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No such perfect solution exists. You cannot find a simple causal path that connects structure to performance. The Focus Mindset. They fail to recognize that the best creative thinkers oscillate between states of focus and unfocus.

How Innovation Is Completely Different in Established Organizations Than in Startups

Travel helps to spark creativity as does creating temporal distance. Andy Jassy, Senior Vice President of Amazon Web Services, explains that developers in his organization do not begin writing software code for a new project until they have drafted a hypothetical release for their new product offering. The Naysayer Mindset. Unfortunately, the failure to manage dissent and contrarian perspectives constructively causes many good ideas to wither on the vine.

If the role is always played by one person, they begin to be ignored. So rotate the role. It must be constructive and respectful. Creating an environment that unlocks the creativity inherent in your organization is not easy nor can you expect immediate results. It is the calling of leaders. Unlocking Creativity pulls together what we know about creativity and how that knowledge can be applied to our organizations and teams to foster innovation.

The scene is famous for the way it terrified audiences without ever showing the titular shark. It was a documentary on the making of the movie, all about the lengths that then year-old wunderkind Steven Spielberg and his crew went to in creating a film that would define the summer blockbuster. In his original vision, viewers would be treated to a gory scene of the mechanical shark visibly attacking the unassuming woman.


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Spielberg could have insisted on the shot. He could have bawled out the engineers and technicians behind the mechanical prop, demanding that they somehow find a way to carry out his vision. Instead, he brainstormed with the talented people around him and came up with a new vision — one that was just as compelling as the original, and with the added bonus that it would actually work.


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They had to improvise, making up major new scenes as they hit major new problems. As I watched the documentary, I was struck by how closely the story mirrored case studies from the business world, and how perfectly it illustrated the points I try to emphasize in the leadership and innovation class I teach at MIT. In business, we tend to mythologize innovative leaders as those who have a revolutionary vision and stick with it, no matter what.

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No, those fresh, once-in-a-lifetime ideas are examples of pure and raw creativity. Anyone with experience with the unforgiving discipline of new product development can testify how exceedingly rare it is for even the best of ideas to emerge from that process unscathed. Creating something new is almost never a simple matter of dreaming a thing up and then building a physical representation of that vision.

Nearly always, the process is an iterative one, full of trial-and-error, with more failures than successes. In one famous example, Thomas Edison had to teach himself thousands of ways not to make a light bulb before finding a way that worked. Innovation, then, is less about having original ideas than it is about being able to execute those ideas. Similarly, Spielberg borrowed from his idol, Alfred Hitchcock, in exploiting the terror of the unknown. If innovation is really about execution, then execution itself is really about problem-solving. The difference between ultimate success and failure is the ability to solve these problems.

In fact, I would go a step further and say that the mark of an innovative leader is often his or her ability to redefine the problem — to see it in a new way that presents previously unseen solutions.

PDF Making Good Ideas Happen!: The Aha Moment

On one hand, leaders must trust in themselves. But at the same time, they must be willing to surround themselves with talented people and place real trust in their teams to help them recognize problems and arrive at solutions. He has taught leadership since at the undergraduate, masters, doctoral and executive levels. First, create a strategic narrative about a possible future, second break the decision bottlenecks, and third use key performance indicators—an artifact trail—to create signposts for the road ahead.

Strategic Narrative. The stories you create must be true narratives through the eyes of one person: a story with a narrative arc, characters a conflict, and a resolution. When it comes to seeing possibilities, science fiction writers have an edge. They urge us to use science fiction writers to write stories of possible futures in your industry. And then present them in comic book format. The creative genre can help us dream bigger.

Using technology to facilitate "aha!" moments - Dave King - TEDxOU

They provide examples of how science fiction stories help companies do just that. Breaking Bottlenecks. Creating the story, finding science fiction writers and graphic artists may be the easy part. Archetypes can help you understand how to approach the decision makers in your organization. In one example, the legal team was holding up progress out of a desire to protect the company.

In the example, Natalie reframed the proposal in a way that the caretaker archetype could appreciate. She suggested the moving forward would help to protect the company in the long run by keeping it relevant. Navigating the Unknown. When we are entering new territory we have few markers to guide us. Most of the ongoing metrics we use are design to access past performance and are little help in judging an uncertain future.

There is a brief discussion of the need for negative capability. It is being able to press on while not knowing. Whereas many people cannot stand the fuzziness of uncertainty, leaders of innovation and transformation frequently demonstrate negative capabilities.

The negative capabilities facilitate the exploration of new terrain and the discovery of the adjacent possible. Take action to create the future you desire. To not be innovative is to risk being left behind. But how many of us are truly innovative? What have we done that could be called really innovative in the last year? It requires skills that too few have developed. We make incremental changes to be sure, but innovation necessitates something more.

Often we just are too close to the situation to see the opportunities. They search for those cultural symbols that people live by but have a hard time telling you about. Andi Simon is a corporate anthropologist that wants to help you do just that—act like an anthropologist for your own organization or life. Simon says she is amazed at how often we miss what is right in front of us.

Conduct observational research. You need to go out and watch not only your customers but also your employees. Watch and record how they think and interact with your product or service.

e-book Yer Never Gonnae Believe It

Find their pain points. Users connect with you through call centers, emails, searches, your website, and networking events. What are they happy with, upset about or frustrated by? Capture the stories.