Creativity, creative leadership and the value of innovation management

From janitor to CEO, everyone should be involved in your daily innovation process. The tool to deliver this change is creative thinking, in the hands of a leadership that believes in and embodies its principles.

Creative leadership is based on principles of openness, a positive outlook towards new ideas and knowledge of a set of tools to help employees discover problems, generate ideas, create robust solutions and implement the plans. Post it notes, markers and flipcharts are the media of choice for a lot of innovation activity conducted in groups.

One big drawback of this method is that groups of people need to be physically present in a room at a common time in order to achieve optimum results. While this is great for big strategic problems, it may not be the best for problems that fall in the domain of daily innovation.

How can technology lend a hand

This issue has been addressed with the advent of robust cloud based software technologies. It is now possible to use online software services to involve the whole organization in a distributed, time independent environment. Bringing employees’ expertise together, idea management software has proven to help organizations deliver results in a sustainable manner.

For sure employees and management need to be trained in the skills of phrasing challenges, evaluating ideas and non-judgmental thinking. But once this is done, companies can throw out challenges into the corporate domain and employees can submit ideas, comments, improvements and then vote and select the best ones for management to implement.

Technology can really support the concept of Daily Innovation. Challenges don’t have to be very complex. It might be hard to justify pulling eight people off their jobs and paying a facilitator to solve the problem of littering on the shop floor. However, putting out this challenge on a corporate ideation platform would allow everyone to pitch in at their leisure, deliver varying perspectives and even a ground-breaking solution. It also helps to increase employee engagement, which is essential to the implementation of the model.

Key take-aways

The Daily Innovation Model is not about solving the littering problem per se. It is about getting employees used to the idea of generating ideas and solutions in small, incremental ways. They learn to look at problems through the lens of a collaborative platform, where ideas are nurtured and built upon.

The next step is to get them used to applying these principles in their day to day interactions as well. The hope is that this attitude will gradually help build a corporate culture where ideas are contributed and problems solved in non-siloed, open, collaborative – and may I add – fun ways. That can only lead to more incremental product and process innovations and, gives a company the best shot at discovering a game changing product or service. And even if that does not happen, daily innovation ensures that the company keeps improving products and processes in small, incremental ways and moves forward with the changing times. And as we all are aware, change is the name of the game.

Check out also my presentation from KLIC conference 2016 dealing with the Daily Innovation Model.

“Innovation is not for us”, they say

By Rumman Ahmad. An MSc in Creativity and Change Leadership from Buffalo State University, Rumman trains, teaches and facilitates groups of people to learn and apply the creative process to solve problems, energizing and motivating them to do their best. He is also the organizer of an annual conference on innovation in Pakistan. An Exago partner since 2016 in this key geography, Rumman has developed a Model for Daily Innovation which can be complemented by Exago’s innovation management software.

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