Enabling Continual Innovation and Change
Setting the stage
This series of blogs is designed for those responsible for innovation and change or those wanting more from existing programs and who are prepared to look for that potential in more subtle, complex, and often hidden ways.
This series of blog articles are based on 70 years of research and application plus a recent research project.
The authors are Andy Wilkins, Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School, Partner at Perspectiv, Non- Executive Chair, Ladder to the Moon and an Associate of the Creative Problem Solving Group, USA and Cass Business School Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership Alumni Anne Maria Krebs.
In this series we use the term “continual innovation” rather than “continuous improvement” very explicitly and deliberately. Continuous improvement means that organisations are in a constant state of improving. The research highlights two flaws in this language which in turn leads to unnecessary, unintended, unwanted, and unhelpful consequences to those looking to change performance which after all is the whole purpose.
Research highlights that the word continual is a more accurate word because literally continuous means uninterrupted and change approaches are always based on punctuated equilibrium. So continual - repeated but with breaks in between – is a more accurate description.
Likewise, improvement focuses only on half the change spectrum. As HR Magazine noted about innovation and change in December 2018: ‘At one end stands revolutionary explorations or inventions, and at the other end evolutionary developments and adaptions. All of it is creative and innovative and neither is better than the other’.
The full articles can be found here and are worth reading https://hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/hr-magazine-tries-testing-personal-creativity and https://hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/hrs-role-in-organisational-creativity-and-innovation
If the aim is to change performance, surely, we want to value and include the whole spectrum – what Jeffrey Hyman (founder of Pret a Manger and Director of Innovations at RHM) once referred to as “valuing a balanced diet”
Series 1 – 5 Articles: Innovation and knowledge are linked, and knowledge can be explicit or tacit. Tacit knowledge is a great source of innovation. Enabling tacit knowledge to be shared requires great skill in creating a favourable environment or more specifically a ‘climate’ which encourages much richer conversations, and therefore more potential for innovation.
Articles in Series 2: looks deeper into building a favourable climate.
Articles in Series 3: looks at what is required for better conversations.
Articles in Series 4: looks at how to pull all of this together for continual innovation and change.
Look out for the first blog article in Series 1 on the topic of ‘enabling continual innovation and change everywhere – release collective brilliance’!