If this time has offered any opportunity to us, it is the radical breaking of convention that businesses, brands and individuals have had to respond and adapt to.
It can certainly feel frustrating to have business teams scattered and separated by isolation – communication becomes challenging, the pace of progress is slowed and the sense of togetherness we aim for in a team feels somewhat lost.
However, there is a significant opportunity that comes with the scattering of a team that business leaders would do well to utilise as we slowly begin returning to regular routine.
We find ourselves this week amidst one of the most unprecedented challenges the world has seen: a pandemic, declared by the World Health Organisation as a global public health emergency. Had we told ourselves just two months ago at the start of the year, when we were all optimistically organising our 2020 plans and resolutions, that a surprise like this was on its way, we would not have believed it.
How would you respond if you were told at a job interview, ‘Tell me something that you have invented’? This is exactly what Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says to new employees, in his effort to build and maintain a culture of innovation across all facets of the business.
If you ask any high school teacher what the biggest killer of class productivity is in a class of students after lunch they will tell you, in more or less the same words, it is inertia – the tired drag of disinterested students who will not act unless acted upon by an external force, often in the form of a frustrated teacher. The same goes for large and mature organizations. In business, just as it is in nature, size is almost always inversely related to agility, and inertia is the biggest killer of progress and productivity.
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Six hours’ train ride south of Stockholm in the Swedish town of Helsingborg, you will find one of the more interesting museums you’re ever likely to come across. What is most remarkable about this museum is what it celebrates. Inside you will find no exhibits commemorating triumphs of human ingenuity of creativity – rather, you will encounter exhibit after exhibit celebrating, of all things, failure. That’s right, an entire museum dedicated to many of the greatest stuff ups, misfires and train wrecks of human history.
Few things are discussed with more enthusiasm in the business world of our day than innovation and creativity. However, implementing innovation within organisations is a much more challenging task. It requires radical risk-taking and unhindered creativity within a culture of boldness. Creating this culture involves sacrificing time, effort and a lot of comfort but the rewards are great. Here are 3 ways you can create a culture of boldness that will encourage the creativity and innovation you are aiming for in business.
“Don’t hire someone like you – you already know what you think.”
A client of mine repeatedly tells this to his clients, and he is absolutely right.
“Innovation is not an idea problem. It’s a recognition problem.”
This quote from David Burkus’s book, The Myths of Creativity, is spot on. Some of the best ideas for innovation, creativity and invention don’t lie somewhere ‘out there’; they are often right under our noses. The real skill in creativity is being able to identify and recognise the ideas that have the potential to be game changers. You have to know where to look.
Collaboration is not about gluing together existing ideas. It’s about creating ideas that didn’t exist until everyone entered the room.