Tag Archives: Innovation

Is too much collaboration bad for innovation?

Is too much collaboration bad for innovation?

All great achievements came about through collaboration. But, sometimes too much collaboration inhibits our ability to think creatively.

Last week’s post about what impedes employees from being innovative in the workplace generated some discussion. My point that managers, meetings, emails and phone calls get in the way of inspiration was not well received because those are mechanisms we use to move ideas forward.

Yes, but most of the time you are not moving ideas forward because of those mechanisms. Rather, those mechanisms exist to keep “business-as-usual” in place.

We need different kinds of Silicon Valley not more Silicon Valleys

Here in the mexican border city of Tijuana there’s been constant discussion about how to collaborate with our next door neighbor San Diego. I’ve actually been advocating for this myself by co-founding Startup Weekend here a few years ago and also by arranging partnerships with partners in San Diego and a client in Tijuana to provide a service where co-working spaces in San Diego and Tijuana create a type of pass for their members where anyone can arrive at any participating co-working space; free of charge.

These initiatives were done with the intent of stimulating cross-border collaboration between entrepreneurs, but it hasn’t been without its challenges.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I attended a local conference about Silicon Valley and San Diego as innovation ecosystems. Tijuana, like San Diego, is creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem to call their own but an ongoing challenge is that the conversation always ends up with Silicon Valley as a model to follow.

What impedes employees from being innovative in the workplace?

 What impedes employees from being innovative in the workplace?

Much like the LinkedIn discussion that triggered it, last week’s post hit a nerve: can employees learn to be innovative?

A few people suggested we reframe the question to:

  • Can most employers learn how to stop blocking their employee’s innovative spirit?
  • How might employers let employees bring their passion to work?

There are many ways to look at it, and frankly I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Hard? Yes. Complicated? No.

Innovation begins in the heart

How diluted has the word innovation become that, on top of confusing it with anything new, we rationalize why we should innovate.

Here are a few:

  • Let’s innovate so we can grow our business, otherwise we won’t!;
  • Let’s innovate so we can eek out a little more revenue from existing products and services;
  • Let’s innovate so we can develop new revenue streams, new business, new products & services;
  • Let’s innovate so we can be competitive with the rest of the world;
  • etc..

I’m sure you’ve heard some version of these before, and there are more like these. The above rationalizations are correct, but does it get you fired up? I’m sure it doesn’t.

An indicator that all this rationalization it doesn’t work to spur action is how many people still ask themselves: what’s the point?

Why do you want to “innovate”? Seriously, think about it…

Is it because you’re embraced common rationalizations followed by everyone else who can’t think for themselves? If you are, it sounds to me like you are playing not to lose.

Quick guide on how to use Evernote to stay on top of emerging trends

evernoteWhat is the process I use to keep up and /or uncover emerging trends and what tools do I use? Previously, I’ve written about how to create an insights bank using Evernote. Here I’ll expand on that initial idea, with a quick guide on how you can stay on top of emerging trends, as well as building your own sense making capability, to make sure you don’t get caught off guard.

Why do successful companies fail? Because they miss the future. But, companies don’t fail because they choose the wrong course, they fail because they can’t imagine a better one.

How does trend spotting fit into an organization’s future?

Innovators either create trends that change the world, or take advantage of emerging ones. Trend spotting is a very important innovation skill, and one that the vast majority of companies outsource to trend hunting firm; sometimes with no benefit.

This is a valid strategy, but a I’d recommend you don’t bet on it because most organizations have access to the same information those trend hunting firms are selling. More strategic for you is to develop your own capability for detecting and taking action on trends.

Detecting trends is a similar exercise to how you look for tension points to uncover opportunities for innovation; you attentively look for what at some point could become a huge problem.

People follow people, not frameworks

Leadership

Leadership (Photo credit: pedrosimoes7)

Social networks and social media have given voice to the voiceless, it’s a beautiful thing. More people can post stuff through the various channels we have at our disposal for the various types of media we can use to communicate. But, counter to what it has enabled us to do it’s also brought less critical thinking.

For example, it isn’t a secret what type of content gets the most traffic and clicks: lists.

You see them everywhere! And it won’t stop. Driving our voracious appetite for lists is our desire for cookie cutter ideas, as well as having more time for ourselves in our hectic lives. The problem with “lists” is that they don’t make the distinction between topics that are more art than “checklist” driven. Most of these lists are dumbed down and create the perception that following a template will yield a predictable outcome.

And most people are not conscious enough to think for themselves, so they mindlessly follow them.

List posts get shared and bookmarked all the time, yet I don’t think people come back to them after that. Mostly they serve the purpose of providing the reader a short-term reward with the feeling that they read something useful during the day.

But did it really move them? I doubt it.

It is this same issue that has powered and given rise to “framework fatigue”.

Can employees learn to be innovative?

Can employees learn to be innovative?

There is a frenzy of discussion on the Front End Innovation LinkedIn group around the following question: can employees learn to be innovative?

I think this a question many executives are asking themselves, and undoubtedly are looking for a silver bullet answer. My answer?

First, let’s get a few things out of the way…