“Everyone has innovation in them”

This blog features excerpts from today’s Australian Financial Review article “Leading tech firms are democratising employee innovation”.

Wow, talk about formal. I much prefer the title “everyone has innovation in them” which is a direct quote from Dominic Price, work futurist at Atlassian. Much catchier, thanks Dominic!

The real strength of this article is the quotes from some of Australia’s most innovative leaders. These are powerful insights from people who are using a modern sense of leadership.

The article begins with a reference to COVID and it’s affects on workplaces. Must we continue giving everything a COVID spin.

In reality the body of this article is as relevant to 5 years ago as much as it is relevant today. So that’s why I’ve summarised the best key quotes for you. You’re welcome ;o)

The most common mistake… The amount of investment.

Dominic Price, work futurist at Atlassian

“A lot of businesses decide, ‘Let’s be innovative,’ and whip-up a PowerPoint deck, share it with their board, design some posters and put them around the office, and this generally means they’re being innovative. The reality is, real innovation is an investment.”

The Atlassian philosophy is that everyone has innovation in them – but it can be suppressed by poor leadership, says Price.

My thoughts: Until our structures are loosened unleashing the leadership skills of executive and middle managers is hard. However, smalls shifts can make big differences. Structures, roles and responsibilities through the organisation need to be examined as one of these steps.

Innovation can start from anywhere, Price says. “It’s an organisation-wide effort, not something you can just stir up amongst certain teams. Innovation comes from cognitive diversity, respectful dissent and then experimentation with what’s possible, not probable.”

Next up is Georgia Vidler

Georgia Vidler, director of product at global user-driven graphic design platform Canva, says innovation takes “the encouragement, the support, and a shared vision from across all levels of an organisation to bring new thinking to life.”

A business can’t just declare that it is innovative; Vidler says, it has to be “embedded in your values”.

The business culture is the true driver of innovation, she says.

“Everyone at Canva has the opportunity to have a tangible impact on the direction of the product, whether it’s your first week or you’ve been here since the start.

“Building a culture where everyone is empowered to do the best work of their lives has been a core focus for us since day one, and we’ve retained that as the business has scaled – we’re just as committed to maintaining a culture of camaraderie, innovation, and ambitious ideas.”

Ok and if you’ve made it this far you’re awaiting a mic drop moment. Far be it from me not to deliver. Let’s end on a note that beautifully summarises the how of innovation.

Richard Mathews, chief executive officer at mining software developer RPMGlobal, finally comes to our innovation soiree.

RPMGlobal sells its products in 125 countries and uses the process of (wait for it) Design Thinking. Quoted from the article “This involves understanding the people who will use the products, and the experience the product will give them”.

At its core, innovation is about “solving a problem that a customer has now.”

“This approach helps create a collaborative environment where people don’t take themselves too seriously, and therefore don’t get offended when they put new ideas forward and they are shot down in flames. So long as the customer’s needs are at the centre of our problem-solving effort, then everyone is actually on the same page.”

In many organisations innovation still proves to be extremely illusive and overwhelmingly unattainable. This largely comes down to the fact that innovation is only publicised and analysed by the biggest the most powerful organisations around the globe. All whom are equipped with a bottomless investment pocket.

In reality even the smallest organisations CAN innovate and do. They are tomorrows big kids.

Creating an innovative organisation starts with loosening up your structures, empowering your people and giving mangers the opportunity to become leaders. By working together in new ways we end up working together in fun, positive environments and delivering some kick ass results.

So re-read the title. If you’re human you can innovate. It’s all within us. We just hinder ourselves by over complicating it and we end up with stuffy regimes called work. If you enjoyed this summary let me know!

To read the full article in the Australian Financial Review written by James Dunn click here

Cheers, Liv

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