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.

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