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is doing, fear of being perceived as not progressing, and so on. Another element that comes up


in these clarification conversations refers to what we call the ‘volution spectrum’: how much ‘evolutionary’ and/or ‘revolutionary’ innovation does your business context and strategy require? Ten have a discussion on how much of the innovation budget goes to each end of the spectrum, and how much that ideally should be. A third element of clarification is


around the nature of the innovation. All too often we focus on product and service performance, whereas there are many more innovation types, such as business model, company configura- tion, brand and customer experience.


Beyond ‘but’


See the value in all ideas Tink back to the last time you brought an idea to your manager, or the last time someone else brought an idea to you. How did the conversation go? How do managers typically respond when someone brings a new idea? Te way in which we answer


of those fashionable ‘words on the wall’ that might mean anything to anybody or whether there is an aligned understanding on what it means and why it is important for the company. CCL research on companies who


are effective at innovating reveals they have a vision for innovation and an innovation strategy that links up with the overall business strategy. If innovation is indeed so important, it deserves clarity. You’ll find many definitions of


innovation, and they all have similar elements. We define innovation as: creating and implementing something new that adds value. It all starts by sharing a common understanding of why innovation matters to the organisation and to us. A lot of the time, people phrase that as fear: fear of upcoming (digital) disruption, fear of what competition


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and the words we use matter greatly. ‘Yes, but’ is one of the most popular replies. Tat’s unfortunate because it demotivates people who got energised about innovation and the last thing we want is for people to stop bringing ideas. A simple reframing of the answer and switching from ‘Yes, but’ to ‘Yes, and’ changes the dynamics of the conversation to a common exploration of the value of the idea while building on it, instead of killing it instantly. Research shows that one of the


reasons managers inadvertently kill ideas is that they use feasibility as the prime criteria to evaluate ideas, whereas customers are looking for creativity. Inside most organisations, managers are conditioned to focus on what is feasible instead of what might be possible.


Learn this: POINt tool for evaluating ideas


Te POINt tool helps to evaluate ideas starting with the positive. We can testify that this simple tool has helped to


unstick conversations, so give it a try: ``


Pluses – what’s good about the idea now that we should keep?


``


Opportunities – what might be good in the future?


``


Issues – what’s not right How to …?


yet? Phrase the issues as: `


` `


`` How might we …? In what ways might we …?


New thinking – to overcome the issues.


Beyond creativity


Ideas don’t sell themselves and don’t implement themselves During one of our first innovation workshops, executives came to us saying ‘ideas are not the problem, I get good ideas on a daily basis’. CCL research confirms this: a lack of ideas didn’t make it into the top five of





Switching from ‘Yes, but’ to ‘Yes, and’ changes the dynamics of the conversation


innovation roadblocks. But it’s not OK when brainstorming sessions only de- liver a wall full of Post-its, or a hacka- thon session only produces a prototype. Is idea generation important?


Absolutely. Is it sufficient? Absolutely not. Ideas don’t just sell and implement themselves: they need active support and hard work from managers at all levels. We need to go beyond creativity and teach people how to navigate ideas safely through a complex organisation. Championing ideas requires


empathy with those you want to get on board to convey the value to them. It’s all about the compelling story. Te crux of the problem is that managers are faced with pressure of implementing the organisation’s strategy and doing today’s business. Tey don’t have time to listen to nebulous explanations. If the person presenting the idea can’t connect the proposed innovation to results or give a roadmap to take the idea to the marketplace, the manager tunes out.


Beyond ghettos


Connect ideas to ideas, ideas to people and people to people We bet that the innovation you are working on requires collaboration across the enterprise, and maybe even


 | December 2016 | 13


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