Everyday, Everywhere Innovation—24 Bold Ideas and Experiments
As human beings, we are born with a creative impulse—with an innate desire to use our imagination to better the world around us. Yet, all too often, our organizations end up being less innovative than the people within them. The dozens of in-the-trenches innovators who responded to our Innovating Innovation Challenge embody the first assertion—and are working relentlessly and fearlessly to overturn the second.
We asked for real-world case studies and bold new ideas that will help us make progress when it comes to making innovation a deep-rooted, systematic competence in every kind of organization. In other words, how do we make innovation more of a natural act and less of a “happy accident?”
Of course, that’s easier said than done. The disciplines of management were invented, a hundred and more years ago, to drive variety out of organizations. The goal was to excise the irregularities, in an effort to ensure conformance to work rules, quality standards, timetables and budgets. Today, though, it’s the irregular people with their irregular ideas and irregular methods who create the irregular successes—and profits. All too often, the quest to routinize the irregular ends up routing innovation. The goal? Organizations that are paragons of penny-pinching efficiency and bastions of rule-busting innovation.
We received more than 140 entries from a diverse group of thinkers, practitioners and experimenters from around the world in pursuit of that goal. The judges and the MIX editorial team pored over the stories and hacks looking for depth, boldness, originality, clarity, and the ability to inspire and instruct in equal measure. We found those qualities in abundance—and are delighted, along with our partners at Harvard Business Review and McKinsey & Company, to announce 24 finalists today (in alphabetical order):
Please check out the finalist stories and hacks and add your comments and ratings—they’ll make a difference as finalists update and build on their entries for final judging. We’ll announce the winners of the challenge here the week of February 11th.