Innovation Is The Antidote for Mediocre Management

Innovation

Just reading an article in Forbes by Edward D. Hess on Innovation. Innovation is essentially chaos. Where many firms descend into the abyss of slowly moving mediocrity over fears of change, innovators curiously see opportunity in the entrenchment of others. In order to innovate effectively, we know from experience of Nokia, Microsoft over the years, RIMM and Motorola not all innovations are equal. One must be diverse in thinking as well as people. Where all think alike all innovate alike. Please share. 

Innovation has become a linchpin for inept leaders and mundane organizations to masquerade  behind action for effectiveness. They create innovation meetings, conferences with the same old faces with the same old thinking. Afraid to do the one thing that makes innovation roll, Innovate management and HR. In my experience all innovation programs fall short due to the bureaucratic malaise created by protective silos. These silos are developed by fear. A lack of engagement from frontline workers to those who should know better, management. Managers and leaders are afraid to speak honestly what must be said. Think I’m wrong? Look around your organization. Writes Hess:

“Most organizational environments won’t help us overcome our fear of failure and build our innovative thinking skills. That’s because most organizations exist to produce predictable, reliable, standardized results. In those environments, mistakes and failures are bad. That is a problem. To innovate, you must simultaneously tolerate mistakes and insist on operational excellence. Many businesses struggle with implementing that dual mentality.

How would you rate your ability to inspire effective innovations? Learn more. Go>

Here we can learn from exemplar companies like IDEO, Pixar, Intuit, W.L. Gore & Associates, and Bridgewater Associates. In those organizations, mistakes and failures are redefined as “learning opportunities.” IDEO takes it even further, characterizing failure as good because it helps people develop the humility that is necessary for empathy—a critical skill in user-centric innovation.

Please share. 

But in many workplaces, people do not “feel safe enough to dare.” They don’t necessarily feel that they can speak with candor up and down the organization. Can you tell your boss the truth?  Innovation occurs best in an “idea meritocracy,” a culture where the best evidence-based ideas win. There can’t be two sets of rules—everyone’s ideas must be subject to the same rigorous scrutiny. As Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, so bluntly said, “We all are dumb shits.” That’s why everyone at his company is engaged in a radically transparent “search for truth,” which involves candid feedback and a deliberate effort to “get above yourself,” to get past the emotional defenses that inhibit our thinking.”

Read full article via Why Is Innovation So Hard?.

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About

Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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2 comments on “Innovation Is The Antidote for Mediocre Management
  1. […] Innovation is essentially chaos. Where many firms descend into the abyss of slowly moving mediocrity over fears of change, innovators curiously see opportunity in the entrenchment of others. In order to innovate effectively, we know from experience of Nokia, Microsoft over the years, RIMM and Motorola not all innovations are equal. One must be diverse in thinking as well as people. Where all think alike all innovate alike. Innovation has become a linchpin for inept leaders and mundane organizations to masquerade behind action for effectiveness. They create innovation meetings, conferences with the same old faces with the same old thinking. Afraid to do the one thing that makes innovation roll, Innovate management and HR. In my experience all innovation programs fall short due to the bureaucratic malaise created by protective silos. These silos are developed by fear. A lack of engagement from frontline workers to those who should know better, management.  […]

    Like

    • Jim Woods says:

      Agreed! Just imagine an organization conducting a meeting announcing we are going to innovate. The pattern is laid forth. Then as the meeting ends this seemingly ambitious manager tho thinks he or she is communicating the mission ask, “Are there any more questions?” No one but the proverbial teachers pet speaks up to offer an obligatory comment. The meeting concludes with department heads returning to their office content innovation is on it’s way. Alas, nothing is ever accomplished. But as you noted it isn’t. People didn’t speak nor will they execute the “vision” because of a lack of trust. Their actions, if one can all it so, will be disengagement. Similar to the movies of the 50’s where zombie like people functioned but they didn’t.

      I think I could sit with a glass of lemonade and indulge in a splendid conversation with you.

      I quite enjoy great conversation. It is so rare. Indeed thank you.

      Like

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