Innovation provides a significant lifeforce and has become a strategic priority for most companies and organizations. An IBM poll of fifteen hundred CEOs identified creativity as the number one “leadership competency” of the future. A new and remarkable discovery is that the ability to generate innovative ideas is not merely a function of the mind, but it is also a function of behaviors.
Compelling ways to develop innovation are found in the Harvard Business Press book entitled “The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators”. The work of authors Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen emerged from an eight-year collaborative study to uncover the origins of innovation. They were less concerned with the companies’ strategies and focused on understanding the people responsible for turning creativity into value propositions.
Five skills surfaced from their investigation including one cognitive (ie, genetic) talent and four acquired behaviors. The cognitive skill is called “associational thinking” or the ability to make connections across seemingly unrelated fields, problems, or ideas. The other four skills are learned (ie, behavioral) and include:
To our regular readers, perhaps not surprisingly, the required behaviors are virtually identical to the core skills of our professionally trained FAST facilitators. The researchers discovered that innovators are much more likely to question, observe, network, and experiment than typical executives. They also discovered that innovative companies are always (ALWAYS) led by innovative leaders.
“ . . . Innovative people systematically engage in questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting behaviors to spark new ideas. Similarly, innovative organizations systematically develop processes that encourage questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting by new employees.”
In their discussion of innovative failures, the authors discovered that people did not ask all the right questions . . . thus they emphasize the value of the discovery skill. In other words, be willing to challenge your people to think clearly. According to the authors, the behavioral focus found in our facilitative leadership training could pay for the training in a matter of weeks.
Their book also provide details on how to calculate an innovation premium for companies; ie, the proportion of a company’s market value that cannot be accounted for from cash flows of current products or markets. Investors take note. This factor alone could pay for the time you took to read this blog, many times over. The innovation advantage found in our curriculum can be converted into a premium for your organizational value by building the code (ie, DNA) for innovation directly into your people, methods, and guiding philosophies—beginning with a facilitative and collaborative culture.
Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiative, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need.
Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).
Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.
- How to Facilitate the Ideation Activity with the Brainstorming Tool (mgrush.com/blog)
- How to Facilitate Brainstorming (mgrush.com/blog)
- How to Manage Breakout Sessions (or, 3 Minute Sub Team Productivity WOW) (mgrush.com/blog)
- How to Facilitate Business Process Improvement: A Proven Approach Using Teams (mgrush.com/blog)