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Innovation? Our fears haven't changed

I was helping Sonia, my mother-in-law, move into her new apartment over Christmas, and we came across the document shown in a file dated 1996. It really shows that we have been struggling with "innovation" for quite a while and we still have't really worked out how to innovate in a way that is consistently effective, engaging or rewarding for those involved!

As we have worked with our clients it has become clear that everyone wants to be more "effective" and "efficient" and have more "productive" people and "better" outcomes for their customers.

Where we feel that may people get stuck is by thinking only about what we call "Big I" Innovation. This is the transform the industry / market / product activity - the Uber model. This is exciting stuff and does indeed make waves across the market, but is complex, difficult to do and requires extraordinary organisational capability to execute. This type if Innovation quickly leads to phases 2 through 6......

It is sometimes better to get people thinking about "little i" innovation first. This is the most basic "how do you make your working day a little bit easier" / "what do our customers always complain about and how do we fix it" / "wouldn't it be great if..." type of innovation.

For example - we have seen teams who have given up on innovation because no-one evert listened to their great idea to re-design the product range become re-engaged when we helped them solve a problem that was keeping them tied up in knots for hours a day (a customer form was wrong, so the customers always supplied the wrong information which took hours to correct. Fix the form, take away the pain).

Once people see how little i innovation works (and actually helps them have a better day), they see how Big I Innovation works and are ready to face the big opportunities.

It's a new year. Time to try something different.

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