As always, business is changing. Ever since the middle half of the last century, we have continued to shift our economy from agriculture -> industrial -> services. And underneath this evolution is the revolution of technology that makes it all work. These shifts have also allowed us to evolve away from “command & control” management and use more leadership techniques which are often encased in initiatives such as: Employee Engagement, Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality.
Covid Has Accelerated The Shift From Management to Leadership
Covid has accelerated this trend toward leadership. Managers have now learned that much knowledge and service work can be done from anywhere. We have proven that our organization works without needing people within eyesight.
Our new working arrangements produce a lot of good, like work-life balance and time that is re-claimed from needless travel. But benefits come with risks. If much of our knowledge work becomes strictly transactional then how do we engage our employees, and especially new ones, in the broader life of our culture and company. How do we encourage employees to contribute beyond their daily transactions, particularly when we often demonstrate that all jobs are temporary?
The Role of Innovation in our Emerging Business Life
Trending toward a transactional and remote workforce does not give us license to be mediocre. Our organizations, whether public, private, or not-for-profit, must stay healthy and relevant. But how do we do this with a distributed, mobile, hybrid workforce? We see that Innovation can be part of the answer.
A fundamental characteristic of Innovation is that it is people centric. Our civilization has survived in large part because humans are inquisitive. Creativity, to some degree, exists within all of us. Creating a better tomorrow is a primal drive and it is free. We will express our creativity at work when it is allowed, but if it is stifled we still express ourselves in our personal lives by climbing rocks, planting gardens, and dreaming about riding the next rocket launch out to space.
Our creativity and our ideas connect us to Innovation. We know how diversity and the intersection of perspectives are key ingredients that stimulate creativity. We also know that ideas like to bump into other ideas in search of a better idea that eventually moves from an air diagram to reality.
How to use your creative instinct
How can we use this creative instinct in our changing workplace to get “ideas from everyone, everywhere?” Well, some of it is art but most of it comes from understanding and using rigorous and proven innovation processes and tools. For example:
- We know that people need to learn how to diverge before they converge. They need to let go of the present before they can build a future.
- We need to get people off the spot they’re standing on. We need to start in the future before we can see a new present.
- We know that finding new answers comes from asking new questions and new questions come from those outside the inner circle.
- We know that people learn best when they are interacting with stakeholders to constantly test and refine their ideas.
We are not talking about Innovation theatre. Sure, when people involve their ideas in renewing the organization it will make them feel good; however, our aiming point goes beyond a caring culture and is always targeted at business impact.
Unleash the Innovative energy in your organization
Your organization will either move forward or plateau. We know how to unleash the Innovative energy in your organization to move beyond a transactional business to a purposeful one. Initiatives such as Employee Inspired Innovation will give your employees a lifelong skill that will bond them to the greater idea that is your company.