In the digital age, innovation is key but learning is the door!
“Innovation is key” seems to be the new mantra today when executives are helpless in front of young digital czars disrupting joyfully perennial businesses. Sticked to a classical linear thinking, they ask theirs managers to innovate… without creating the favorable environment and without being aware (or not wanting to know, perhaps;) that they are part of the problem they want to suppress. They behave exactly as if innovation was like execution in the XXieth century world. But it is not.
They need to dismiss first two wrong ideas (Jeannette Liedtka) : “innovation belongs to exceptional (hence rare) geniuses” and “innovation is only about pure novelty”. Then, their playground is broadened and they can tap into ordinary people’s ideas. Sadly though, they are hardwired to command and control. “To run a successful business, conceive the right process”. Processes are relevant to run business: they are not helpful to create new ones. And they kill the learning along the way. You comply to the process, you don’t learn anything. No learning? No innovation. The key is innovation but you also need to unlock the door. Which supposes to adopt a learning mindset aka a constant effort to try and adapt,
So what is a learning mindset, favorable to this praised innovation ?
Picture a T-shaped profile, not expert enough to draw definitive conclusions from its deep but narrow experience and generalist enough to understand others logics.
He (she) is, then, able to spark new ideas from this sharing.
He (she) is a candid inquirer able to unveil assumptions, unafraid to test, data driven decision maker, prepared to fail small and cheap.
Supporting people to change their behaviour and adopt this approach is the first step before asking for innovation.