Everyone seems to be talking about innovation these days but what does it actually mean and how can it be achieved? For a left-brain thinker, such as myself, the concept can seem quite daunting but it is this exact mindset that is holding us back.
Organisational theorist, Karl Weik, suggests that large-scale problems (for example, climate change) are defined in such an intimidating way that we feel powerless to solve them. And as a result, we take little or no action.
To overcome this issue, we need to adopt a strategy that breaks the problem and solution down into more achievable goals. In doing this results become more visible and the problem becomes smaller.
Innovations coach, Dr Ken Hudson, has applied this theory to innovation. He believes that improvement should not be limited to "big" ideas. Companies such as Apple are renowned for their pioneering products and technology but small businesses can have an innovative culture too, without having to design the latest iPhone! Ken calls it "small wins innovation" and defines it as any small idea, solution, action, change or improvement that could make a difference to someone's life.
Changing this idea of what innovation is then allows people to express and test their creativity, big or small. Whether it is suggesting new software, a simple improvement to a procedure or even leaders simply saying yes before saying no, it all adds to the innovative culture of a business.
Here at Overells, for example, we are constantly looking for that one per cent improvement in processes and procedures. We are encouraged, and given the opportunity, to put our ideas forward for any improvements that could be made, even if it's just the rewording of a sentence. These "small" ideas could then, and often do, grow to something much greater, it's just a simple matter of recognising the small achievements that will help us get there.