This week, I’m visiting the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to learn more about innovation. I’m part of a small group participating in their Innovation Immersion Experience. As a student of innovation and creativity for decades, a visit to SCAD is like a kid going to visit Santa’s workshop.

As the marketplace gets more and more competitive, innovation is no longer a nice to do activity. I believe it’s quickly becoming an imperative for any organization that wants to thrive in today’s world.

Today was day one of a three-day event. I’ve already got at least a dozen ideas to help me and Chick-fil-A be more innovative. Here are three very pragmatic ideas from today…

Define Innovation – Innovation is one of those terms that is overused, poorly defined and most often misunderstood. The only way to combat this in your organization is to DECIDE how you want to define it. This does not mean other definitions are incorrect or not valid. What it means is for the sake of consistency and effectiveness, your organization has decided… your definition here.

For us, innovation is the process of turning ideas into business value. You may choose a different definition – great! Just choose one and get to work making it a reality in your organization.

Teach a Process for Innovation – Just like the definition of innovation, you can find scores of different ways to make innovation a reality – pick one. At Chick-fil-A, we use a design thinking model, which incorporates five key elements. They are:

Understand > Imagine > Prototype > Validate > Launch

What’s your process for innovation?

Create a Culture of Innovation – This one is big. I’ve long understood the behaviors which have the greatest, long-term impact on an organization, are not random, tactical decisions. Organizations are fundamentally changed when a culture is changed.

The SCAD team believes a Culture of Innovation is the natural byproduct when five elements are present.

  • Belief
  • Structure
  • Leadership
  • People
  • Process

Of course, my bias is that it all rests on leadership. If a leader doesn’t have a bias for innovation, it will be virtually impossible to create a culture of innovation.

When Ken Blanchard and I wrote about this in The Secret, we called it Reinvent Continuously. This practice is essential for the continued viability and vibrancy of our organizations. It’s also the path to sustained competitive advantage. Reinvention and innovation are at the core of what great leaders do. They also create organizations, which do the same.

So what do you think? Are you on the journey to create a culture of innovation? I’m guessing many of you are because you understand what Marshall Goldsmith has been saying for years, “What got you here will not get you there.”

There’s much more to say about this topic! Look for additional installments in the weeks to come.[GLS_Shield]

 

 

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.