Wednesday, November 23

Innovation Alchemy 

Which is more important to innovation: people, process or environment? Columnist Michael Schrage finds it isn't the answer you'd expect. Sure, you need innovators, but if you haven't got processes in place for them to drive their innovative thinking, or an environment that nurtures it, you might as well have automatons. But the big question is, which matters more: process or environment? Read the article here:

Schrage nails it and nails it good. My marketing and innovation firm (www.businessdna.org) is often called in to work on the 'people' side of innovation and creativity in business. The first questions we ask are:

1. What's the current environment like for innovation?
2. What processes are in place to support the goals of the program after we "leave the building"?

These are two of the thorniest questions... Clue: "just come in and do the program for our folks, and we'll figure out the rest as we go" is not usually an early indicator for success!

We tell clients that "preparing the soil is much more important than having award-winning seeds" when it comes to innovation capability. Even the best, most creative people will not perform and produce the results you want unless you have the environment and processes in place to support them!!

Oh, and please keep in mind that Schrage's concepts here go FAR beyond the role of CIO and the IT function. EVERY department and business unit -- and EVERY leader (and every organization!) -- could benefit greatly from his advice.

Monday, November 21

Thanks for everything! 

Have you remembered to be thankful for all your business blessings this year?

Take a minute. Write them down, if you like. Here are some thoughts to get you started:

Be thankful for your job
There are plenty of people who don't have 'em, and maybe you've been one of them. But if you aren't, that's reason enough to be thankful.

Be thankful for your staff
If you have good people doing good work, you're in luck. I just hired my new "Vice President of Everything" - and he's an overall genius and a beautiful human being, so I'm thankful for that!!

Be thankful for customers
Because, remember, without customers, none of us eat!

Be thankful for slow competition.
How are you beating the other guys? What are you doing that they haven't caught on to yet? What are you doing that they might actually be afraid to copy?

Be thankful you're in a small business
There are always going to be days you wish you were part of a bigger machine, but in a smaller organization you likely have more control and a different kind of relationship with your colleagues.

Be thankful you're in a big business
I just finished delivering some negotiating training for the msn ad sales team at Microsoft in San Francisco. A few weeks earlier, I helped IBM in Tucson with a 2-day seminar on "The Art of Influencing Others." Those folks were thrilled to be working for two of the largest and most resource-rich organizations on the planet. They may have more layers to work with, but they also have the leverage to go with it!!

Be thankful for new opportunities
Surely you got to try something new this year. What'd you learn? Aren't you glad?

Be thankful for the people you can go home to
Because, really, balance is crucial. Supportive family and friends are what will get you through the rougher times in your business. After a rough day in the entrepreneurial jungle, often the first family member I come home to is my dog, Woofie, and she always offer some much needed support (and kisses!). Of course, she's also a fellow entrepreneur, with her own website!

Be thankful for breaks However much you love your job, you need to rest from it sometimes. That doesn't always happen, but when it does, isn't it nice? So this Thanksgiving, turn off the cell phone, give the PC a rest, leave the Blackberry on the dresser... and enjoy some good old fashioned single-tasking with family and friends.

Please pass the cranberry sauce...

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