The funny thing for me, is that almost every time I get this question, what I find is that the person asking it really doesn’t want to hear advice on how to change their organization through their own behavior, they want someone else to change theirs instead. This is sorta the premise for my talk tomorrow at the Innovative Environments conference which is appropriately titled “Innovation starts with “I” and, yes ... it’s totally true. Innovation starts at the individual level. Organizations that recognize this and create environments that tap into their employees individuals’ strengths can create a cascading effect that elevates innovation throughout the entire organization.
No matter where you are on the org. chart ladder, you can play a critical role in encouraging innovation in your organization. The key is that you have to be willing to work at innovation from your own organizational perspective in order to build the trust and relationships (either up, down or sideways) which in turns enables innovation to flow throughout the rest of it.
Granted, innovation works faster when all levels of the organization are working in tandem on this. But if your organization bumbling or if you find yourself asking the questions I shared in the first paragraph above, I suggest that the first is really asking yourself, "what can I begin to do now/differently to help move my organization forward?"
For those that are curious or in attendance tomorrow at the Innovative Environments conference, here are my slides.
PS: If your in attendance, please be sure to also stop me and say “hi”
PSS: A huge nod to Tony Tallent, who co-presented an earlier variation of this talk with me at CIL last year. Wish you could be there too!