Author Archives: Mitch Ditkoff
If you want to create a culture of innovation in your organization, make sure you are matching people to projects that have passion for and have enough competence to succeed in. If you’re sensing that “things” aren’t going all that well, it may be due to the fact that you’ve got fish climbing trees. Your task? Find a pond for the fish… and find some lovers of tree-climbing to pick the fruit or swing from the branches. Problem solved. Don’t miss an article (3,300+) – Subscribe to our RSS feed and join our Innovation Excellence group! Mitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the author of “Awake at the Wheel”, as well as the very popular Heart of Innovation blog.
How many times have you participated in a brainstorming session, only to be underwhelmed by the utter lack of follow up? Unfortunately, in most businesses, this is often the norm. Here’s why: The output of the session is underwhelming. No one has taken the time, pre-brainstorm, to consider follow-up. No criteria is established to evaluate the output. No next steps are established at the end of the session. No champions (i.e. process owners) are identified. The champions are not really committed. The champions are committed, but under-estimate the effort. The ideas are too threatening to key stakeholders. No one is accountable for results. The project leader doesn’t stay in contact with key players and “out of sight, out of mind” takes over. The “steering committee” takes their hands off the wheel. The next brainstorming session is scheduled too quickly. The output of the session is not documented. No sponsors are … Continue reading
Many great breakthroughs have come in dreams. Rene Descartes got the concept for the Scientific Method in a dream. Elias Howe came up with the final design for the lock stitch sewing machine in a dream. August Kekule arrived at the formulation of the Benzene molecule in a dream. In the dream state, the subconscious mind arrives at solutions that the conscious mind is unlikely to discover during the daily grind — no matter much it obsesses, gathers data, or blames the “organization.” That’s why Thomas Edison and Salvadore Dali used to take naps during the day. They knew they got their best ideas in dreams, so they decided to wake up more than once a day. Yes! WHAT YOU CAN DO: Before going to bed tonight, bring to mind a compelling question, challenge, or opportunity that you’ve been wrestling with. As you fall asleep, stay focused on it. When … Continue reading
“Organizations are like gardens, not machines. We keep bringing in mechanics, when what we need are gardeners.” – Peter Senge If you want to establish a culture of innovation, there are three things you need to know: It’s possible It’s simple (but not easy) It’s just like growing vegetables Possible? Absolutely! Innovation is all about manifesting what doesn’t yet exist — but could (or, as the more entrepreneurial among us might say, manifesting the seemingly impossible). Simple? That, too. But simple isn’t always easy, especially since human beings have an odd tendency to make things complicated (especially business processes designed to increase innovation). Growing vegetables? Really? Yup. If you want the fruits of your labor to yield results, you will need to make the same kind of effort a gardener makes. Forget about theory for a moment. It’s a harvest you’re after. How to begin? Get the ground ready. Oh … Continue reading
If you work in an organization that wants a “culture of innovation” — you have two basic choices: outside/in or inside/out. Outside/in is the most common approach. It assumes that re-engineering systems or processes is the way to go. You know, crank up the rewards, have more brainstorming sessions, increase cross-functional collaboration, buy idea management software and so forth. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you, but it’s often just a slick way of repositioning the deck chairs on the Titanic. It looks good. It’s promising. You feel like you are doing something, but the ship is still sinking. The other approach — inside/out — is far less common. Understandably so. And why it’s less common is because it’s slower and, to a lot of left-brained business people, borders on voodoo. The inside/out approach doesn’t so much aim for “organizational change” as it does individual change (working on … Continue reading