Organizations are telling their people everyday to “Think Outside the Box”. The intention is a good one.
But, improved individual creative thinking, while necessary, is not sufficient to energize sustained new value creation for an enterprise. And, while my partners and I have been delivering very effective innovation skills training to individuals for 20 years (repeatedly validated by Level 4 ROI studies), we oftentimes find ourselves frustrated that so many organizational cultures actually work to steadily impede the new skills these individuals have acquired and are excited to use.
The problem is the unexamined box
A more robust approach is required. Institutional supports must be put in place to sustain the innovation culture that allows workers, managers and leaders to manifest the best of their creative potential in service of new value creation.
Organizations have boundaries, rules and real-life limitations.
Pretending otherwise is silly. We must think creatively and produce innovation within these real-world constraints. But, we can shape the box. We can build systems, policies, procedures, tools, incentives and new skills. We can energize innovation-fostering mindsets.We can apply metrics that allow us to monitor progress on both innovative output and innovation culture. The research about what kinds of organizational boxes sustain an innovation culture is clear. This would be a beautiful box to share, eh? One with rounded edges.
Here’s a short case study that demonstrates the need for a more robust approach to building an innovative culture. But we don’t leave you hanging; we then share the road map to that better approach.
Even if we never meet or talk to each other, we can still do something together: We can promote the thinking and action that leads to building great organizations that solve problems and see opportunities quickly. We can energize a virtuous cycle between the needs of a business and the needs of individuals. Both need to grow and mature. Building an organizational culture that is “innovation positive” also builds mature, emotionally intelligent individuals. I want a world filled with more of those kinds of folks.