Who or what is The Innovation Whisperer and what exactly is Innovation Whispering? Put simply it is a more gentle, yet more effective way of making Innovation work for your organisation.
So the Innovation Whisperer is me, Derek Cheshire and I deliver a particular type of intervention that is less costly, less brutal yet more effective and quicker than the programmes and projects that some larger consultancy companies will sell to you.
But what is the aim of all this, why not simply follow the instructions contained in the ‘One minute guide to Innovation’ and all the other books that exist?
Let me go back to the term Horse Whisperer. Here is a definition that I found via Google:
Noun. horse whisperer (plural horse whisperers) A horse trainer who adopts a sympathetic view of the motives, needs, and desires of the horse, based on modern equine psychology.
So in a similar way, an Innovation Whisperer will adopt a sympathetic view of your organisation and the people within it. There will be no brutal change programme and people will want to participate. Your organisation will be transformed in an organic rather than a mechanistic way into the type of organisation that is fit for the future and able to transform itself without a heavy dependency on external (and expensive) agencies.
Some will argue that Lean is efficient but Lean systems are not easily changeable, or rather self-modifying like an organic organisation. The big disadvantage of a Lean system is that it requires an external change agent in order to adapt to changing circumstances.
Using change agents is possible but it is both slower and more costly in the long run.
But why the need for speed? Recent events should serve to remind us why speed is essential but for now, let us use this example.
Imagine that you have taken a vacation to the Mediterranean and at this moment you are swimming in the nice warm water with the sun overhead. Everything is idyllic, for now. Someone is standing at the water’s edge and in his hand, he has a 1 litre container of seawater which contains 1 billion genetically modified and rather odd bacteria.
These bacteria will not kill humans but produce a waste product that is effectively a red dye. The volume of the body of water in which you are swimming is approximately 4,390,000,000,000,000,000 litres. If the man standing with the bacteria pours the contents of his container into the water, how long would it be before you must jump out to avoid becoming dyed red? Assume that the bacteria double in number every minute.
So how long then? In our amazingly simple example, the answer is just under 62 minutes (61 minutes and 56 sec to be precise). Many people guess that it would be hours or days when asked this. Our concept of time is often flawed.
This is obviously an exponential phenomenon. So is COVID-19 when the R number is greater than 1. Other types of change can be and have been exponential such as advancing technologies or in some cases, social change.
This shows that changes tend to happen rapidly in the current world climate and often we must be avoiding trouble before we even know that it is there. This is exactly why we need a rapidly changing, self-modifying organic organisation that simply cannot be brought into existence by current mechanistic interventions. Enter The Innovation Whisperer.
The benefits of working this way are many.
- The change begins from day one, no ‘getting to know you time’ required.
- The relationship is close, no long lines of communication or remote project teams
- This is fast
- Knowledge is transferred to you so you do not have to pay for it twice
- You have a flexible organisation
- Intrinsic motivation is built in (check out the neuroscience) so you get a hard working yet happy, curious, and creative workforce
- There is someone there ‘hands ready’ (not ‘hands on’ or ‘hands off’) just in case you need a little help
- Any changes are simply measured using a simple measurement tool
- Interventions are carried out only where needed
You may be asking how much will this cost me. Well in the past surveys of R&D spending have shown that many businesses spend at least 1% of their turnover on this item. It is possible to spend more and also a lot less, even as little as 0.1%. Many try to work it out themselves but get stuck. Instead of obtaining a return on investment for your Innovation effort, you can simply end up pouring money into a black hole. You need to avoid these Innovation Not Spots.
So if you are stuck with your Innovation project or programme or you have significant blocks to creativity (either personal or organisational) then an Innovation Whisperer may be exactly what you need.