Reinvention, the first step

Reinvention, the first step

Regular visitors will have been used to me talking about ReThinking which is my umbrella term that covers both Reinvention and Innovation.

These two require similar but not identical skills and behaviours. The biggest difference though, is scale and timescale.

Reinvention covers the near or very near future and has a relatively small scope whilst Innovation has a large scope and a time scale which is long, or as some say ‘over the horizon’.

Here I am concerned with Reinvention, what some might call ‘pivoting’ (a largely meaningless term which everyone claims to understand but which I have never seen a definition for).

The first 3 steps on the Reinvention path are Anticipating ChangeDesigning Change and Implementing Change.

I have a simple but useful tool that can help you assess how ready you are to work in these three areas. Please ask if you wish to know more.

Let us look at the first step, Anticipating Change. Here are 5 questions, if you answer yes to any of them then you have issues. The more times you answer ‘yes’ the more work you have to do, unfortunately. All is not lost but you should act swiftly.

Here are the questions:

Does your business get insights and/or warnings from the same sources (suppliers, customers, trade publications, etc) and rarely go in search of unusual sources of information?

Are you and other employees rarely asked to share insights and reflections on potential threats, disruptions, or opportunities for your business?

When insights and warnings of disruptions (note this means disruptive events not the power being turned off!) are encountered, are they only shared with a small group of people?

Does your business only start reacting when confronted with an unfolding crisis or series of unexpected events rather than try to anticipate a threat or opportunity and be proactive?

Does your business take insufficient time for reflection, creative thinking, or being proactive?

If you want to know more about how to assess your readiness for Designing Change and Implementing Change then please get in touch and ask for my ‘Are You Future Fit’ download.

Is Innovation Failure Good?

innovation failure

Here I put the case that Innovation Failure is not good.

Innovators should all be failing as fast as they can, shouldn’t they? This is something that we hear all the time. We are told that failure is good, we must fail faster!

Today I listened to a thought provoking talk by the amazing Samuel West from the Museum Of Failure. Go and visit the website and Sam’s profile on LinkedIn to find out more.

Some thoughts that rushed through my head and found their way onto my notepad:

What actually is success? What is failure?

Is fear of failure justified?

Innovation ‘gurus’ often tell us we should fail and fail fast. But why? Sam makes the point that we have not yet reached the potential for learning from failure. A remark from the great Charles handy here ‘guru is simply an American word for charlatan’.

However, it would seem that simply failing fast so that we can get to success more quickly might not be such a good idea.

I shall try to explain a little more.

There is a school of thought that says we are all going to fail sometimes so the more, or faster we fail the faster we get to the successes. This has led to some spectacular (and expensive) failures.

The thing is, although it is ok to fail, we should not be encouraging it as a path to success. The point that I am trying to make is that we should be trying to reduce these expensive or timewasting episodes and we have not yet learned the lessons that we need to learn. It would thus seem that we need to learn more from the failures that we do encounter rather than thinking of increasing numbers of failures as success.

If you need a little help in creating Innovation success, rather than failure then you can see how to get started, measure your innovation potential or have a look at some free resources to use.

What Is Creativity?

what is creativityWhen you think about Creativity, what springs into your head? What is Creativity exactly? Does my question encourage you to think of names of great artists, engineers, philosophers or technologists?

The more down to earth amongst you might like to tell me about your father whose home-brewed beer was ‘extraordinary’ or your grandmother who filled her house with culinary delights whenever you visited.

Are both of these groups of people creative, or neither?

Stay with me as I delve a little into some of the theories regarding creativity.

Theories in this area tend to differentiate Creativity (creativity with a capital “C”) from creativity (creativity with a lowercase “c”).

And what is the difference? The former is basically to do with the ‘big stuff’, the scientists and well-known creative thinkers. The latter is actually much more interesting.

This creativity can take many forms and may even involve nothing more than making a few tweaks to a recipe, directions, or set of instructions. Even though it’s appreciated or experienced only by your circle of friends and family, you feel good about having an impact.

Some common features of creativity include originality, effectiveness, surprise, divergent thinking, and discovery.

You don’t have to be an artist, then, to be creative by standard definitions because you can be an inventor or original thinker in fields such as science and technology. In fact, an artist might not be creative if they simply paint the same things using the same paints and subject matter.

The other question which only popped into my head the other day is ‘for whom is this creative’? To what does this creativity refer?

If I have created an exciting new gadget in my shed, I have been creative. Do I need to show this to people and get their feedback? Is it essential for our creative efforts to be appreciated or commented on to make them creative?

What then happens when others perceive creativity in our efforts? This is beginning to get deep I know but please bear with me.

Let us consider one more idea about creativity. Children are very creative. They turn everyday items into suits of armour and swords and create the most detailed and multicoloured drawings. Is this just childish naivety or do these expressions of creativity have a real meaning?

Creativity research has often detailed primary (self-expressed) and secondary (recognised by others) creativity. Is it actually possible to split creativity like this?

More recent research has brought new ideas to the table. “Primary” creativity that is unique to the individual and “secondary,” which begins when an audience is “in dialogue with” the creator.

So primary creativity contains things like subject matter, medium, and significant outcomes (works of art or inventions).

For secondary creativity, the outcome reaches an audience which, in turn, produces the secondary outcomes. This could be an interpretation or perhaps an experience.

At this point, I shall leave the theory behind but you can see that there are a number of dialogues going on here that can continue for some time.

This has an impact on how we as speakers, trainers, consultants (and even my engineering and accounting friends too) deliver to the world. It is not good enough to dream up an exciting new concept, we have to think about the interactions that will take place as our idea is shown to the world.

Be cautious also, the interactions are not always started by ourselves! Our audiences can be very creative in their responses.

How Creativity Can Help Your Business

If you embrace the idea of creativity then as an employer you can get something else. And it is entirely for free, increased intrinsic motivation. Create the right conditions for yourself and others to be creative (at the appropriate time of course), and put in place the mechanisms to allow such behaviour. Consequently, employees and colleagues will automatically be given a greater degree of freedom and trust. In turn, this will be rewarded by increased effort or output. Now you have a better business and employees who will ‘go the extra mile’ for you without being coerced! If you want to know a little more then why not read this article What Is Creativity?

Podcast – Using negativity, making use of the Mood Hoovers

Mood Hoovers. Do you have some of those negative people in your business who just suck the life out of you? If you are self employed maybe you are surrounded by some. What do you do about them? Find out how using negativity can improve your business.