Can We Design For Breakthrough Innovation?

Can we create an environment where innovation is more likely to occur? Blogger Vanessa Miemis recently posed this question to her readers, and they replied with a resounding “yes!” Themes included creating cultures of play and emotional safety, challenging assumptions, giving permission to try new things and using storytelling to spark new thinking.

Suggestions for designing conditions that better support innovation included”:

  • Encourage serendipity: Mix unlikely people together, look at peripheral fields, create places for people to “randomly” bump into each other and start jamming on an idea, ask really interesting questions and do so from a variety of vantage points and cultivate a culture of curiosity.
  • Storytelling: Divide your team into groups, assign them different segments of the challenge and encourage them to develop narratives around their segments. Then weave them together into an overall narrative that looks at the organization and its challenges from a some fresh perspectives.
  • Bring tools and frameworks to the thinking process that helps people see challenges and opportunities from different perspectives.

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