organization, you have to craft the culture to accept and embrace
new ways of working together and being in the market.
follow an innovation method, create many concepts that are new to the market
and certain to create new value, but are crushed by the cultural antibodies of
a place while nurturing an embryonic idea.
too common barrier, risk taking should be encouraged and strategies that
welcome new business models should be rewarded. Ultimately, culture is simply
defined by how people express (or do not express themselves) in a given
organization'the guiding norms of a place.
project is the intrepreneurs that navigate the old world of the existing
business culture and the new world of possibility at the same time. Their
influence can determine if a project thrives or dies.
a multi-department team. You'll need help from every critical
discipline to manifest this work. Gather a mix of marketers, strategists,
engineers, financial, regulatory, and other key departments as part of the core
team. You'll need help from different skill sets and a variety of problem
solving approaches. Once gathered, go through a few exercises to eliminate the
idea of role and department. Rename each person for this project. Agree to not
have any rank during the tenure of this project. Finally, do an exercise to
give voice to the organization's orthodoxies you may encounter so you have to
power to say, 'yes, that is our current reality, but it's not Reality.'
a Realization Group. Recast the roles of key stakeholders as a
Realization Group. These are the people are used to saying 'no' for a
living'legal, brand, regulatory, etc. By changing the language and style of
engagement with them, you reframe their response. Have them agree to use
Appreciative Inquiry as a method of inquiry for this project, and that they
must commit to exploring How to make things work instead of analyzing reasons
Why they might not work. Ensure responses follow this method of communication.
Reframing how these roles work and resetting their language defaults will aid
your mission immeasurably.
the building. Get out of your head and go out into the world. Begin
with the intention of deeply understanding the context of those from whom
you'll be solving problems. Go into people's homes, their closets, and go
shopping with them. You will be surprised how much this seemingly little action
can add value to the process. As one world-renowned chemist told me after
visiting a few contact dermatitis sufferers in their home and understanding
their routines, rituals, and struggles, 'we need to start every project this
way or we are just creating for ourselves.'
innovation intrepreneur and create a culture of engagement and encouragement.
managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic
growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com or Michael Graber to learn more.