The following is an excerpt from the Preface of “Saving Innovation:”
Somewhere between Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum and the Sandstone Ranch it became clear to me that application, not philosophy, needed to be the focal point. If my participants were unwilling or unable to put what I had presented into action, what was the use?
I started to open my mind to innovation. I took a wider view. If application had been overlooked, what else had the current thought neglected in favor of a tools-exclusive approach?
I started thinking about business cultures, goal setting and a total system of innovation. I examined how the philosophy of innovation was being distributed to all levels of the company; where was it succeeding, where was it not meeting expectations. I wondered which tools are most essential to learn and understand to create a foundation for innovation. I heard people’s frustrations about not knowing exactly where to start this process.
I began to ask questions when my business contacts called requesting my services. I asked what innovation training they’d done previously. What tools are being used and how have they been integrated into daily operation? What is the business goal or result they want to accomplish through my training? What behaviors would they like to see their employees embracing as a result of this session? What in their structure, measurements or culture will support those new behaviors?
With a futures mindset I could see the demise of innovation as a widespread business practice.
I needed to strip innovation down, take it out of the boardrooms and away from the jargon, tailor it to the people responsible for putting it place. I had to stop training innovation with an emphasis on laughs and start training innovation with an emphasis on results. I needed to start teaching with Doug in mind. Going forward, the participant had to come first.
The core attributes I needed to spotlight in my training for innovation to flourish would be:
Creating an innovative culture
Properly identifying goals
Establishing the fundamentals of idea generation
Supporting innovation through leadership
It all came down to culture, goals, tools and people.