Key Learning's from The Innovative Organisation Masterclass - Workshop by "Future of Work Consortium", London



I have had the opportunity to attend the THE INNOVATIVE ORGANISATION MASTERCLASS, which took place at The City Suite, etc.venues, 8 Fenchurch Place in London on 4th October 2016.

There were amazing array of speakers including Dr. Srini Pillay, CEO NeuroBusiness Group and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, Professor Kamalini Ramdas, Professor of Management Science and Operations, London Business School and key note speaker Professor Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and Founder of Future of Work Consortium and Hot Spots Movement. The Masterclass focussed on helping members get acquainted with cutting-edge academic thinking on innovation, Discover best-in-class thinking about future-proofed approaches to harnessing innovation and also touched upon on the challenges of driving innovation within organisations.

I have encapsulated below few of the key learning's out of this masterclass : -
  • Innovation is something many organisations have struggled to maintain outside of their R&D labs. Innovation is not a department anymore. It is a mentality that should pervade your entire organisation. 
  • Overcome Innovation Inbreeding - Innovation inbreeding is when innovation efforts are constantly led by the same group of people within the company. One common theme across the innovation literature is that breakthrough ideas almost always come when diverse disciplines and people come together. Leaders seeking to drive innovation ought to ask themselves the degree to which their ideas are suffering because of innovation inbreeding.
  • Conquering Digital Distraction - Digital distraction may be the defining problem of today’s workplace. All day and night, we are barraged with so much information that even when we want to focus, it is nearly impossible. Control the digital overload rather than letting it control you. 
  • Valuing Solitude -  build periods of solitude in the daily lives of employees. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. Studies indicate that we spend anywhere from 35%–55% of our time, and sometimes much more, in meetings. But there is a problem with this as people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. 
  • Productivity versus Creativity - Organisations must balance productivity with creativity. Provide people opportunity to learn diverse things that are not obviously relevant to their jobs, so that they will have a broad knowledge base to draw from when they need to be creative. 
  • Idea Recognition is critical - In most organisations, innovation is not impeded by a lack of ideas, but rather a lack of noticing the good ideas that are already there. Consider some well-known examples from history. Kodak’s research laboratory invented the first digital camera in 1975 but did not pursue it and allowed Sony to become pioneers in digital photography. Similarly, Xerox developed the first personal computer, but did not invest in technology and allowed Apple to take the opportunity away. According to a study published by a team of researchers at Wharton, these examples reflect a bias we all share - a bias against new and creative ideas.
  • Hiring Originals - Overcoming innovation inbreeding starts with hiring, by purposely hiring someone who would make peers feel uncomfortable; someone whose skills the company does not need and someone without previous experience in solving the type of problem at hand. These practices may sound irrational but research suggests that they are all sound approaches for overcoming innovation inbreeding. Put simply, these diverse experiences give the company a broad spectrum of ideas to try in new ways and places. However, it is interesting to note that an optimum innovation team also contains some conformists as they can dramatically increase the output of innovations - not just ideas.

Lynda during her keynote summarised and called upon oganizations to take following steps to foster culture of innovation across the board.

Generate lots of ideas | Hire Originals | Encourage employees to become polymaths | Facilitate a ‘network of teams’ | Assign people to tasks they love | Make time for the work that matters | Harness communities of creativity | Foster a positive work culture | Build periods of recovery |Encourage curiosity in Leaders.

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