- Adapting to Change & overcoming Fear (6)
- Ambiguity and embracing the Unknown (5)
- Apple and/or Steve Jobs (2)
- Business Reports: 2010 IBM CEO & 2010 BCG (14)
- Changing Cultures to become Innovative (11)
- Collaboration vs. Silos (8)
- Continuous Improvement or Process Improvement (6)
- Creative Arts & Innovation (10)
- Creative Genius among Staff (8)
- Creative Problem Solving (8)
- Creative Thinking Practices & Exercises (11)
- Creativity/Innovation (2)
- Critical Thinking (3)
- Curiosity & Asking Questions (14)
- Divergent vs. Convergent thinking (5)
- Employee Engagement (10)
- Fun and innovation (2)
- Hierarchy vs. Innovation (4)
- How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci (7)
- Innovation & the Economy (1)
- Innovation in Government (2)
- Innovation in History (5)
- Integrity; Following own drummer (7)
- Langdon Morris (6)
- Leadership & Management Best Practices (15)
- Learning from Mistakes (8)
- Lifelong Learning and innovation (3)
- Mentoring and innovation (4)
- Model Innovative Organizations (9)
- Podcasts on innovation (2)
- Processes and Structures for Innovation (5)
- Redefining Innovation (8)
- Scenario Planning (2)
- Six Sigma and LEAN vs. innovation (2)
- Social Change and Innovation (2)
- Spirituality in Workplace and innovation (2)
- Trust and Respect in Engagement and Innovation (8)
- Types of Innovation (6)
- Weirdness and Creativity (2)
- What-iffing (5)
- Whole Brain Thinking (6)
- YouTube Videos (3)
Get Smart — Like Einstein!
I promised that our next post was to be on ideas on how to foster the creative collaboration that is foundational to innovation in organizations. I also had some other posts lined up for some logical progression.
However, my time will be very limited for the next several weeks because a U.S. government training project for our returning military personnel is calling upon my creative skills. Imagine that! 😉 — Did I mention that I design and deliver training programs?
In the meantime, I will share a couple of articles that I find of interest that tie directly into what we're exploring together in this forum, which, in simple mathematical formulation can be summarized as:
Curiosity + Creativity
x Good Management (Respect + Support)
(Yes, I actually made that up on the spot, and math isn't even my strong suit. 😉 )
Look for themes below that tie back to previous posts. Again, it can all tie back to our earlier posts on the 2010 IBM CEO report on best practices for organizations that want to thrive and key points we reviewed from How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci:
- Einstein never squelched the innate curiosity that we all were born with. He just loved to learn and explore; that was his primary drive.
- He didn't grow up in a family who's main preoccupation in life was looking good and fitting in. Modus operandi such as that does not generally foster original thinking. Integrity does.
- He wasn't afraid to experiment and (gasp!) fail as a means of learning what didn't work, so he could ultimately uncover what did.
- He used "whole brain thinking" with the music; let his mind wander with daydreaming and unrelated things while his subconscious continued to problem solve; he was suspicious of the convergent "single answer" thinking encouraged in many of our schools and organizations; and, I like this one, he believed we could learn about the spiritual realities (or, for those who prefer, God) by paying attention to the world around us. — A very worthwhile pursuit.
|How Einstein Got So Smart – 10 Learning Hacks|
|How would you feel if many people thought you were the smartest person in history? How might your life be different if you actually were that intelligent? Although we often think of Albert Einstein as one of the smartest people ever, we don’t investigate what it was that made him so. People who speak highly of him often attribute his genius to some mysterious gift. They don’t believe his smarts came from a certain attitude about learning. I believe you can recreate some of his habits to get smarter and find more rewarding work.
Before you get the list of Einstein’s learning habits, consider some interesting facts about his early life. These things set the stage for appreciating his educational philosophy a little more.
These things represent just a taste of the irony about his early life. Looking back – in light of his eventually recognized genius – these facts even seem humorous.
10 Things Einstein Did to Get So Smart
From what I can find, no one has compiled details about how Einstein actually studied. I doubt that his true genius was even observable to the eye anyhow. The real accomplishments went on inside his mind. I suspect his brain looked no different than ours; and genetically, nothing seemed remarkable. So, to benefit from his example, we need to look as much at his character and philosophy about learning.
I recently posted about the “Creative Geniuses” that are found throughout organizations. Again, each of us carries creativity within us. Some of us may need coaxing in order for our creativity to reemerge. For all, a certain amount of support and structures are needed in order for our ideas to manifest.
In the recent "Leader as Conductor," post, I outlined some specific ways that managers can foster innovation in organizations. But in what capacities? In his terrific white paper, “Creating the Innovative Culture: Geniuses, Champions, & Leaders,” Langdon Morris of InnovationLabs outlines two other essential types of roles necessary to create an innovative culture: “Innovation Champions” and “Innovation Leaders.”
Innovation Champions: They support innovation by helping creative people overcome the obstacles that otherwise inevitably impede their innovation efforts.
Innovation Leaders: They define firms’ expectations and policies to favor innovation.
Working in partnership, these two distinct role models set the stage for creating the environment to grow, direct, and apply the creative genius within an organization. As Mr. Morris writes, “The genius of firms like Apple, Cisco, and Toyota… [is that] their leaders seem to have found a way to standardize the process of innovation.”
- “Finding creative thinkers and encouraging them [often through coaching and mentoring] to think and work in new ways” or to "seek new experiences that spark new ideas;“ and
- “They create a regular operations context in which sharing and developing new ideas is the norm.”
Champions might have any title in the organization, from that of senior manager to front line operations staff. Regardless of title, they “provide the bridge between the strategic directives of senior managers and the day-to-day focus of front line workers.”
“Hewlett Packard’s MBWA (mgt.-by-walking-around) was a great innovation champion technique for learning about innovation efforts and supporting them.”
Innovation champions “are usually persistent networkers… [who] know what’s going on many levels.” They know who has the skills, talents, and resources; who needs what; what’s not working, and what can be done to move the process forward.
In his best-seller book The Tipping Point, author Malcolm Gladwell outlines three roles he sees as key to the success of ideas taking hold in organizations. As Mr. Morris sees it, all three of these mantles are embodied in effective innovation champions:
- Mavens who have deep knowledge that they are keen to share.
- Salesmen who like to influence others to take action.
- Connectors who have strong relationships with many people.
Collaboration & Trust:
Champions forge collaboration and trust while also helping to develop infrastructures that support innovation. This includes creating environments that allow for the face-to-face partnering that is indispensable. “They build collaboration, and they build the trust upon which effective collaboration occurs. Innovation is a collaborative endeavor… There is little innovation without collaboration, and there is no collaboration without trust.”
All the World's a Stage…
My undergraduate degree was in theater (Go, University of Detroit!). As one whose right brain is well developed and who naturally thinks in terms of connections and similarities, I'll share how I see the roles of champions and leaders in terms of the parts they would play in artistic productions, as in theater or film.
I envision the role of champions as similar to that of theater or film directors. Collaboratively honing the production vision, they take the various tools and perimeters; the scripts and story-lines; the stage/sets, budgets, and timelines given to them by the producers; the talents, experience, strengths, weaknesses, and personalities of the actors, design and crews — and they orchestrate all of these.
Sometimes, depending on the size and budget of the production, the role of director is shared and divided among various people who serve as executive director, art director, assistant director, etc. Similarly, there is (or should be) more than one champion within an organization.
Champions and directors work with "the talent" to create a shared, organic vision and then to manifest it. While keeping their focus on the progress of the various production teams, they also work closely with the individuals. They coach the actors to explore and hone their roles and to interact in the most effective ways with the other cast members. They work similarly with the design and set crews.
Key to the success of many directors is that they develop trusting relationships with the various individual artists in order to bring out the best in their talents, while building the collaboration and high trust that is needed for great ensemble productions and (what is called in the non-theater world) high-functioning teams.
Enter the other indispensable player…
INNOVATION LEADERS influence the core structures and the basic operations of an organization in order to support innovation. Such core structures include:
- The design of the organization
- Policies and underlying principles – “The Rules of the Game”
- Metrics and rewards.
In keeping with my theater arts metaphor, I think of innovation leaders as the "producers." Without a producer’s backing, there will be no show. Producers don't have to be particularly creative themselves, and they don't need to be involved in a hands-on manner. Nonetheless, they either "set the stage," or else they sabotage the production by the resources they provide (or fail to) and the perimeters they establish. Some leaders are creative themselves and will be involved artistically, just as some producers are. (Examples of top leaders with a hands-on approach: Immelt at GE and Iger at Disney, who has helped to design games himself.)
Given that innovation needs to be treated as a strategic concern, “innovation leaders are typically, though not exclusively, senior managers” who have the authority to make key decisions, related to questions such as:
- Do budgets include a line item such as “investment in innovation”?
- Are there seed funds to invest in promising new ideas, or teams of people to manage ideas that do not fit inside existing business units?
— If not, then innovation isn’t likely to happen.
In his book, Permanent Innovation, Mr. Morris asserts, “There is no innovation without leadership… Top managers can be powerful champions of innovation, or dark clouds of suppression…. They [need to] work diligently to eliminate the many obstacles that otherwise impede or even crush both creativity and innovation.”
In closing, dear audience…
Hat’s off to those Champions and Leaders who orchestrate creative genius and make the great innovations that move us all forward possible!
(Blog author, on another stage, long ago… )
Click on the link to download a free copy of Langdon Morris' excellent book: Permanent Innovation: The Essential Guide to the Strategies, Principles, and Practices of Successful Innovators
And for his white paper: "Creating the Innovative Culture: Geniuses, Champions, & Leaders"
Among the more interesting questions in the author's self-assessment for “Dimostrazione” or experiential learning are:
- Do I seek out new experiences every day, or pursue different perspectives and fresh insights?
- Have I changed a deeply-held belief due to practical experience?
- Would my closest friends say that I am willing to acknowledge my mistakes?
- Do I ever practice cynicism and call it independent thinking? — Now, that's an interesting one! …And unfortunately, I would have to admit, "Guilty, as charged!"
I. Examining Impactful Experiences:
This exercise involves reflecting on the most influential experiences of our lives, what we learned, how we apply them, how any conclusions we have drawn from them may color our attitudes or perceptions… and whether there are any that we might now reconsider?
II. The Sources of Our Beliefs:
Here, we are invited to write down beliefs we hold in at least three areas such as human nature, ethics, spirituality, or politics. We are asked what the source of those beliefs were: media, books, other people, or our own direct experience? Whether there are beliefs that we hold for which we have no experiential verification, or if there are any we might be able to test now through experience?
III. Three Points of View:
Just as Leonardo tried to look at everything he sought to understand or draw from three perspectives, this exercise asks us to take the statement of belief (above) that generated the strongest emotion and try to examine it from various other angles outlined by the author.
IV: Learning from Mistakes and Adversity:
Here, we are encouraged to reflect on what we learned about making mistakes in our childhoods, what we learned from our biggest mistakes, which mistakes we repeat, and the role that the fear of making mistakes may continue to play in our daily lives at work and at home.
In an especially useful twenty-minute stream-of-consciousness writing exercise, we are asked, “What would I do differently if I had no fear of making mistakes?”
V. Learn from Role Models and “Anti-Role” Models:
We can learn a tremendous amount from paying attention to others demonstrating what not to do. Also, some of our anti-role models may be our positive role models for us in other ways. This exercise invites us to look at what we have learned from our positive and less positive role models.
VI. Practice Internal Anti-commercial Martial Arts:
We are asked to consider the impact that some commercials may have had on our worldviews.
Subscribe to receive new blogposts below
- Adapting to Change & overcoming Fear
- Ambiguity and embracing the Unknown
- Apple and/or Steve Jobs
- Business Reports: 2010 IBM CEO & 2010 BCG
- Changing Cultures to become Innovative
- Collaboration vs. Silos
- Continuous Improvement or Process Improvement
- Creative Arts & Innovation
- Creative Genius among Staff
- Creative Problem Solving
- Creative Thinking Practices & Exercises
- Critical Thinking
- Curiosity & Asking Questions
- Divergent vs. Convergent thinking
- Employee Engagement
- Fun and innovation
- Hierarchy vs. Innovation
- How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci
- Innovation & the Economy
- Innovation in Government
- Innovation in History
- Integrity; Following own drummer
- Langdon Morris
- Leadership & Management Best Practices
- Learning from Mistakes
- Lifelong Learning and innovation
- Mentoring and innovation
- Model Innovative Organizations
- Podcasts on innovation
- Processes and Structures for Innovation
- Redefining Innovation
- Scenario Planning
- Six Sigma and LEAN vs. innovation
- Social Change and Innovation
- Spirituality in Workplace and innovation
- Trust and Respect in Engagement and Innovation
- Types of Innovation
- Weirdness and Creativity
- Whole Brain Thinking
- YouTube Videos