Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Four Tips for Walking Your Innovation Talk
To produce a climate of innovation that trickles down from the top, start by following this effective formula for leadership role modeling
Lisa Bodell

Very powerful and very consistent with the tenants of MDG

Employees at all levels take their cues from management, which makes it essential that senior executives practice what they preach. And that means a climate of innovation must start at the top, ideally with senior leaders who are both inspiring and dedicated….
… Through years of innovation training for the world’s foremost companies, my firm, futurethink, has identified an effective formula for leadership role modeling. Use the four tips below to increase innovation activity and results from your entire organization: 
Define and communicate desired behaviors. Telling people to “be innovative” isn’t specific enough to create a culture that embraces change and new ideas. True leaders know they must define and communicate the innovative behaviors they want to see in order to get the results they need. 
Dedicate a budget. You can build an innovation sandbox within your own business, where a small, cross-departmental team of visionaries can collaborate and rapidly test new concepts. Appoint a passionate leader to shepherd ideas into business possibilities as quickly as possible. Assigning a specific fund for innovative projects is the ultimate indicator that senior management is putting its money where its mouth is. 
Host an idea competition and celebration… consider an internal competition between offices and a virtual award ceremony. Invite vendors or partners to participate in subsequent competitions to increase the diversity of perspectives and solutions 
Show tolerance for risk. In your own business, publicly define a smart risk in terms of time investment, financial impact, required resources, or prototyping. Demonstrate your tolerance for the risk by holding an annual failure ceremony or spotlighting a risky experiment to the rest of the organization. Use the company’s intranet to provide real-time updates even if the project isn’t on track. And regardless of the outcome, make a point to publicly commend the risk-takers. (the Decision Criteria we discuss in our class on the MDG process defines the boundaries for “smart risks”)

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