This is the fifth of a series of weekly posts where I will answer a few common questions about innovation. Please feel free to add your own response. Also, if you have any questions you think we should discuss, let me know.
Yesterday’s #innochat discussion focused on the situation lots of aspiring innovators operate in: a NO environment.
First, what does a NO environment look like? For me, it looks like:
- A place where the status-quo is the puppeteer
- A place where NO is synonymous with fear
- A place where there is no clear definition for innovation, and therefore no accountability for new value creation
- A place where titles decide, not great ideas
Back to the initial question: How do you innovate in a NO environment? Here are a few things you can do:
- Don’t ask for permission and just do it. Actions speak louder than words. And for the most part, ideas are born in an individuals mind, and as soon as that idea leaves his/her head it will change. It is only until you put that idea, or part of it, into action that you will know what could happen. What you need to do is become a catalyst. And most likely there are people in your organization who also want to do away with the status-quo but are afraid to act. That is why you need to go for it and let others rally around you.
This doesn’t apply to everyone. But if you have a fire in the belly, this is the way to go. That is my “Insurgent recommendation”. I’ve done it before. You will rattle cages and some will feel threatened. Don’t worry about that. Worry about doing what needs to be done, and show them the way to a new reality.
The point: If you operate in an environment where fear reigns supreme and everyone has grown complacent, you need to find a way to take the lead and shift it. If others rally around you, it means that you’ve broken through the paralysis of fear.
Be sure to check out the #innochat transcript of the discussion, there where some great insights proposed by fellow innocats.
There is no single way to innovate in a NO environment, this is my opinion. Your turn, how do you innovate in an NO environment?