get is a series of 53 Teamwork Cards newly published by the writers of this blog, Idea Champions.
Each card describes a quality of a high performing team and then poses a question for reflection.
The cards spark dialogue, insight, and the kind of positive changes that increase a team's ability to accomplish the seemingly impossible.
If you want to license Teamwork Cards for your intranet, click here.March 22, 2011
Water for the Thirsty
Here's a real-world innovation that inspires:
More than 180 bloggers from around the globe are uniting today (World Water Day) to raise $10,000 and bring clean drinking water, each year, to 3,600 people in India.
The project is a brainchild of four U.S. bloggers who want to make a difference -- and are doing so via this project.
They note, on their blog, that 1/3 of all hand pumps installed in the last 20 years in developing countries are now broken. Four thousand children are dying every day due to the lack of clean drinking water.
The money raised for World Water Day will not go to drill more wells, but instead will go towards training and employing hand pump mechanics. A brilliant idea.
The mechanics will earn a steady income (getting themselves out of poverty) and will save lives at the same time -- turning water back on for thousands of people in need each year.
And, as an extra bonus, the Prem Rawat Foundation will provide a matching grant for the funds that are raised -- doubling the amount of people who will be receiving clean drinking water.
My request to you? Please donate $20 to this worthy cause today. Click here to find out how.March 21, 2011
Peeking Into the Future...
March 20, 2011
Einstein on Mistakes
- Albert EinsteinMarch 19, 2011
Products of Our Imagination
We now interrupt this highly inspiring, thought provoking, mostly unmonetized innovation blog to pay the bills.
If you are looking for a simple way to think outside the box and spark some real innovation in your company, take a look at two cool products from the people who bring you this blog -- our Silver Innovation Kit and our Platinum Innovation Kit.March 16, 2011
Be There Then
"You can't just
what they want
and then try to
give that to them.
By the time
you get it built,
- Steve JobsMarch 13, 2011
Funny and All Too True
March 11, 2011
Music to My Ears
March 09, 2011
The 30 Most Popular Blog Postings
In case you haven't noticed it yet, the Heart of Innovation's most popular blog postings (as rated by Postrank) are now conveniently at your disposal in the sidebar under the creatively named headline "Most Popular Postings."March 06, 2011
The World's Most Typical Person
Before you watch this, pause a few seconds and see if you can guess what the world's most typical person looks like...March 05, 2011
Every once in a while a really good deal comes along. Like the one described below, for example...
If you're committed to "living the life of your heart's desire," could use a little coaching, but don't have the moolah to pay for it, read on.
For the merry month of March, the extraordinarily kind Lynn Kindler is offering complimentary 15-minute Cut to the Chase coaching sessions on a first-come, first served basis (10:00 am - 12:00 pm, Austin, Texas time.)
What is "Cut-to-the Chase" coaching?
Explains Lynn: "Each of us has the knowledge and wisdom inside of us to live the life of our heart's desire. CTC coaching begins there and asks each person to step up to who they are and get moving towards what they really want in their life -- both personally or professionally."
Think of Lynn as the fulcrum to help you move the rock that's been blocking your path.
And if you've been moaning about not being able to afford coaching, cease and desist! Lynn is offering her sessions for free -- no strings attached.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 512.775.4260
What, Exactly, IS the Box?
"Innovation" is the holy grail for most organizations. Everyone wants it. Everyone talks about the need to "get out of the box" and do something different. But there's a huge gap between the rhetoric and the reality.
The reasons are many -- but the biggest reason is this: No one really knows what the so-called box really is.
And because we don't, we end up shadow boxing imaginary monsters -- coming up with untold processes, protocols, and pep talks that don't really get to the heart of the matter. Not a good idea.
So, dear aspiring innovator -- what do YOU think the box is?
Next week, in this space I will share my current understanding of the box, name all six sides -- and kick start the conversation of how you, your organization, and the rest of world can get out of it.March 02, 2011
Got the Process Improvement Blues?
March 01, 2011
The Hole In the Soul of Business
If there was an Oscar to be given out for Management Revolution (or better yet, Management Revelation), I would award it to Gary Hamel, author of The Future of Management, Leading the Revolution, and a truckload of other leading edge materials on how to reinvent management.
Gary is the real deal -- a great combination of head and heart. He's got the in-the-trenches experience to know what he's talking about and he's got the head-in-the-clouds aspirations of a true visionary.
Here's a recent blog posting of his that rings very true for me.
I like to think of Gary as the Eric Clapton of management consultants. Go, Gary, Go!SNEAK PREVIEW: The President's Speech
Apparently, a sequel to The King's Speech is already underway. According to my sources, it should be in theaters by June. Here's the trailer.