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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

Demystify innovation

Idea by Azra Brankovic on November 19, 2012
Share detail on what you mean by innovation and what you expect people to do. It is not obvious to even experienced people. Consider having peer-led events to discuss the approach and behaviors that are appropriate to your organization. That takes off the pressure and makes innovation capabilities sink in informally.

Foster and open information culture

Idea by Gerhard Goldbeck on November 20, 2012
Open data and open access are revolutionising the way we think about things and as a consequence innovate. Organisations need to embrace this culture, make it their own, and actively look for ways that enable everyone in the organisation to make use of these vast resources.

Re-shore manufacturing with our advanced VizPlanet/VizPlant platform, with a “global reach & yet with a local presence”!

Idea by Charles Prabakar on December 1, 2012
With so much rhetoric being thrown these days, to onshore manufacturing, we suggest an advanced, win: win value proposition, to re-shore it, with a “global reach & yet with a local presence”, using our VizPlanet/VizPlant platform, that is designed, by combining physical devices with digital telemetry, to enable certain repetitive functions, to be remotely operated by global resources (without off-shoring the full plant), saving substantial non strategic cost. Plz read my VizPlanet hack for more.

End the creative apartheid now!

Idea by Michele Zanini on November 20, 2012
For the most part, innovation is still relegated to organizational ghettos--it is still the responsibility of dedicated units like new product development and R&D, where creative types are kept safely out of the way of those who have to "run the business." In a world where innovation is more essential than ever, this sort of chauvinism is wrongheaded. If folks don't appear to be creative at work, it's not because they lack imagination--it's because they lack the opportunity and support.

Constructive Criticisim

Idea by Basma Al Nabulsi on November 20, 2012
If organizations stop dealing with criticisms in a defensive manner, they make room for constructive contribution to their work plans. Be it a private sector company or a government institution, engaging people through social media produces new content instead of one-way channel communication. Invest in Social Media.

Won't Get Fooled Again

Idea by Moises Norena on November 27, 2012
Organization get fooled when information is protected, unavailable, not democratized, re-loops are necessary and people can easily be miss guided. The value creation in innovation happens when information is converted into insights, making information (consumer, market, competitive, financial) available to everyone within the walls of an organization removes useless power struggles and drives attention to value-added activities.

Diversity: The mother of creativity and innovation

Idea by Shilpa Ranganathan on November 20, 2012
There is diversity in the world but not always in the workplace especially technology fields.Diversity is key for creative thinking.It provides the variety of perspectives and experiences that spark creativity,problem solving and innovation to propel organizations forward.Blending different expertise yields innovation.So in addition to gender diversity lets all build organizations where there are diversity in skills,demographics,thought,lifestyle,ethnicity, education and socioeconomic experience

Synthetic thinking

Idea by Alfredo Bregni on November 20, 2012
http://www.ybnd.eu/docs/Five_thinkings.pdf http://www.ybnd.eu/docs/CM_wks.pdf

Empower and inspire people to bring the customer into the heart of the innovation process

Idea by Lucas Godfrey on November 20, 2012
Firstly, organizations need to engage the customer in a dialogue throughout the entire innovation process, right from ideation to execution - not just talking to them, but listening to them. Secondly, organizations need to minimise the impact of organizational silos on innovation. Ensuring that solutions to customer-centred challenges are designed around the problem the customer faces as opposed to the architecture of the organisaiton is key.

Minimize the cost of experimentation

Idea by Gary Hamel on November 19, 2012
A company can't explore a lot of new options if it costs millions of dollars (or even thousands) to test each one. To make innovation a capability, an organization must master the art of rapid prototyping. It must maximize the ratio of learning over investment to find the sweet spot of demand for a new product, or perfect a nascent business more rapidly an inexpensively than competitors.

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.

Add More Military Leaders to Executive Ranks

Idea by Nan Mehta on November 26, 2012
Former military leaders develop some of the best innovation-friendly cultures. They have the intuition, humility, fierce fairness and resolve for coaxing employees towards being creative and reaching their full potential. They use a blend of inspiration, support and opportunity-alignment in a way that ensures success.They are the truly fearless leaders, awesome advocates and great mentors required by employees today to achieve the massive change initiatives organizations are undertaking.

Encourage Exoerimentation and Risk Taking

Idea by Edna Pasher on November 23, 2012
I have learnt that lack of courage is the leading barrier to innovation. People are afraid to experiment, since they are afraid to fail. People within organizations look for security - or they would create their own organizations... So the challenge is to encourage employees who hate risk to innovate with a safety net - within the organization !!! This is an innovation-friendly organization - it breeds a culture of entrepreneurship for non-entrepreneurs :)

Innovation has to go beyond products and technology!

Idea by Stefan Lindegaard on November 20, 2012
Does it matter that you have the best product or technology if this does not provide the best OVERALL solution to the customer? No, it does not help much. Innovation often fails because there is too much focus on the product or technology aspect of innovation. We need a more holistic approach to innovation; an approach that not only focuses on products and technologies, but also on services and processes. For this to happen, training and education across the organization is key.

Sheep Dipping

Idea by john macdonald on November 21, 2012
Ask the customer's customers to describe the best possible day they could have in terms of being successful and achieving their goals. Obtain a summary statement that holistically captures this. Then in 30 mins segments get them to describe how the day unfolds. Then share this with a team consisting of all parties in the value stream that exists to create this "perfect day". The trick is to let them think what it is like for the customer's customer.

Provide a Natural Edge Refuge as Place for Creative Innovation

Idea by John Roth on November 29, 2012
Here are three incidences of a dedicated sanctuary, meant to facilitate individual creative exploration. The Jonas Salk Research Institute in La Jolla still conveys a defiance of time or style. The past-century poet, Robinson Jeffers, built the rough stone tower standing on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Carmel, California. The "Shining Night" composer, Morten Lauridsen, returns each year to Waldron Island, northwest of Seattle. No electricity or phones or running water.

end-user interaction with rapid feedback loop

Idea by K. Kwiatkowski on November 20, 2012
Projects & initiatives should have an end-user readily & clearly identified as well as what apsect of the end-users' needs will be in scope. Then let the interative loop of trial and feedback and trial ... begin - this will encourage more ideas and quicker learning to provide meaningful innovation.

Colorful Thinking & Dialogue Writing for kill " i " Inertia

Idea by S.Alireza Kashizad on November 20, 2012
Psychological Inertia is the main barrier for Innovative action.When " i " think about innovation,I involved with " i " inertia's. Our idea is: Colorful Thinking & Dialogue Writing... how? Dialogue Writing by our cell phones. With SMS we write the own idea and share it with colleagues, Friends and our Family.We make the Networks of ideas for Networks of problems. Problems of our Family,Friends and Organizations. Innovation-friendly is our habit! Because we can overcome to " i " Inertia's.

Zero Day Prototyping™

Idea by Andrew Chapman on November 23, 2012
Whatever the idea, prototype it. From a walkthrough of a new business process, to a new structure trial period, or a wireframed app – across any business function – prototype, test, fail, improve. Forget one-pagers, forget idea descriptions, exchange “so what?” with “here’s how”. Innovation leaders know the right processes, reskilling them to become prototyping practitioners enabling Zero Day Prototyping™ will allow the businesses of tomorrow to exploit valuable opportunities faster than ever.

Throw away

Idea by Peter Koenig on November 20, 2012
Throw away organigrams. Throw away job descriptions. Let people define their own roles in the organization according to their skills and what they love doing. Let them either create their own projects or coopt themselves to projects of others that inspire them. They are going to do so anyway if they have any fizz. Redraw the organization chart. If they're unable to find their place, fire them - it's best for all. If you're unable to handle this, fire yourself! - it's best for all.

Show Don't Tell

Idea by Moises Norena on November 26, 2012
We can spend all kinds of time in meetings showing power points to explain how great our innovation process is and convincing our leaders of the need to drive more of it. Finding opportunities to showcase the insights, the prototypes, the way things manifest in real life, with the passionate innovators presenting them goes a long way when it comes to driving inspiration and behavior. Innovators must find and produce these opportunities to create internal "demand" for innovation.

making innovation 'human' -- choose people well and treat them like royalty

Idea by Alka Puri on November 20, 2012
All tools & technologies depend on one single factor -- how you engage you 'people' -- employees, suppliers, customers, all those who are relevant to your organization. So find the best people you can, and then provide them the opportunity to grow, talk, share, trust, do, believe, hope, play, and enjoy!

Teach everyone how to be a business innovator

Idea by Gary Hamel on November 19, 2012
Companies do many things to encourage innovation, but the most important thing is to train everyone from top to bottom in the art and science of business innovation. You wouldn't expect someone to hit a 220-yard golf shot without a bit of training, and the same is true of innovation. In my experience, you can teach just about anyone to challenge unexamined industry beliefs, uncover unmet customer needs, war game emerging discontinuities, identify underexploited competencies, etc.

World-class Questioning: Challenge Assumptions

Idea by Claudia Lindby on November 20, 2012
Innovation must be a mental habit, everyday thinking for every employee. Build a challenger culture. The entry point is to ask questions that challenge all those (old) assumptions underlying our strategies, our operational plans, our decision-making... Train your ability to ask world-class questions. Train - and/or, allow - your people to spot underlying assumptions and to ask those challenging questions. And listen with an open mind. Welcome the new thinking.

don't wait for conditions - take action

Idea by Alan Arnett on November 21, 2012
The biggest barrier to innovation is that we wait. Leaders wait for staff to innovate - staff wait for permission/space/toys. The issue is not other people - we are the organization. Its not more ideas we need - its acting on the ideas we have with the resources at hand. Even if your idea is big, start small with what people can handle today - value progress over agreement, experiment over planning, and connection over winning. Get going, and bring people with you.

People Mindset

Idea by Olumide Akintunde on November 20, 2012
Since innovations are made by people, people are as well needed to make these innovations work i.e. become business solutions. Aggressive campaigns should be carried out in-house just before an innovation is made. Employees, customers and suppliers should be made to understand that innovations are key to the mission and vision of the organisation. Sooner or later, employees, customers and suppliers would be acquainted with the importance of innovations as a means of increasing growth.

Moving the needle in the less sexy workplace

Idea by P T Navendra on November 22, 2012
It's easy for a group of innovators to discuss innovation. Lets look at the "average" organization. Yes, the ones falling in the lower tiers of the sexiest place to work list, the ones that don't get to employ the cream of the resource pool, the green fields of innovation opportunity, if you will. We should be able to interconnect our champions here with innovation drivers like the MIX to help set up internal innovation programs. We need to create an awareness for the want of this social help.

Bottom-up Research and Development Program

Idea by Nicholas Van Zant on November 20, 2012
Attendance-optional monthly, weekly, or even daily meetings should be open to anyone and everyone in the company - providing a laid-back, "we're all ears" approach where "no input is bad input." When someone comes up with an idea, they are credited with the idea and they receive some equitable return for their input. On top of this, adoption of a program offering up tools for entrepreneurial training, gathering information and utilizing capabilities- cutting out the bureaucracy and red-tape.

Create an environment that favor both extroverts and introverts

Idea by Tracy Huang on December 5, 2012
A lot of times we hear "to be successful you need to be assertive and outgoing". But people are born with a certain type of personality & they may not want to change that. Introverts may not be as eloquent as the extroverts; yet that doesn't mean their opinions are not important. They just need an envionment, or a new kind of management style, they feel most comfortable with to express themselves. See how Susan Cain describes the power of introverts at TED http://bit.ly/R8wuaa

Deploy Social Media Tools To Flatten Your Organization & Put Everyone's Opinion on Par w/ the CEO

Idea by Aaron Anderson on November 21, 2012
These days, there are a number of great social media tools that can boost communication and collaborative spaces in both real time & asynchronously. We have been using the Chatter function in our Salesforce CRM application for a while, but have migrated to Yammer as it is unhooked from the database as a more pure communication tool. Getting everyone in the org on board and using it puts every comment & post at par with even the highest member of the operation.

Think and Act Like a Start-Up

Idea by Gil Laroya on November 20, 2012
Every organization can benefit from being like a startup. This entails engaging your employees at the individual level, empowering each person to leverage their strengths towards a common goal. The startup mentality defines each person as a lateral component of the org chart, not a superior nor a report. What separates each individual should be their strengths and limitations, NOT their job title. Do away with "teams" or "groups" which feel artificial. Leverage abilities and generate confidence.

Facilitating Idea Organization and Exploitation from the Bottom Up

Idea by P T Navendra on November 19, 2012
In many larger organizations, great innovation opportunities hit the graveyard on the ground-floor of management. While higher-up support and sponsorship is needed in both funding and training opportunities, ground-floor personnel should be empowered to self-organize, collaborate in healthy competition, and let innovation bubble up from the bottom. Too much upper-management involvement, no matter how good the intent, invariably invokes the invisible hand of conformance and nueters the process.

Ask people to give ideas and one of them to get 10% time one week

Idea by Marcos Carmona on November 23, 2012
Ask employees to give ideas about new things or diferent way doind things, and give one of that ideas per week the posibility of having the 10% time of the full team... you'll probably see some of them surprise all :)