Seeing innovation

Roland at NESTA writes

I firmly believe that the solutions to many (if not all) of our innovation problems are already out there somewhere; it’s just that we need to get much better at finding them. We all know that too much ‘reinvention of the wheel’ happens within all organisations. But in an ever more connected world, the core innovation skill set is now migrating away from invention capability, and more towards innovation search capabilities.

He illustrates his point with this rather humbling video, which completely caught me out.

This makes sense to me. I’m very sceptical of much that is said about innovation in organisations. As soon as someone introduces their “innovation process” I feel my defences going up. There seems to be a prevailing idea that innovation is scarce. For example, in meetings people worry about “capturing” outcomes as if they are rare wild animals that might get away from us fumbling humans. Along with this goes the equally dodgy notion that we need experts to control this innovation, lest it get contaminated with impurities. We end up with “stage gates” and an array of ugly flow charts all puporting to increase innovation but probably just adding layers of bureaucracy and humbug.

I remember attending an Open Space workshop which was more than averagely free flowing, some might say chaotic. Afterwards, a few strident critics moaned about the lack of “action planning” and stated, as fact, that nothing useful came of it. In fact, the sponsor found eight different projects to fund in the course of the day and its aftermath. The critics had been far too busy bloviating about process to notice a single one.

Can’t help thinking of Casteneda’s line:

Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance… If we are capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things happen to us. One, we free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and, two, we provide ourselves with enough energy to enter into the second attention to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe.

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One thought on “Seeing innovation

  1. iMedia

    Innovation “scarce”?

    Perhaps innovation isn’t as rare as many people suppose. Executive coach and facilitator Johnnie Moore suggests that innovation isn’t scarce – as long as process and certainty aren’t the primary goals.

    Reply

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