“Great dreams aren’t just visions,” says Astro Teller, “They’re visions coupled to strategies for making them real.” The head of X (formerly Google X), Teller takes us inside the “moonshot factory,” as it’s called, where his team seeks to solve the world’s biggest problems through experimental projects like balloon-powered Internet and wind turbines that sail through the air. Find out X’s secret to creating an organization where people feel comfortable working on big, risky projects and exploring audacious ideas.
It’s awesome when everyone agrees, isn’t it? Yes—and no. Most of us have, at some point, fallen into the trap of groupthink to avoid conflict and promote harmony in a group, whether at school, work, or on a committee. Groupthink has its perks: everyone feels comfortable, and there’s no risk of tension among members. It’s safe. Easy. Unfortunately, it can also kills creativity and innovation.
Emerald Therapeutics Co-Founder DJ Kleinbaum describes an exercise that allows his company to constantly re-examine its operations and culture, where all new employees are asked to keep a journal and write down their initial impressions of anything unusual. They are then asked to turn to coworkers with more tenure for an explanation, and possibly suggest solutions.
Innovation and more of it has become the mantra of top management. The ability to innovate and thereby sustainably create value for the business is becoming the defining competitive advantage for companies which want to thrive in a globalized economy. So obviously, driving innovation is a key job for top management, the CEO and the C-Suite. But what about the Board? What role should it play in the innovation game – if any?
Is your workplace cluttered? Not in the physical sense, but the figurative one. Do you have a bunch of old tasks and procedures taking up space without adding much value? Just like you have to dig through your closet every so often and get rid of questionable items that you once thought were good purchases, sometimes you have to assess the mental clutter that has built up in the workplace over time and recognize when policies have gone out of style. Tasks and rules that were once must-haves can build exponentially and increase complexity until employees have time for little else, like innovation.
Why do so many corporations operate under the assumption that change initiatives must come from the top down? Mandated change is often out of touch with the everyday work of employees, so it’s met with resistance as they immediately anticipate the additional work these programs entail.
Every organization wants to be thought of as “innovative” and although cliché, there is something said about thinking outside of the box to help you get there. However, simply asking your employees to think outside of the box at your next internal planning session or brainstorm meeting may not be enough to get to those game-changing ideas. To get unique solutions, you need to look at things in new light. The following seven strategies are tactics that will help you take an outside-in approach to innovation, to help you come up with unexpected, richer solutions.
Strategic management today must focus not only on meeting short term targets and budgets but also on building an organization prepared to succeed and lead into the future. This is obvious, you may say. But how is this simple reality reflected in how we strategically lead and engage our organizations? Read more in this article by IMD Professor Thomas Malnight.