Instill a Culture of Innovation

During a recent talk at the Project Management Institute’s annual conference we discussed incorporating innovation into managing projects and project teams. We spent time speaking of how to transition from idealizing to creating valuable outcomes, engaging others to instill a culture of innovation.

A point that the participants found most interesting was the fact that innovation does not just arise from creative ideas, but in essence exists at the intersection of three (3) fundamental components. With these components in mind we can instinctively initiate innovation.

Expertise and Knowledge: A gentlemen who attended the conference spoke of his hobby of improving the performance of domestic cars, like the Ford Focus and Fusion. When the group brainstormed ideas to further expand and improve his hobby, they knew from whence they spoke as everyone had driven a car. To obtain valuable ideas, the participants in innovation must possess the expertise and knowledge to understand how their idea might be applied.

Creative Thinking: Within each of this resides the ability to think creatively. Unfortunately our methodology, time constraints and environment can stifle our creative thinking. To increase creativity we discussed creating distance from our problem, by either leaving the situation physically, or taking time to let our creative juices flow. We can think more creatively when we step away from our methodology, environment and constraints, and let our brain shift into action.

Motivation: Although we are each motivated intrinsically, there are very common extrinsic rewards that can support nurturing increasing creativity and move valuable and pragmatic ideas. In the session we discussed means to continually motivate teams to offer new ideas and solutions. Specifically we spoke of the importance of ensuring transparency in progressing employee ideas. This included capturing ideas and providing a pragmatic way of tracking and displaying progress of the idea as it is considered, tested and integrated. Companies like Motorola use a portal, however even software such as SharePoint can be powerful.

Question: Are you nurturing the right environment for innovative ideas to flourish? How can you ensure the right expertise, creative thinking and motivation exist in order to initiate innovation amidst your team?

© Shawn Casemore 2017. All rights reserved.

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