Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.com/©Mike_Kiev
I facilitate a number of executive forums and I find that the question I am presented with most often is, “Shawn, what is innovation,” and more importantly, “how will it help me in my business?”
Innovation is such a broad topic, I wanted to break this into a two part series. In part 1 we are going to talk about the essence of innovation. In Part 2 then, I will talk about the factors that influence innovation and how you can create perpetual results from capitalizing on innovation within your own organization or association.
Whats at the heart of innovation?
This idea came to mind last week when I was sitting in a boardroom with the CEO of a very large association. He said, “Shawn, we need to inject powerful ideas into our association to help us sustain into the future, but the thought of capturing the ideas that our members, employees and board have seems impossible?
To answer this question we begin with a basic definition of innovation. Ultimately, innovation is bringing ideas into fruition. It is not enough to have an idea; there must be valuable outcomes that result from those ideas.
Here’s what I suggested to this CEO. If you really want to bring innovation to the forefront of your association and how you are operating today here are some things to think about.
1. Capturing ideas. There are ideas everywhere from members who are calling in, employees who are on the front lines, supervisors, managers, board members, you name it. Everybody has ideas. There has to be a place in which you collect them. You might call this the idea room or the idea board.
2. Capitalizing on ideas. With ideas in hand we must have a process in place with which the ideas can be vetted. Which of those ideas make the most sense for us to initiate today? Which make sense to introduce tomorrow? Which make no sense at all?
3. Acting on ideas. With the ideas now categorized and prioritized, the process to formulating action plans can begin. For every idea consider the shortest path to achieving the desired outcome, which is often assessed by working backwards from the idea itself.
So if you wanted to inject innovation into your association or organization, consider a method to collect ideas; a process for vetting and validating ideas; and a forum for developing rapid action plans for transitioning from the idea to an outcome.
In my second blog post I will discuss some proven methods to influence and inspire innovation, creating more ideas of greater significance. I hope you will join me.
Question: Where are the greatest sources of new ideas in your organization today? How can you influence innovation and capitalize on new ideas?
© Shawn Casemore 2014. All rights reserved.