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Innovating Innovation

With the Innovating Innovation challenge we’re looking for your stories and hacks on how to make innovation a real capability in organizations.  With the Quick MIX, we gave you an easy way to engage and inspire others on a related question: what is the one thing you’d change to make organizations more innovation-friendly?

Like the M-Prize, this process was open to everyone.  The best contributions are being recognized on our blog, on HBR.org, and in the social media channels of the MIX, Harvard Business Review and McKinsey & Company.

What is the one thing you'd change to make organizations more innovation-friendly?

Submitted Ideas

Instead of performance appraisal - a "make mistakes we can learn from" competition

Idea by Marcelo Michelsohn on November 20, 2012
Innovation flourish in an environment of excitement and not fear. Top leaders should announce an organization wide competition for the person, department, project team that can generate more learning from mistakes they make. The learnings should be shared. Top leaders should start the process by sharing their mistakes and learnings with all the organization, at least once a week, so people understand that this is for real. People should be able to comment and vote to choose the best ones.

Increase CQ (Creativity Quotient) throughout the orgainization

Idea by Jason Prunty on November 20, 2012
CQ is built on many aspects of the creative process. The ideas of design thinking plays a big part, as well as other concepts. But, we have to look at how the creative process is practiced through the company. This metric can be studied by, setting a baseline and studying the ebbs and flows of the creative practice through "everyday work". The more aligned the creative process is to everyday work the higher an organizations CQ score. The higher the CQ score that greater chance for innovation.

Put the experiments and trials score-board out of the game until the game really start.

Idea by MAX (Mitesh) Patel on December 1, 2012
Many times our organizational processes don't give us enough chances to fail and improve because they bring the score-board in the game even in the practice session. Everything we do is considered and measured into total efficiency matrix. All our trials and given time are considered as the chances given to us to prove our self. As the trials are meant to be failed on large basis they hand-cuff, discard the creative people with red and yellow card that you haven't shown the tangible results.

Make Collaboration, the cornerstone of Competitive Advantage Culture!

Idea by Charles Prabakar on November 27, 2012
While Strategy is all about creating value, most companies end up competing for the same set of value slices, as opposed to, increasing the size of the value pie. Simply put, when the size of the value pie is enlarged, it is no longer a zero sum game, and so, companies are still motivated to play together, in a collaborative fashion. How? Make collaboration, the cornerstone of company's culture, by combining virtual & physical resources, as outlined in my “Innovating Innovation hack”.

Budget time and money for experimentation and have an experiments goal

Idea by Mario Morales, CEO Innovare on November 20, 2012
A truly innovation-friendly company is one that allows people to try new things. Unfortunately, starting experiments in an organisation is very difficult. Some companies are changing this by having a specific budget of time and money for starting experiments and a company wide experiments goal. In this way, anyone that has an idea can ask for a "permission to experiment" his idea, which will get the person an amount of money and time to do it, creating a culture to do it company wide.

Target 50% failure for internal projects

Idea by Mike Anderson on November 26, 2012
If you hit targets 100% of the time (budget, delivery, timescale, KPIs etc.) then you aren't taking enough risk. Leadership should regard 100% as a failure of innovation and ambition. The ideal employee should get it right 50% of the time. To get this dynamic working in the organisation, individuals should stand up in weekly meetings, say what they have done, whether it was a success/failure, and what they learned.

Swap effort for talent (or Let's praise people for effort instead for talent)

Idea by Alberto Blanco on November 22, 2012
When someone is praised as “talented”, it automatically creates a subtle but driving pressure to protect his intelligence and reputation. That’s why “talented” people are so risk averse (e.g. tend to aim too low, or in some cases, to cheat the game). As a clear contrast, when someone is praised for effort, his cleverness is not at stake. Hence, he is free to stretch himself, try harder, aim high, and purposely fail (e.g. iterate) just as elite athletes, entrepreneurs, and inventors do.

Get things (incl. innovations) done collaboratively, with a “checks and balanced", three branch organization structure!

Idea by Charles Prabakar on December 6, 2012
Among all Gov models, the “checks & balanced”, 3 branch model, seems, one of the best- as it, inherently motivates all branches to collaborate & GETS THINGS DONE, without anyone, becoming too powerful. Hence, I suggest a 3 branch org structure for corporations as well, with the CEO as the President, the BU heads as senate, the enabling function heads (HR, Strat, Fin, Proc, IT etc.) as congress, the board as judiciary, & the shareholders as citizens-all collaborating together, to get things done!

Make it a process that can be excecuted in any device including smartphones

Idea by Armando Flores on November 20, 2012
Implement our process execution engine that does not need a big expensive BPM, but instead runs on a database, even in smartphone. It is cheap (20K), can run infinite threads of process and you can produce process in hours and include many. Makes it easy to prototype your innovation until you get it right. To program a process you go to a cloud based process programer, call the file, make changes and 'save as' the new process name. The next process will execute with the changes made.

Scrap "performance" incentives.

Idea by Mike Anderson on November 26, 2012
If you create incentives built around artificial "performance" targets, then you will focus behaviour on those targets. In some cases this is what you want (shovelling coal? selling cupcakes?). But it will destroy innovation - all you will get is narrow target chasing behaviour while the true innovators go unrecognised. Incentives in innovative organisations should be shared and non-financial (peer recognition, learning opportunities, working culture etc.)

Culture for Innovation

Idea by Myfanwy Marshall on November 22, 2012
Develop a reward system for those who develop a business case for an innovative idea (whether successful or not) and a demerit system for those who are a barrier or a nay sayer. Prompt first small ideas and have a platform for show and tell. Tie it into an objective or development element of performance evaluations.

Customer Enables you to Innovate

Idea by Devi Prasad on November 19, 2012
Tracking pattern of customer behavior enables lot of innovation in business. If every individual in a organization involves him/her to "brainstorm" or "Informal discussion" on everything related to your business & customer satisfaction,tend to brings out the innovative thinking in you. Innovation can happen by anyone in the organization as long as there is scope available to think and experiment.