Tag Archives: innovation teams

Bring Newness to Corporate Learning with Gamification

Bring Newness to Corporate Learning with Gamification

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

I was first introduced to gamification upon meeting Mario Herger, in 2012, when he was a Senior Innovation Strategist at SAP Labs LLC, in Israel, as a participant in his two-day gamification workshop for Checkpoint Security Software. It was an exciting and exhilarating journey into the playful and innovative world of gamification pioneers such as Farmville, Angry Birds, and BetterWorks. Creatively exploiting the convergence of trends catalyzed by the expansion of the internet, and by the fast pace of exponential technology development making gamification accessible to everyone.

Propelled further by people’s increasing desire to socialize and share ideas and knowledge across the globe. Coupled with their desire to learn and connect in a high-tech world, to be met in ways that also satisfied their aspirational, motivational, and recreational needs, as well as being playful and fun.

The whole notion of making gamification accessible to corporate learning simmered in my mind, for the next ten years, and this is what I have since discovered.

Evolution of the gamification market

In 2012 Gartner predicted that – Gamification combined with other technologies and trends, gamification would cause major discontinuities in innovation, employee performance management, education, personal development, and customer engagement. Further claiming that by 2014, 80% of organizations will have gamified at least one area of their business.

It seems their prediction did not eventuate.

In their Gamification 2020 report, Gartner then predicted that gamification, combined with other emerging trends and technologies, will have a significant impact on:

  • Innovation
  • The design of employee performance
  • The globalization of higher education
  • The emergence of customer engagement platforms
  • Gamification of personal development.

It seems this prediction is now an idea whose time has come!

According to Mordor Intelligence – The global gamification market was valued at USD 10.19 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 38.42 million by 2026 and grow at a CAGR of 25.10% over the forecast period (2021 – 2026). The exponential growth in the number of smartphones and mobile devices has directly created a vast base for the gamification market.

This growth is also supported by the increasing recognition of making gamification accessible as a methodology to redesign human behavior, in order to induce innovation, productivity, or engagement.

Purpose of gamification

The initial purpose of gamification was to add game mechanics into non-game environments, such as a website, online communities, learning management systems, or business intranets to increase engagement and participation.

The initial goal of gamification was to engage with consumers, employees, and partners to inspire collaboration, sharing, and interaction.

Gamification and corporate learning

The last two years of the coronavirus pandemic caused many industries to deal with their audiences remotely and combined with an urgent need for having the right technologies and tools to:

  • Reach out to, and connect with, both their employees and customers, in new ways

Acknowledging the range of constraints and restrictions occurring globally we have an opportunity to couple these with the challenges, disconnectedness, isolation, and limitations of our remote and hybrid workplaces.

While many of us are seeking more freedom, fun, play, and adventure, yet, we are still mostly bound to our laptops, TVs, and kitchens, and locked up within the boundaries of our homes, local neighborhoods, and hometowns.

  • Expanding knowledge, mindsets, behaviors, and skills

At the same time, this period has also created incredible opportunities for expanding our knowledge, and developing new mindsets, behaviors, and skills!

In different ways to help teams and organizations adapt, innovate, and grow through gamification, which increases our adaptability to flow and flourish and drive transformation, within a constantly, exponentially changing, and disruptive workplace.

Benefits of a gamified approach

Companies that have focused on making gamification accessible within their learning programs are reaping the rewards, as recent studies revealed:

  • The use of mobile applications gamified individually or as a complement to an LMS or e-learning platform has been shown to improve employee productivity by 50% and commitment by 60%.
  • That 97% of employees over the age of 45 believe that gamification would help improve work.
  • That 85% of employees are willing to spend more time on training programs with gamified dynamics.

Gamification is finally at an inflection point

The shift from face-to-face and live events to online created an opening for improving the quality of coaching, learning, and training experiences in ways that align with the client’s or organization needs and strategic business goals.

Keeping people and teams connected, engaged, and motivated in the virtual and hybrid workplace for extended periods of time is a key factor in business success.

Atrivity is a platform that empowers employees and channels to learn, develop, and perform better through games have identified eight trends influencing the growth and adoption of gamification including:

  • Gamification for Digital Events are here to stay, people are time and resource-poor, and will more likely attend a digital event rather than invest time and resources in travelling.
  • Gamification for Millennials and gen-Z is their new normal, being a generation who have grown up with, and become habitually attuned to Facebook and Instagram.
  • The start of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is speeding up and offers new creative approaches.
  • Remote onboarding becomes standard as we all adapt to a globalized and diversified work environment.
  • Gamification helps to reduce hospital strains with emerging telehealth innovations.
  • Customization of, and access to contents allows us to visit museums, galleries, libraries virtually
  • Knowledge evaluation metrics have become common proactive through the use of app-based dashboards and scorecards that provide gamified reward and recognition processes
  • Gamification is an Enterprise “must-have” tactic to attract and retain talent.

Corporate learning is also finally at an inflection point

Innovative new organizations like Roundtable Learning focus on co-creating one-of-a-kind training programs that utilize innovative technologies, reflect the client’s brand, and show measurable business results by enhancing traditional corporate learning practices and embracing more interactive, engaging programs.

This is what ImagineNation™ is collaborating with Binnakle Serious Games to bring newness, creativity and play, experimentation, and learning in gamified ways to enable people and teams to innovate, by making gamification accessible to everyone!

We have integrated technology and co-created a range of blended learning solutions:

  • Digital and gamified learning experiences for groups and teams.
  • Playful and experiential learning activities that deliver deep learning outcomes.
  • Co-creation of customized or bespoke blended learning programs that deliver what they promise.

Making corporate learning accessible, affordable, and scalable

Our aim is to make corporate learning agile, by making gamification accessible, and scalable to everybody, across all time zones, modalities, geographies, and technologies.

Where people have time and space to unlearn, relearn, reskill and upskill by engaging in and interacting with both technology and people:

  • Understand and learn new innovative processes, concepts, principles, and techniques and feel that their new skills are valued.
  • Retreat, reflect and explore, discover and navigate new ways of being, thinking, and acting individually and collectively.
  • Question, challenge the status quo and experiment with new ideas, explore effective collaborative analytical, imaginative, aligned problem-solving and decision-making strategies.
  • Safely fail without punishment, make and learn from mistakes, to iterate and pivot creative ideas and innovative solutions that really matter.

To meet our client’s short- and long-term learning needs in terms of innovation focus or topic depth and breadth. Through enhancing teaming, teamwork, and collaboration, by offering products and tools that make gamification accessible to suit all peoples learning styles, time constraints, diverse technologies, and cost needs.

Who was I to know that it would take another ten years for making gamification accessible enough to reach a tipping point!

An opportunity to learn more

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 9-weeks, starting Tuesday, May 4, 2022.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of an ecosystem focus,  human-centric approach, and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, and upskill people and teams and develop their future fitness, within your unique context.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Co-creating Future-fit Organizations

Co-creating Future-fit Organizations

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

In our second blog in this series of three, we opened the door to a threshold for a new kind of co-creative, collaborative and cohesive team spirit that catalyzes change through “innovation evangelism”. Focusing on building both internal and external talent, through empowering, equipping, and enabling internally cohesive and effective innovation teams.  They apply their collaborative and collective intelligence towards initiating open innovation initiatives co-creating future-fit organizations that are human-centric, adaptive, engaging, inclusive, collaborative, innovative, accountable, and digitally enabled.

Innovation evangelists are change catalysts who courageously experiment with different business models and processes, to crowdsource broad and deep innovation capabilities. Usually in new ways that breakthrough corporate antibodies and barriers and deliver sustainable, meaningful, and purposeful change.  Where, according to the recent Ideascale “Crowd Sourced Innovation Report 2021”crowdsourced innovation capabilities have grown and innovation output indicators like implementation rate and time to implement have improved. In fact, businesses that were able to rapidly adapt and focus on innovation(in 2020) are poised to outperform their peers in the coming years”.

Innovation teams don’t innovate

The purpose of an innovation team is to create a safe environment that unlocks organizational and its key external stakeholder’s collective intelligence and innovation agility (capacity, competence, and confidence) to build the capability to change as fast as change itself.

Where the goal is to create a high performing, connected, and networked workplace culture where people:

  • Understand and practice the common language of innovation, what exactly it means in their organizational context, as well as exactly what value means to current and potential customers as well as to the organization,
  • Develop a shared narrative or story about why innovation is crucial towards initiating and sustaining future success,
  • Have the time and space to deeply connect, collaborate, and co-create value, internally and externally with customers, suppliers, and other primary connection points to build external talent communities and value-adding ecosystems,
  • Maximize differences and diversity of thought within customers as well as within communities and ecosystems,
  • Generate urgency and creative energy to innovate faster than competitors,
  • Feel safe and have permission to freely share ideas, wisdom, knowledge, information, resources, and perspectives, with customers as well as across communities and ecosystems.

How innovation teams learn and develop

Sustaining success in today’s uncertain, unstable, and highly competitive business environment is becoming increasingly dependent on people’s and team’s abilities to deeply learn, adapt and grow. Yet most people and a large number of organizations don’t yet seem to value learning and adaptiveness as performance improvement enablers, especially in enabling people and teams to thrive in a disruptive world.  Nor do they understand how people learn, nor how to strategically develop peoples’ learning agility towards potentially co-creating future-fit organizations that sustain high-impact in VUCA times.

At ImagineNation™ we have integrated the four E’s of learning at work; Education, Experience, Environment, and Exposure with 12 key determining factors for co-creating future-fit organizations that sustain high-impact in VUCA times through our innovation team development, change, learning, and coaching programs.

Case Study Example

  1. Educational customisation and alignment

After conducting desktop research and key stakeholder sensing interviews, we customized our innovation education curriculum specifically to align with the learning needs of the innovation team.

We aligned the program design to the organization’s strategic imperatives, values, and leadership behaviors, we reviewed the results of the previous culture, climate and engagement surveys, as well as the range of business transformation initiatives. We then applied design thinking principles to “bring to life” the trends emerging, diverging, and converging in our client’s and their customer’s industry sectors.

Focusing on:

  • enabling people to perform well in their current roles,
  • building people’s long-term career success,
  • developing their long-term team leadership and membership development capabilities,
  • laying the foundations for impacting collectively towards co-creating future-fit organizations.
  1. Experiential learning a virtual and remote environment

We designed and offered a diverse and engaging set of high-value learning and development experiences that included a range of stretch and breakthrough assignments as part of their personal and team development process.

Focusing on:

  • encouraging people to engage in a set of daily reflective practices,
  • offering a series of customized agile macro learning blended learning options, that could be viewed or consumed over short periods of time,
  • engaging playful activities and skills practice sessions, with structured feedback and debrief discussions,
  • providing an aligned leadership growth individual and team assessment process,
  • introducing key criteria for establishing effective team cohesion and collaboration,
  • linking team action learning activities and evidence-based assignments to their strategic mandate ensuring their collective contribution towards co-creating future-fit organizations.
  1. Environment to support and encourage deep learning

We aimed at creating permission, tolerance, and a safe learning environment for people to pause, retreat, reflect, and respond authentically and effectively, to ultimately engage and upskill people in new ways of being, thinking, and acting towards co-creating future-fit organizations.

Focusing on:

  • developing peoples discomfort resilience and change readiness,
  • encouraging people to be empathic, courageous, and compassionate with one another, to customers as well as to those they were seeking to persuade and influence,
  • allowing and expecting mistakes to be made and valued as learning opportunities and encouraging smart risk-taking,
  • reinforcing individual learning as personal responsibility and team learning as a mutual responsibility and establishing a learning buddy system to support accountability,
  • offering a series of one-on-one individual coaching sessions to set individual goals and support people and the teams’ “on the job” applications.
  1. Exposure to different and diverse learning modalities

We designed a range of immersive microlearning bots by providing regular, consistent, linked, multimedia learning options and a constantly changing range of different and diverse learning modalities.

Focusing on:

  • providing an informative and targeted reading list and set of website links,
  • setting a series of coordinated thought leading webinars, videos, podcasts, and magazine articles aligned to deliver the desired learning outcomes,
  • outlining fortnightly targeted team application and reinforcement tasks,
  • helping the team to collaborate and set and communicate their passionate purpose, story, and key outputs to the organization to build their credibility and self-efficacy,
  • designing bespoke culture change initiatives that the innovation team could catalyse across the organization to shift mindsets and behaviors to make innovation a habit for everyone, every day.

Collectively contributing to the good of the whole

Co-creating future-fit organizations require creativity, compassion, and courage to co-create the space and freedom to discuss mistakes, ask questions, and experiment with new ideas. To catalyse change and help shift the workplace culture as well as crowdsource possibilities through open innovation.

In ways, that are truly collaborative, and energize, catalyze, harness, and mobilize people’s and customers’ collective genius, in ways that are appreciated and cherished by all. To ultimately collectively co-create a future-fit organization that contributes to an improved future, for customers, stakeholders, leaders, teams, organizations as well as for the good of the whole.

This is the final blog in a series of three about catalyzing change through innovation teams, why innovation teams are important in catalyzing culture change, and what an innovation team does, and how they collectively contribute toward co-creating the future-fit organization.

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of a human-centred approach and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more

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Innovation Teams Do Not Innovate

Innovation Teams Do Not Innovate

Guest Post from Janet Sernack

In our first blog in this series of three blogs, we reinforced and validated the importance and role of collaboration. We then described the range of emerging new, inspirational, and adaptive models that lean into complexity and catalyze and embed sustainable innovative workplace culture change. Where some organizations, like Alibaba, Disney, Google, Salesforce, and GE, developed their future fitness by courageously investing in catalyzing, igniting, and leading change through innovation teams.

Innovation teams are teams that don’t innovate!

Conventional team collaboration performance and development approaches are still relevant and foundational to long-term organizational success.  And, a new range of organizational needs are emerging in our fast-changing and disruptive world, that complement conventional team development processes including the importance of:

  • Providing a unified and holistic and systemic “collective mind” focussed on adding value to customers,
  • Being agile, focused, and in charge to make faster decisions,
  • Sharing resources and insights to reduce costs,
  • Working interdependencies to improve efficiencies and productivity,
  • Shifting focus from being competitive towards co-creating ecosystems to solve bigger, more complex problems, to lead, embed, and sustain value-adding change in a disruptive world.

According to the authors of Eat, Sleep Innovate, an innovation team is formed to develop “something different that creates value” and do this best in a culture where such behaviors come naturally.

These behaviors include:

  • Curiosity
  • Customer obsession
  • Adeptness to ambiguity
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment
  • Accountability

Purpose of innovation teams

The purpose of an innovation team is to create an environment that unlocks an organization’s collective intelligence (capacity, competence, and confidence) and builds the capability to change as fast as change itself.

Usually, through providing mentorship, coaching, and learning process in ways that align, engage, enable, equip and leverage peoples’ collective intelligence to:

  • Adapt to higher levels of ambiguity and uncertainty,
  • Challenge the status quo and help break a conventional business as usual habits, leadership styles, and comfortable ways of working,
  • Provoke future “fast forward” (horizon three) thinking,
  • Support the implementation of digital and organizational transformational efforts,
  • Collectively and collaboratively drive innovation across organizations pragmatically and make it a reality,
  • Leverage synergies across ecosystems to solve complex problems and deliver increased value to customers.

Ultimately, to provoke and evoke future “fast forward” creative discoveries and experiment with new platforms and possible future business models to help guide future renewal and reinventions.

Delivering these, as smart and multi-disciplinary teams in ways that are timely, agile, and disciplined that potentially support and bring significant value to customers, the market, and to the organization.

Unconventional stretch collaboration requires connection, cognitive dissonance, and conflict

Experimenting with, iterating, and adapting new collaborative models, enables organizations and their leaders, to shift their focus – from being defensively competitive towards being creatively constructive.

Where the goal is to create a high performing, connected, and networked workplace culture where people:

  • Have the time and space to deeply connect, collaborate, and co-create value,
  • Maximize differences and diversity of thought,
  • Generate the urgency and creative energy to innovate,
  • Feel safe and have permission to freely share ideas, wisdom, knowledge, information, resources, and perspectives.

Innovation teams create discord and generate conflict

At ImagineNation™ we have found that the best way for innovation teams to perform is through building safety and trust, whilst simultaneously being safely provocative and evocative in creating discord and conflict to disrupt peoples conventional thought processes, behaviors, and habits.

To engage people in maximizing differences and diversity to generate creative ideas, and experiment with inventive prototypes, that ultimately solve big and complex problems and deliver commercially astute, innovative solutions.

By connecting, networking, and focussing on co-creation and emphasizing collaboration, inclusion, and mutual accountability, and not on being competitive.

Dealing with the organizational blockers – Innovation teams

At ImagineNation™ our experience has enabled us to understand and reduce the range of key common blockers to transformational and innovation-led change initiatives.

Where we support clients identify, and resolve and remove them by enabling and equipping innovation teams to:

  • Develop agile and innovation mindsets: building capability in safely exposing and disrupting rigid mindsets through customized mindset shifting, behavioral-based, skills development programs.
  • Understand the impact of the organization’s collective mindset: supporting teams to develop an empathic understanding of one another, then shifting how they feel and think to act differently, and cultivate the discomfort resilience when facing the challenges and failures in the innovation rollercoaster ride.
  • Enable leadership development: through educating, mentoring, and coaching leaders to grow their adaptive, collaborative, engaging, and innovative team leadership and membership capabilities.
  • Foster the development of an adaptive and innovative culture: by applying the cultural assessment and diagnostic processes that result in pragmatic culture change initiatives.
  • Ensure strategic alignment: sensing, perceiving, and developing a mutual focus, common language and understanding, and a collaborative networked way of working, that bridges the gap between the current and desired states.

Setting up an innovation team – the critical success factors

At ImagineNation™ we have also helped our clients identify, and embed the critical success factors, that enable innovation teams to drive and embed innovation-led change and transformational initiatives by ensuring:

  • Alignment to the mission, vision, purpose, values.
  • Strategic allocation of resources.
  • Leadership team sponsorship and mentorship.
  • Investment in team members and leader’s capability development.
  • Thinking big and focussing on clarifying and delivering future “fast forward” far-reaching solutions to highly impactful challenges.
  • Organization engagement and enrolment in implementing changes and creating, inventing, and delivering innovative solutions.
  • Lines of sight to stakeholders, eco-system players, and customers, taking an empathic value-adding perspective at all times.

Innovation teams – an unfreezing opportunity to co-create future-fit organizations

Embracing this type of collaborative approach creates an unprecedented opportunity for organizations, who have been upended as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, to develop a sense of urgency toward unfreezing and eliminating their corporate antibodies.

Empathizing with the range of challenges leaders are facing right now, where many are slowly waking up to a post-covid world, where there is an unprecedented and urgent opportunity to co-create a “new normal” that is well-designed to lift any of the emotional barriers to teamwork, locked-down relationships and online fatigue.

Opening the door to a new kind of co-creative, collaborative and cohesive team spirit that allows and encourages people to re-imagine, re-learn, reinvent and co-create new, fresh future fit, adaptive and innovative, people and customer-centric systems, structures, business models, and ecosystems.

All of which are mandatory for delivering future “fast forward” strategies for applying the collaborative and collective intelligence required for increasing value in innovative ways that people and customers appreciate and cherish, in ways we have not previously imagined, that connect with and contribute to, the good of the whole.

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of a human-centred approach and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more

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Catalysing Change Through Innovation Teams

Catalysing Change Through Innovation Teams

Guest Post from Janet Sernack

What makes Israel so innovative? And what has this got to do with teaming? One of the key discoveries, we made, almost ten years ago, when we relocated to Israel, was the power of its innovation eco-system – the result of a collaboration between the state, venture capital firms, successful entrepreneurs, educational system, business system, incubators, and accelerators. Reinforcing and validating the importance and role of collaboration, where a range of new, inspirational, and adaptive models that lean into complexity and catalyze and embed innovative workplace culture changes, have emerged. Where some organizations have strategically and systemically, courageously invested in applying these new models internally, in catalyzing change through innovation teams.

Transform creative discoveries

Innovation teams transform creative discoveries and ideas into new platforms and business models in timely, agile, and disciplined ways that bring significant value to the market and organization. Who, according to Nick Udall, CEO and co-founder of nowhere, effectively deliver the desired step-changes, breakthrough innovations, and organizational transformation, in ways that “move beyond what we know and step into the unknown, where the relationship between cause and effect is more ambiguous, hidden, subtle and multi-dimensional.”

New collaborative models

The range of new collaborative models, include teams and teaming, tribes, collectives, and eco-systems, are all designed to help organizations innovate in turbulent times.

Where they empower and enable everyone to be involved in innovating, and in responding to the diverse assortment of complex challenges emerging from the Covid-19 crises. They also empower and enable people to co-sense and co-create inventive solutions to the range of “complex” challenges, in ways that potentially engineer 21st-century adaptability, growth, success, and sustainability, in countries, communities, and organizations.

Capacity to change

Groups, teams, and teaming are now the “DNA of cultures of innovation”, who fuel organizations, with an “evolutionary advantage – the capacity to change as fast as change itself.” As we transition from our pre-Covid-19 conventional business-as-usual “normals”, organizations have the opportunity to adapt to the high levels of ambiguity by leveraging their peoples’ collective genius.

Utilizing innovation teams to multiply their value and co-create innovation cultures that catalyze growth, in the post-Covid-19 world through:

  • Emerging and exploring possibilities
  • Discovering creative opportunities
  • Making strategic decisions
  • Incubating and accelerating new ideas.

Realm of the creative team

According to Dr. Nick Udall in “Riding the Creativity Roller-Coaster” – creative teams embrace and work with the unknown, intangible, invisible, the unconscious and the implicate, that their key challenges are “to wander with wonder into the unknown.”

Through cultivating a 21st-century skill set, including – attending and observing, questioning, listening and differing, risk-taking and experimenting, and teaming and networking that enables them to be, think and act differently.

Catalyzing change through innovation teams involves creating a culture of innovation, which according to the authors of “Eat, Sleep, Innovate” – is one in which (mindsets) and behaviors that drive innovation come naturally.

Where creative teams are formed around a Passionate Purpose, that propels them into the unknown, in an unpredictable world, where they connect and stretch with cognitive dissonance and creative tension, through developing discomfort resilience. To co-create collective breakthroughs that shift them beyond managing the probable, toward leading what’s possible.

Role of collective mindsets and behaviors

One of the key elements that we can intentionally cultivate is our ability to develop habits that build our mental toughness and emotional agility to cope with stress and adversity, at the same time, paradoxically, create, invent and innovate.

The one thing that we can all control, and is controllable, are our individual and collective mindsets – how we think, feel and choose to act, in solving complex problems, performing and innovating, to dance on the edges of our comfort zones, in the face of the kinds of uncertainties we confront today.

Challenges in creating a culture of innovation 

Our research at ImagineNation™ has found that many organizations are disappointed and disillusioned with many of the conventional approaches to effecting culture change, largely because of variables including:

  • Confusion between the role of climate, culture, and engagement assessments and processes, knowing which one aligns to their purpose, strategy, and goals and delivers the greatest and most relevant value.
  • The typically large financial investment that is required to fund them.
  • The time it takes to design or customize, and implement them.
  • The complexity of tools and processes available that are involved in contextualizing and measuring desired changes.
  • Designating responsibility and accountability for role modeling, leading, and implementing the desired changes.
  • Building peoples’ readiness and receptivity to the desired change.
  • Efforts are required in removing the systemic blockers to change.
  • Designing and delivering the most appropriate change and learning interventions.
  • The false promises of “innovation theatre”.
  • The time it takes to reap desired results, often years.

In response to our client’s need for speedy, cost-effective, and simple, internal and collaborative culture change initiatives, we developed an integrated, simple, yet profoundly effective approach that integrates three powerful streams for catalyzing change through innovation teams:

  1. Team development and teaming skills
  2. Education and learning interventions
  3. Coaching and mentoring initiatives

By taking these variables into account, focussing on building the internal capability, and offering a different and fresh perspective towards catalyzing change through innovation teams.

Creating a culture of innovation – the innovation team 

We took inspiration from our 32 years of collective knowledge, wisdom, and experience across the domains of change management, culture, leadership, and team development as well as from our 8 years of iterating and pivoting our approach to the People Side of Innovation.

Coupling this with our extensive research sources, we developed and customized a team-based action and blended learning and coaching methodology for innovation teams, described as:

  • Change catalysts who operate with senior leadership sponsorship, empowered and equipped to trigger internal change management, engagement, and learning initiatives.
  • Teachers, coaches, and mentors who provide coaching and mentoring support to educate people in innovation principles and processes that cultivate sustainable innovation through co-creating learning programs and events.
  • A small effective and cohesive team, of evangelists, agitators, coaches, and guides and enables the whole organization to participate through partnering and collaborating on potentially ground-breaking (Moonshot) projects, aligned to the organization’s vision, purpose, and strategy.
  • Amazing networkers and influencers who work both within and outside of silos to inspire and motivate people to co-operate and collaborate by taking a systemic perspective, leveraging organizational independencies, to co-sense and co-create groundbreaking (Moonshot) prototypes that they pitch to senior leaders.
  • Being customer-obsessed and equipped with the innovation agility – capacity, competence, and confidence to adapt, transform, and constantly innovate to maximize the impact of innovation across the organization to affect growth, and deliver improved value by making innovation everyone’s job, every day, to make innovation a habit and way of life.

Developing the future fit future-facing company

Involves a commitment toward catalyzing change through innovation teams, leveraging teams, tribes, collectives as internal growth engines, who collaborate quickly to respond to ambiguity, turbulence, and rapid developments. By being nimble and agile, leading with open minds, hearts, and will to be present and compassionate to emerging human needs, courageously experiment with different business models, and creatively contribute to an improved future, for everyone.

This is the first in a series of three blogs about catalyzing change through innovation teams, why innovation teams are important in catalyzing culture change, and what an innovation team does.

Check out our second blog which describes how an innovation team operates and our final blog which includes an evidence-based case study of an effective and successful innovation team in a client organization.

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of a human-centered approach and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more

Image credit: Unsplash.com

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Get Social with Your Innovation

Get Social with Your InnovationIf your organization is struggling to sustain its innovation efforts, then I hope you will do the following things.

  • Find the purpose and passion that everyone can rally around.
  • Create the flexibility necessary to deal with the constant change that a focus on innovation requires for both customers and the organization.
  • Make innovation the social activity it truly must be for you to become successful.

If your organization has lost the courage to move innovation to its center and has gotten stuck in a project – focused, reactive innovation approach, then now is your chance to regain the higher ground and to refocus, not on having an innovation success but on building an innovation capability. Are you up to the challenge?

There is a great article “ Passion versus Obsession ” by John Hagel that explores the differences between passion and obsession. This is an important distinction to understand in order to make sure you are hiring people to power your innovation efforts who are passionate and not obsessive. Here are a few key quotes from the article:

“The first significant difference between passion and obsession is the role free will plays in each disposition: passionate people fight their way willingly to the edge to find places where they can pursue their passions more freely, while obsessive people (at best) passively drift there or (at worst) are exiled there.”

“It’s not an accident that we speak of an “object of obsession,” but the “subject of passion.” That’s because obsession tends towards highly specific focal points or goals, whereas passion is oriented toward networked, diversified spaces.”

More quotes from the John Hagel article:

“The subjects of passion invite and even demand connections with others who share the passion.”

“Because passionate people are driven to create as a way to grow and achieve their potential, they are constantly seeking out others who share their passion in a quest for collaboration, friction and inspiration . . . . The key difference between passion and obsession is fundamentally social: passion helps build relationships and obsession inhibits them.”

“It has been a long journey and it is far from over, but it has taught me that obsession confines while passion liberates.”

These quotes from John Hagel’s article are important because they reinforce the notion that innovation is a social activity. While many people give Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and the modern-day equivalent, Dean Kamen, credit for being lone inventors, the fact is that the lone inventor myth is just that — a myth, one which caused me to create The Nine Innovation Roles.

The fact is that all of these gentlemen had labs full of people who shared their passion for creative pursuits. Innovation requires collaboration, either publicly or privately, and is realized as an outcome of three social activities.

1. Social Inputs

From the very beginning when an organization is seeking to identify key insights to base an innovation strategy or project on, organizations often use ethnographic research, focus groups, or other very social methods to get at the insights. Great innovators also make connections to other industries and other disciplines to help create the great in sights that inspire great solutions.

2. Social Evolution

We usually have innovation teams in organizations, not sole inventors, and so the activity of transforming the seeds of useful invention into a solution valued above every existing alternative is very social. It takes a village of passionate villagers to transform an idea into an innovation in the marketplace. Great innovators make connections inside the organization to the people who can ask the right questions, uncover the most important weaknesses, help solve the most difficult challenges, and help break down internal barriers within the organization — all in support of creating a better solution.

3. Social Execution

The same customer group that you may have spent time with, seeking to understand, now requires education to show them that they really need the solution that all of their actions and behaviors indicated they needed at the beginning of the process. This social execution includes social outputs like trials, beta programs, trade show booths, and more. Great innovators have the patience to allow a new market space to mature, and they know how to grow the demand while also identifying the key shortcomings with customers who are holding the solution back from mass acceptance.

Conclusion

When it comes to insights, these three activities are not completely discrete. Insights do not expose themselves only in the social inputs phase, but can also expose themselves in other phases — if you’re paying attention.

Flickr famously started out as a company producing a video game in the social inputs phase, but was astute enough during the social execution phase to recognize that the most used feature was one that allowed people to share photos. Recognizing that there was an unmet market need amongst customers for easy sharing of photos, Flickr reoriented its market solution from video game to photo sharing site and reaped millions of dollars in the process when they ultimately sold their site to Yahoo!.

Ultimately, action is more important than intent, and so as an innovator you must always be listening and watching to see what people do and not just what they say. Build your solution on the wrong insight and nobody will be beating a path to your door.

NOTE: This article is an adaptation of some of the great content in my five-star book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire (available in many local libraries and fine booksellers everywhere).

Build a Common Language of Innovation

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Announcing FREE Nine Innovation Roles Resources

Nine Innovation Roles Cards

I have big news that I’m extremely excited to share with you today.

I’m proud to announce today that I’m setting The Nine Innovation Roles free.

What does that mean exactly?

It means that for the greater good, I am now providing all of the tools that you need to conduct a Nine Innovation Roles workshop or team meeting inside your organization to enhance the success of your innovation teams – for FREE.

Some people think I’m crazy to help people not hire me, but because of my collaborative and people-centric approach to innovation I would like to give everyone five free gifts:

  1. The Nine Innovation Roles themselves
  2. Downloadable Nine Innovation Roles presentation for team meetings or workshops
  3. Downloadable Nine Innovation Roles Worksheet for gathering data on team makeup
  4. Downloadable Nine Innovation Roles card deck design that I use with Fortune 500 clients
  5. Nine Innovation Roles video for use in team meetings or workshops

The Nine Innovation Roles is one of the most requested workshop topics in the keynotes and masterclasses that I conduct for companies all around the world, and comes directly from my popular book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, that is being used by universities like Creighton and companies like Microsoft and AB Inbev to help establish a common language of innovation.

Here is an excerpt from my book that talks about The Nine Innovation Roles:

“Too often we treat people as commodities that are interchangeable and maintain the same characteristics and aptitudes. Of course, we know that people are not interchangeable, yet we continually pretend that they are anyway — to make life simpler for our reptile brain to comprehend. Deep down we know that people have different passions, skills, and potential, but even when it comes to innovation, we expect everybody to have good ideas.

I’m of the opinion that all people are creative, in their own way. That is not to say that all people are creative in the sense that every single person is good at creating lots of really great ideas, nor do they have to be. I believe instead that everyone has a dominant innovation role at which they excel, and that when properly identified and channeled, the organization stands to maximize its innovation capacity. I believe that all people excel at one of nine innovation roles, and that when organizations put the right people in the right innovation roles, that your innovation speed and capacity will increase.”

I hope you take the time to download and learn and utilize these FREE Nine Innovation Roles resources to improve the success of your innovation efforts and of the innovation teams in your organizations.

Keep innovating!

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