It was a hot summer evening. Everybody was quite exhausted. I needed to make a decision. Is it Ashley’s idea or Hank’s? In our evaluation system, both ideas had received the same number of points. Both ideas seemed quite exciting, and both teams were quite ambitious. These ideas had survived our cumbersome incubation process, so now it was up to me.
The last three months had been quite busy for all of us. We had this “call for innovative ideas” at our company, and the theme was how to better serve our customers. We collected hundreds of ideas and were able to shorten the list to ten finalists within a month. We prepared Mock-ups and feasibility studies supported by business cases and our business mentors along the way.
Now we are the final stage. And we need to make a decision! The process and the budget have only given room for one of these two ideas. Why not be innovative about innovation? Why not be brave in our decision-making? Have you alreadyguessed what I had decided?
And the winner was… Ashley and Hank! We decided to go bold with both ideas. Many of our committee members immediately argued that the budget would not cater to a two-idea execution. Others had said that a two-idea execution is against the company processes. Another group argued that we didn’t have enough resources, and it’s far too risky to pursue two different ideas at the same time. My simple response was:
“We must get innovative about innovation.”
There is endless value in having a rich and vibrant ecosystem. We reached out to our partners and ask them if they would support one of the ideas with initial funds, mentoring, and integration services. Guess what?They not only agreed. They were more than happy to do so.
Ashley was super happy and super excited. Her team had worked very hard make their idea happen, and now they had done it. It was finally her turn to delight our customers with a great last-mile delivery offer.
Hank and his team were also very happy, and very surprised. They, much like the rest of the team, were not expecting two winners. Nonetheless, it had been so decided. Hank’s team was very glad. They had a great idea for a large size wending machine to be placed in crowded public places to serve our customers in a safe and secure way. Now they must deliver on this great initiative.
What is the creative rhythm of your organisation?
You see that innovation is both serendipitous but also and structured. You can’t allow ideas just to float around and then evaporate into the corporate void. You need to keep track of them and select the best ones.
Good ideas don’t just arrive by watching the sunset. You have to feed the creative genius of your people. Speaking out the ideas and experimenting with them doesn’t just happen. You have to foster a culture of openness and tolerance.
You must embrace “the new.”
What to do with the new kids on the block?
The greatest enemies of innovation are bureaucracy, hierarchy, dogma, and inertia. Unfortunately, the bigger the corporate entity, the more these inhibitors will appear. There are two ways to overcome those challenges. There are two ways. First, you shift the culture and mind set, fight against bureaucracy, eliminate inertia, flatten hierarchies and build a cool and agile working environment. Good luck with that…
Another way is to let go of those ideas. Free them up to go outside of your corporate boundaries and flourish. Incubation centres, co-working spaces, and innovation hubs are places of high energy, great talent, and everything else an ambitious team with a fresh idea needs to succeed.
Digital success is fuelled by fresh ideas.
All those heroes out there leading and working on digital transformation must acknowledge that you need more than just ordinary projects. You can’t expect to distinguish from your competition with just doing what everybody else is doing. All those mega technology projects, all those analytics you must do. But the difference will come with just a few extraordinary outlier ideas.
Please review our content concerning innovation in the context of digital transformation. To understand where you are, where you should go and how to get there, feel free to participate in our self-assessment and get your complimentary score and recommendations.
Looking forward to speaking to you in person, becoming a part of your digital journey, and helping you succeed.
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