Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nothing Is More Powerful Than A Good Idea

"Creative thinking is today's most prized, profit producing possession for any individual, corporation or country. It has the capacity to change you, your business, and the world."
- Robert P Crawford, 1954, The Techniques of Creative Thinking
Ideas remain just as powerful and important for us today as they were for Crawford in 1954 - if not more so.

Crawford believed that one of the reasons why ideas are powerful is that "new ideas ... possess within them the power to remake a world."

The reason that innovation can transform your working world is that innovation is unlike most other kinds of change experienced by your organization. Innovation generates ideas and opportunities from within your organisation. With innovation, change is not imposed on the organization, by external forces, or by projects or reforms driven by leaders.

There are three major benefits of change brought about through innovation processes:
  1. Because changes are generated from within, and because the ideas selected in the innovation process are high value and realize exciting opportunities, your people tend to endorse and boost these changes - rather than resisting it as they may do for other forms of change.
  2. Because the process of generating ideas, selecting the best ones and implementing them for results engages people in to the world of vision and possibility, effective innovation tends to motivate and engage your staff.
  3. Because these changes may include valuable suggestions for improving your organizational processes, systems and ways of working, these suggestions tend to gradually rework and improve your organization from the inside, with both problem identification and solution identification coming from the people who know what needs fixing.
    If you want to transform your organization, and the world - and perhaps in the journey change yourself - a free flow of new and powerful ideas is a good place to start.


    bhc3 said...

    Hi Lauchlan -

    Love this post. There is a special quality to innovation at work versus managing projects, attending meetings, producing documents, etc. Ideas are as much a personal element as they are a benefit to organizations.

    In a post I wrote, Why Ideas Are Core to Enterprise 2.0, I identified four elements that follow a similar vein to what you describe here:

    1. Ideas are me
    2. Ideas are the basis for finding like-minded colleagues
    3. Ideas are social objects
    4. Ideas become projects

    Involving employees more deeply in the innovation process is beneficial on a number of fronts.

    Hutch Carpenter
    Spigit, Inc.

    Dr. Lauchlan A. K. Mackinnon said...

    Hi Hutch

    Thanks for commenting! I think your article raises some really interesting points.

    I think that "ideas are about me" is really powerful. I think that when it is MY idea or OUR idea, then people are enrolling in and engaging with the idea for themselves, it is not being imposed upon them. This means that instead of potential resistance to change, there is a high level of enthusiasm for it. Innovation is one of the few forms of change that people readily tend to embrace. This has massive potential for change management and how we lead change.

    The tendency of innovation activity to help form new relationships and connections, innovation done well has a tremendous potential to deliver intangible benefits such as greater levels of motivation, enhanced teamwork, greater staff retention levels, an increased ability to attract high quality candidates for roles, and increased sharing of knowledge.

    Your 'ideas are social objects' point is also very interesting. It is fascinating to watch those 'social objects' in action, such as for example with time lapse photography of an Open Space event: eg

    Kind Regards,