March 07, 2013
The Seed of Innovation Moment

Let's cut to the chase: Innovation doesn't begin with processes, structures, and protocols. It begins with inspiration.

And where does inspiration come from?

It comes from inside the impassioned mind and heart of each person who works in your organization.

When people's mind/mindset is in the right place (i.e. open, curious, imaginative, communicative), your organization is home to thousands of daily, spontaneous opportunities for innovation to take root.

But all too often it doesn't.

And the reason it doesn't is because the people who work in your organization don't necessarily know how to maximize what I have come to call seed of innovation moments -- those naturally occurring interactions where inspired people share their new ideas with each other.

Idea seeds are being sown all the time, but all too often they are falling on hard ground.

The people you work with are originating -- and communicating -- their ideas more often than you realize. In meetings. In hallways. In elevators, parking lots, offices, bathrooms, cars, and lunch rooms. Many of these ideas are very intriguing -- or could be -- but they rarely take root.

Why not?

1. People are moving way too fast to recognize the "seed of innovation" moment.

2. People rarely think it's their job to listen and respond to the ideas of others.

3. People don't know how to give meaningful, innovation-sparking feedback on the fly.

The result?

Your organization is losing out on one of it's biggest natural resources -- the innate creativity and self-organizing brilliance of it's workforce.

Is there anything you and your organization can do about this? Yes, there is. Check back here next week for our proposed 10-point plan. I'd include it here now, but someone with a juicy idea is knocking on my door...

Why you don't get your best ideas at work
Illustration
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Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at March 7, 2013 08:08 PM

Comments

Mitch, I can totally relate!

The seeds of innovation are those fleeting thoughts that occur often spontaneously, and are gone just as quickly. If they're not captured, they're gone- often for good.

The greatest tools that I've discovered to support innovation are the same tools that support any process that relies on ideas...

A pen, paper and alert mind.

Always be mentally "on the lookout" for innovative ideas.
When you think you have one, write it down immediately.

These are simple tools that when coupled with a simple habit, can transform into some pretty powerful stuff!

Thanks, Mitch, for this reminder.

Jim Watson
http://bit.ly/efrxOg


Posted by: Jim Watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 29, 2011 02:45 PM

Agree completely! The struggle is how to create space and opportunities for reflection to occur so that those seeds can grow. Many organizations advocate for creativity and feedback but lack the culture or processes to support it. That's where I'd love to hear more ... about executing in those spaces.

Posted by: Jerrold McGrath [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2012 10:46 AM

Jerrold: Glad we're on the same page. Here is a link to number of articles of mine that address the culture of innovation challenge. The "devil", as always, is in the details -- translating theory into practice -- which always requires committed individuals to cross the chasm and OWN the opportunity. It can never be a program, initiative, or process, though lots of companies would prefer that it was. Instead, it requires attention, awareness, clarity, presence, commitment and a willingness to engage with others, moment to moment, in service to a compelling vision or goal. In today's ADD addled society, it is more of a challenge than ever. http://tinyurl.com/6s77ojp

Posted by: Mitch Ditkoff [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2012 10:56 AM

Agree 100%. I have myself become involved in creativity issues from not long ago and training is a must to get awareness of that "sparking moment". If your are trained, namely practice regularly, you get accostumed to it and then you're more prone to identify when it happens. Paper, pen, etc, are typical instruments to capture them. Nonetheless I read somewhere (a text from the prominent Arthur B. VanGundy, I think) an appealing solution for making creativity a core activity in organizations. Circles of creativity, was called. A real Think Tank embedded in the organization as a source of internal inspiration an innovation guidance.

Posted by: Hailtothecreativity.wordpress.com [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 8, 2013 03:19 AM

Agree 100%. I have myself become involved in creativity issues from not long ago and training is a must to get awareness of that "sparking moment". If your are trained, namely practice regularly, you get accostumed to it and then you're more prone to identify when it happens. Paper, pen, etc, are typical instruments to capture them. Nonetheless I read somewhere (a text from the prominent Arthur B. VanGundy, I think) an appealing solution for making creativity a core activity in organizations. Circles of creativity, was called. A real Think Tank embedded in the organization as a source of internal inspiration an innovation guidance.

Posted by: Hailtothecreativity.wordpress.com [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 8, 2013 03:23 AM

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