by Michelle Braden, CEO MSBCoach
When we think of innovation, we typically think of a person… either you “got it” or you don’t. To some extent this might be true. We know from Dr. Geil Browning’s study of the brain while creating the tool Emergenetics that there are people who get their energy from, and are naturally “wired” for, innovation (yellow conceptual – see sample http://msbcoach.com/coaching/emergenetics-sample/). But what happens if you’re not working within a culture that will empower a person who is “naturally” conceptual? What happens to the “innovation” if you have a conceptual person with a brilliant idea/concept and there is no one to plan (green conceptual in Emergenetics) research and budget (blue conceptual) or no one to connect the innovation to the customers (red conceptual)?
Innovation is not just a person. It takes a well balanced team – a “we team” so to speak. A “we team” is a team that represents all of the thinking preferences (analytical – blue, conceptual- yellow, social-red and structural-green; as well as the spectrum of the behavioral preferences: flexibility, assertiveness and expressiveness). “We teams” also consist of diversity in genders, departments and generations… it is amazing the insight that can come from a novice. It is not enough however, to just have the perfect “we team”. Without a culture that allows teams and individuals to innovate, it will not happen.
What does a culture of innovation look like? Here are a few things cultures that support innovation have:
The innovative individual(s), the “we team” and a culture of innovation are tightly woven together to create successful innovation. If any one of these components is missing, you greatly reduce – if not totally eliminate – the opportunity of successful innovation. This process takes time and does not happen overnight; however, this concept brings to mind the quote:
When I go slow, I go fast….
There are times in our fast-paced environments that we need to slow down in order to go fast again. When we miss this step, we end up going back and being re-active or doing “damage control” to “fix” things. In the realm of innovation, knowing when to slow down, when to push forward, when to take the risk and knowing when good enough is good enough are all vital elements to success. One does not have to be naturally “wired” for innovation to lead innovation. We lead innovation by empowering our team and people to create a culture of innovation. Abraham Lincoln was a great example of leading innovation.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes on innovation; I hope they inspire you as well:
Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!
Thomas A. Edison
Because, you know, resilience – if you think of it in terms of the Gold Rush, then you’d be pretty depressed right now because the last nugget of gold would be gone. But the good thing is, with innovation, there isn’t a last nugget. Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities. Jeff Bezos
I invite you to share your insights as well… what have you found that works, or does not work, to lead individuals and cultures to successful innovation?
Michelle Braden is the CEO of MSBCoach, an ICF certified business. Michelle is an ICF and TED certified coach and received her Advanced Human Behavior Certification and Wellness Coaching certification from the Leadership Institute of America. She advanced certified associate of Emergenetics, Int. and advanced trainer for DiSC. Michelle has worked with notables from Morgan Keegan, Capital One, the University of Virginia, General Dynamics, LexisNexis, and the City of Charlottesville, and has served in leadership, coaching and training positions for corporations such as Robert Half International and Retirement Unlimited Incorporated. She has written two leadership training manuals for The Church of God International and is a freelance writer for Thought Leaders Blog, Lead Change Blog, Leadership Courseware Blog, The Business Networker, and Forward/Adelante magazine.
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