We’re running our training program off-site this week and it brings to mind all the small things that seem insignificant but can have a drastic impact on the outcome of the week. Through trial and error we’ve come up with some solutions to handle these potential landmines even when we’re off-site. So here are the top three hidden killers for innovation programs and some potential solutions to them.
We all have great people that work for us but sometimes it can be hard to get their full potential out of them. These four steps are easy things to do that can help get the most out of the people you have working for you.
1. Set a mission and some boundaries:
No matter what it is every task from the smallest day to day thing to drastic changes in your company should have a mission and some boundaries to it. How detailed these things are change depending on what it is of course. For making a part in a factory the mission can be as simple as produce x number of parts per hour; while the boundaries could be the tolerances the part has to be within. On the other end of the spectrum is your companies strategic planning for the year where the mission is where you want the company to head and your boundaries are the things you want to avoid or how much resources you can devote to it. In the end everything that happens within our companies has a mission and boundaries and you should take the time to consider them even if it’s just in an informal way.
In today’s age collaborating with people around the globe is easier than ever. We’re at a point where working remotely is almost as easy as working with those in the same room as you. The trouble comes in when you need to make major changes. When a major change is needed the delay in email or messaging and the impersonal nature of video conferencing can hinder progress to a significant extent.
As we go through the daily grind and deadlines come and go we focus on the short term. Get things done as well as they need to and move on to the next thing only achieving the goals that we need now.
Topics: innovation waste process
In today's world the market is flooded with offerings, some of them are great and others are terrible. But, there's enough people trying - that just having a spectacular product or service isn't enough anymore. You need to go beyond just an amazing offering and create a one of a kind experience that truly brings your offering to life for the customer.
When you're designing a new offering or just rethinking a current offering you should consider the whole that the customer will experience and how that affects them. One of the easiest examples is a restaurant. When you walk through the door the decorations and atmosphere should immediately set the stage for what's to come. You're seated and everything from the chairs, to the table cloth, to the lighting helps further the image that's been set.
We don’t know what we don’t know. As we work and do our normal routine we fall into patterns and roles where we’re comfortable. Maybe you’re better doing the behind the scenes work while the people you work with are better at the customer facing interactions. We become specialists in what we do and perfect the methods and skills that we use to do it. While this helps us create a reliable system it discourages us to look at the whole and we miss the details of what is happening in the areas we aren’t a part of.
You sit in the hard backed chair, the ultimate torture device, it’s somehow not uncomfortable but so close that it constantly weighs on your mind as you sit in it. The fluorescent lights above you hum along at their steady pace and the air around you encompasses you in it’s mediocrity, not quite too hot, too cold, or too stuffy just bland. Across from you the sun shines through the window and a flock of birds fly by, just enough to give you blissful seconds of a distraction. Through it all comes the drone of someone talking; you try and pinpoint it as your mind wanders. You feel like it’s something important, something you should be listening to but you struggle to pin point it. You look to your right and see the same blank look on the faces of people you feel like you should know. As you sweep your view back to the left your brain kicks into high gear as you piece together the puzzle and the realization that the voice is coming from your boss explaining the next year’s strategy dawns on you. Relief, as you listen you realize it’s the same tried and true strategy that has been used for the four years you’ve been here. Well at least close enough that it won’t affect your daily life in anyway. Suddenly he announces the end to the meeting and with glee you pack up your things ecstatic to be done for the day and already thinking about the project you’re working on at home.
Only 24 hours left until the deadline, your plans were so grand you were going to change so much, but time betrayed you. Now with only a few hours to go you sit staring down a half finished product. What do you do? Do you decide to ship it anyway and just cobble together the remaining, but as best you can? Or do you admit defeat and push it back saying you'll make it next time?
This is the problem with change and learning; we live in the real world where things have to be finished and there are deadlines to meet. At some point you'll run into this dilemma where you have to decide to release it half complete or push it back and try again later. The problem is neither of these options are useful when you're trying to develop and learn about a new idea. If you throw something together last minute you add complications to it and muddy the outcomes of your testing. If you push it off and wait until next time you risk never trying anything and never moving forward.
Too often we only want to see a polished version of a new idea before we even start to discuss it or make decisions on it. The problem is by the time the creator of the idea gets to a polished state they’ve already invested their time and energy into it and will try and defend it exactly how they’ve made it. This mentality is okay to have later on in the process when you’re reviewing an idea before it ships or you invest a lot of money in it to make sure it’s the best it possibly is. Any other time be it in the very early stages or during development when you’re making trade offs this mentality will just slow you down and can lead to a needlessly killed idea or sub-par idea moving forward.
The middle of December; for students in Innovation Engineering this time is filled with trying to finish up all the assignments they still have left. But more importantly is the semester reflection that all students will be completing. The last assignment for all four classes ends in a simple 500-word reflection where students are just asked to reflect on what they learned across the whole semester.
For students this is a moment where during the crazy times that is exam week they can just stop and think about what they’ve learned during the semester and realize what they’ve learned instead of just cramming for finals. Taking this time to reflect can also improve your ability to learn and enhance the learning that occurred. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development lists four main benefits from reflective learning.
- Helps you accept responsibility for your own personal growth.