Tag Archive | innovation leadership

I, Roadblock of Innovation

IMG_3885Creating new service in a established organisation is hard, very hard if you take the word for the speakers of last weeks breakfast seminar, Perkele! held at the Tennispalatsi movie theatre.

Unsurprisingly, the big two challenges are the onboarding of fellow employees and fighting the rigid organisational structures that are built to support the existing businesses.

When one is creating something new, one is bound to step on somebody’s toes, bend the rules, or work on the gray area, which all are likely to cause friction in the organisation. According to a speaker, the best indicator that one is doing something great is the amount of negative phone calls one gets from ones colleagues, saying that something one does is impossible or shouldn’t be attempted at all.

But why do we become such roadblocks of innovation and not embrace the change?

Having worked for more than fifteen years in the ict services industry, I’ve already witnessed first-hand the shifting priorities of co-workers from eager and opionated to playing it safe at the workplace.

The older we grow, the more time we’ve had to explore and refine our taste. Our life may focus more around the family. All this leads to the fact that we are spending less time discovering new things and more doing the things we love.

DiffusionofideasMy perception is that we all move in the Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovatios scale from innovators to laggards almost unknowingly, if we do not put conscious effort into exposing ourselves to new ideas. The less we are exposed, the more the new ideas start to frighten us and more likely we are to hold on to the facts and working patterns we already are familiar with.

So then, how to get colleagues out of their shells?

According to one of the Service design thinking luminaries, Marc Stickdorn, the best way to get people involved and cheer for the project is to create a safe place, where everybody can participate and fail without fear of losing face.

To create a safe environment the colleagues need to be led to forget rank, job description or competence and get to know the others personally. This might take time, but luckily there are plenty of methods that help to set the tone of the workshop or a meeting where new business is being innovated.

The simplest thing one can do is to hold a meeting standing up. This might not sound a big of a change, but standing up people are using their bodies more to communicate and it prevents them checking email or computer, making them present in the meeting. Better yet, hold the meeting walking outside. Some people even go as far as in Helsinki, where employees bring their colleagues to their homes to work for a day.

Another good tip from Mr Stickdorn is to start a workshop with a pair discussion, where either of the pair starts with a phrase “Let’s go on a trip together, I’d like to travel to X” and the another responds “Yes, but Y”. The original person counters “Yes, but Z”. After two minutes, do the exercise again, but this time, instead of “but”, say “and”. It is remarkable how the tone is different in these two discussions.

When ones colleagues get to know each other well, they are less likely to frown and reject new ideas.

And if there are something that have been proven time and time again, an enthusiastic person with an idea is way more powerful than any organisational hurdle, which is there only to keep the business standing still.

Cut the corners first – Harness the power of futures thinking

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“Futures are about knowledge. We must be inspired about futures. Futures are also about storytelling. “ explained lecturers Minna Koskelo and Anu K. Nousiainen.

In the course Futures thinking and foresights methodologies we learned how futures thinking is linked to service design and how it can be applied in business. Through hands-on workshops lot of new things were learnt and here are some key learning points.

Decision-making boosted up with futures foresights

Futures foresight methods can help companies to make right decisions to captivate their own blue ocean strategies. When identifying preferable futures and setting trend indicators to follow, companies can improve decision-making. Futures insights offers companies more flexibility to the strategy, support their risk management and produce new business ideas.

There is not just one future, but a whole range of possibilities. Futures foresight is a process of observing current world, finding new curves of change and seeking for opportunities of tomorrow. It is not just about guessing and predicting, but it is systematic approach that combines multiple fields and methods in order to produce proposals of possible, probable and preferable futures, which organizations can use to make right decisions.

Futures research is a combination of intuition and documented information. It is a creative discipline. There are various frameworks of futures foresight process where one can choose the most suitable one and it can be applied in the innovation process together with service design methods.

Trends and signals: hints of new business opportunities

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