For my second posting on this topic I am going to delve further into the individual responsibility surrounding innovation and how the organisation can assist in the process. The reason I am talking about this aspect today is the recent spate of announcements at the CES (as discussed on Engadget) on the mobile computing transformation to tablet PCs. I will get back to this linkage later.
So, what is the role of the individual in innovation? I could spend paragraphs explaining this in principles and characteristics, but it is actually simple, participation.
Every individual contributes to innovation through participation in the process. This participation varies greatly depending on your experience, desire, interest and passion for thinking about ideas.
The key for effective leadership in an innovative organisation is to “enable the individual”. The way to enable the individual is to provide the freedom or space for different types of individuals to participate in their own unique way. Understanding your team through the performance of Myer-Briggs type assessment will help in working out the best approach to providing the right environment for participation.
To provide the right environment you need to ensure that your provide the space for contribution, both physically and mentally. On the physical side that includes providing the right tools. One of those tools could be a tablet type product. The reason I call this out, is it has the capability to provide research information as well as taking notes for each individual. You could then use this information to collate feedback, which allows those people that are not “verbose” to participate in their own unique way. These types of devices also ensure the relevant facts can be presented in the meeting.
The physical environment also involves providing the right amount of time allocated to innovation, which would include meeting times, research time, and one-on-one discussion time. Just because someone sends a lot of information out through email or twitter types tools (i.e. Yammer) does not mean that information is the key to effective innovation. It should be considered as part of a suite of information sharing but is not the end of the discussion.
The mental environment is providing the individual with the necessary training, education and skills to be able to participate in an innovative discussion. The provision of the training, education and skills must be included in the organisation’s budget and employees must be encouraged to undertake this training. Quite a number of years ago I attended a training course called “Thinking on Your Feet” and this type of training encouraged the usage of different thinking techniques and processes to present on any topic.
Therefore, participation is the key to effective innovation and it is critical that the organisation provide the appropriate environment to perform this effectively.
And risk innovation is no different in this respect and although risk management is not seen as a principally innovative area of the organisation.