November 5

To drive innovation, learn to look at the world in a different light.

Look at your hand. What do you see? Nothing-special perhaps; just perfectly ordinary fingers and a thumb, rings, a slight trace of dirt from all that gardening at the weekend?

Now think of all the things that your hand can do. Fingers tapping on a keyboard, creating reports, accounts or stories; a thumb gently wiping away a tear from a child’s face; a gesture to emphasise your point and aid communication; the warmth as you enfold another hand in yours. Creating, sharing, communicating, looked at in a different light your hand is special and unique to you in so many ways.

You see when it comes down to it; it’s all a matter of perspective. We tend to get tied up in day to day necessities or bogged down in the latest crisis with the result that those things which work, which are no trouble, are just left to get on with it. We don’t think about or appreciate our hands because they are just there doing what we want when we want. In work, we don’t think about or appreciate routine processes or people who get on with things simply because they plod on without causing a ripple in the business day.

But the world moves on, business moves on, customer requirements move on and all of those processes and people, which we have ignored for so long, are now way out of touch with what is needed to meet modern competitive advantage. In effect what we knew yesterday isn’t necessarily of value today and what we learn today may well be superseded tomorrow. We have to learn to look at the world differently and that means building a culture of innovation!

 Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.

Albert Einstein

Building a culture of innovation inside an organisation isn’t rocket science but neither is it an easy path to follow for those who are set in their ways. But for those who have embraced the concept of lifelong learning and intellectual growth, the move to an innovation pathway can be stimulating and rewarding. In essence it means learning to look at the world in a new light, ditching the “because we’ve always done it that way” mentality and actively embracing the drive to question, to experiment, to challenge and to create.

Along the way everyone from the CEO and the leadership team to the most junior of employees will have to learn to embrace concepts such as trust and empowerment as part of the drive to differentiate, to create an exceptional customer experience by building a strategic approach to innovation. As the innovation culture permeates the entire organisation people start to learn to communicate, to work together for the betterment of all. As processes adapt, individuals start to take accountability for their work and this can lead to the demand for up-skilling through a variety of training pathways.

On a note of warning, the decision to implement an innovation strategy is not a tick-box one-stop instant solution to business ills. Just as Socrates believed that “education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel,” the adoption of an innovation strategy is merely the opening up of a pathway, which can lead to an organisation becoming truly exceptional. Along the way it will take hard work, learning to think in new ways and to adopt different practices. But as long as the pathway is open and the route is carefully mapped out then it won’t take long for the world of possibility to open up.

So, look at your business. What do you see? Nothing special, just day-to-day routine? Look again and you may see an organisation, which is ready to learn, to adapt and embrace an innovation culture, which delivers the continual creation of powerful ideas and differentiated customer experiences which in turn will deliver 21st century competitive advantage and growth.

Everyone says they want or even need to innovate but few actually do. If you want to be one of the few, we can help you get there.

Got a question? Ask me…



Innovation Culture, Innovation Leadership, Innovation strategy

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