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Accelerate Excellence – Connect Innovation with Passion

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How can we accelerate innovation, change and business growth?  There are many barriers to overcome in the innovative process.  Here are FOUR steps to accelerate excellence:  connect with passion, adopt new models, champion change and measure total impact.

The FIRST step is to connect with passion: teams need to know why the search for innovation and better quality is so important, why it will really make a difference.  When teams are highly motivated to change fast, innovation easily follows.

Take for example a pharma company with an urgent problem for their product teams:  last month several young children died of poisoning because they were able to open a particular medicine bottle – despite a specially-designed cap.  In the same month, several grand-parents died because they were unable to open the same “child proof” containers.  You can be sure that their innovation team will be totally committed to find a solution, and will do so rapidly.  They will not need bonus incentives, or other rewards.  They will work day and night to find a solution, and will be proud to have done so.

The SECOND step is to develop new models – which may require broadening our teams.  We are often too close to problems to see solutions which are rapidly obvious to those who are disconnected from our situation.  Many large multinationals such as HP, GSK and Unilever are investing in Open Innovation models or crowdsourcing,  to develop radical, rapid solutions from their wider community, especially when looking for greener, lower carbon, more sustainable ways of doing business.  The other day I needed to solve a problem – I used Twitter to post a message to my 41,000 followers, who suggested several practical answers in seconds.  Life is too short to stay with last-century ways of innovating.

The THIRD step is to champion change.  As every innovation award shows us, creating the idea is only a small part of the story.  Many corporations I work with can point to great innovations that competitors rolled out – before them – even though they had proposed to their own leadership teams the same innovations some years ago.  Success or failure in business can depend on how many Champions you have, and how effective they are.  Turning ideas into new processes, procedures, products and systems requires courage, self-confidence, perseverance, energy and persuasion.   It’s a difficult process, with possible risks to the Champion along the way if things go wrong, which is why it so important to recognize Champions in Awards Ceremonies and in other ways.

The FOURTH step is to measure total impact – with the right metrics for excellence, customer satisfaction and performance.  Many great innovations die after launch because they were not properly supported by senior leadership.  A common reason is that the teams involved were not fully measuring the wider, and often less visible benefits.

 


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