Fostering a culture of innovation can lead to higher engagement and better results.
In my last post, I talked about my recent trip to IDEO, an innovation and design firm that uses a human-centered, design-based approach to help organizations grow. I was so inspired by their thoughts about innovation that I decided a read the book, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, authored by CEO Tim Brown.
Tim Brown talks a lot in the book about how to inspire innovation within teams. He asserts that it’s critical to develop an environment in which people know they can experiment, take risks and explore the full range of their faculties:
- A culture that believes it is better to ask forgiveness rather than permission, that rewards people for success but gives them permission to fail, has removed one of the main obstacles to the formation of new ideas.
- An important lesson about the challenge of shifting from a culture of hierarchy and efficiency to one of risk taking and exploration: Those who navigate the transition successfully are likely to become more deeply engaged, more highly motivated and more wildly productive than ever before.
How many of us truly encourage our teams to live by these tenets? If not, why not? What are we afraid of? One could argue that healthcare is in need of innovation more than ever before.
Brown goes on to say:
- The most important counterpart to an attitude of experimentation is a climate of optimism.
- Curiosity does not thrive in organizations that have grown cynical.
- Project teams become nervous, suspicious and prone to second-guessing what management really wants.
- To harvest the power of design thinking, individuals, teams and whole organizations have to cultivate optimism. People have to believe it’s within their power (or at least the power of their team) to create new ideas that will have a positive impact.
- Optimism requires confidence, and confidence is built on trust. And, trust flows in both directions.
Do you think it’s hard to be optimistic in today’s environment? Have all of the looming changes in healthcare made you cynical? How can you motivate yourself and your team (and your agency) to regain optimism, reject cynicism and work together to find truly innovative solutions that will create better results than you had last year? These are questions we’ll be asking our team members and clients at Kuhn & Wittenborn in the coming months. We would welcome your stories on innovation too.