Let’s Innovate! This commonly-heard statement around the corporate corridors attracts a variety of reactions from the depths of despair to the height of excitement. After years of ‘use and abuse’, this word has left its mark, swayed interpretations and facilitated heated debates. Resounding cries of ‘innovate, schminnovate’ ‘let’s go back to basics’ can be heard from every angle. My response to that would be ‘what specific basics do you seek?’
Innovation CAN be kept very simple. It’s simply a process of change. Change can be kept simple. It’s simply a process that moves us from a current state to a desired state, with the involvement of some inputs – in the case of innovation, inputs such as free play and exploration, reflection and adoption.
And then the questions flow!
- But when I let them play and tell them to change, they still don’t!
- Should it always be that there’s something wrong for a need of innovation to exist?
- What do you suggest we do when promotions and transfer stop or slow down the innovation process at work?
These questions are welcomed warmly as the ensuing discussions steer innovation away from the scientific and technical process re-engineering and into the realm it deserves to be – the realm of leadership and corporate culture!
Leadership is about change! Why would we seek innovation (change) if we are not yet cracking the leadership mystery. The leadership mystery is really very simple and not a mystery at all – simply identify the key things that are important to each and everyone of us, let’s walk the talk with consistency and visibility, let’s all ‘hold’ the dream as it is so ‘real’. Only then will people WANT to innovate and find new ways!
Afterall, with leadership at the core of culture, and culture being the glue that holds our organizations together, if we don’t behave as leaders, our organizations most certainly will suffer from incongruence, lack of productivity and little or no pride and sense of belonging. So why was it that people will not innovate?….hmmmm!
Debbie Nicol, Managing Director of Dubai-based ‘business en motion’. and creator and author of the ‘embers of the world’ series, is passionate about change. She works with both traditional and contemporary toolkits that move businesses and executive leaders ahead, whilst working on leader and organizational development, strategic change and corporate cultures.