What Is Innovation Today: Creating Your New- Normal

 In Executive Strategy, Global Trends, Innovation

Now that we are all in the same predicament with the Coronavirus we should collectively take stock in our lives, in our careers and in our businesses. For us at PlazaBridge Group this requires a deep and thorough examination of what it is to be truly innovative. Currently we are feeling the urgency of needs-based innovation, for example, hacking ventilators and face masks. Trends-based innovation will also re-emerge, for example, innovating new manufacturing options and new products in the US to become more self sufficient: for our medical needs for example.

Many companies are pivoting their strategies and business if only temporarily to meet critical needs and to keep people employed. Clothing, textile companies, car manufactures… are turning to making much needed face masks, manufacturing ventilators and discovering recyclable medical grade masks. It’s impressive, albeit a sad reason, how fast we are all moving toward innovating new ways of being, doing and making. What is also impressive is the speed in which companies are making impactful decisions and putting them into action. And it’s even more impressive how we as individuals and our families are all working in our shelter-in-place cubby holes producing work, continuing to learn, being with our families even if by zoom and we are quickly forming our “new normals”. This country can stand proud at how quickly we adjust to adversity.

Duke University uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide to clean N95 face masks for reuse-@Techcrunch

Innovation for our clients is the cornerstone of Plazabridge Group. We seek out challenges and help our clients solve revenue problems, market alignment challenges and deliver new products to market. To do this, we bring innovative thinking around the dual dimensions of big thinking and detailed analysis.

Companies Retool Operations to Assist in Coronavirus Fight

@WSJ

As companies, continue in some cases and begin in others, to seek opportunities brought on by the pandemic and how to change current businesses to react to the new “normal”, imagining pivots and new value proposition is necessary. How does the pandemic change the demand for your products? How can your products evolve to adapt to new demand? How does the timing of delivery impact the success of your business? Driving these new business directions should be new ideas? In this, it is always important to remember if your team is the GOLD or the MINERS of GOLD.

Gold people, given the freedom and emotional support, will spread GOLD all over your company in the form of new ideas, new products, repurposing existing products and/or simply contributing to the population of evolving concepts. MINERS take those ideas and turn them into actionable processes and milestones. MINERS should never interfere with GOLD people by obstructing ideas with overly constrained thinking. GOLD people should never think that an idea is the end result and the “be all” to successful pivots; it takes a team and lots of work to bring business success.

Here are the top 5 suggestions for managing your GOLD:

1.    Don’t kill any idea before its time. Let even the craziest idea live for some time. Shutting down ideas immediately will only quell enthusiasm and lead to an ever diminishing collection of new ideas.

2.    Don’t shoot the messenger. Gold people tend to challenge the status quo and can be, at times, annoying and disruptive to others. Leadership is about guiding them to be more impactful to the team by encouraging more effective communications styles.

3.    Allow equal amounts of open-field ideation and closed-field ideation. Every challenge has constraints and need to be considered. Looking at challenges with these constraints in mind forces teams to focus on plausible solutions. However, equal time and energy should be allowed with totally open ideation opportunities. These often lead to unexpected ideas and greatly widens the aperture of thought for everyone.

4.    Gold is found at all levels of the organization. Use that. Engage the entire organization when seeking new ideas and solving completely unforeseen and unexpected challenges. The perspectives of the warehouse manager and worker could easily influence the way senior managers think and vice versa. There is an old adage in sales: administrative assistants are the most important positions in your prospects

5.    Identify FAKE GOLD quickly and isolate them. These could be MINERS wanting to be perceived as GOLD but simply repeating others ideas. Or it could be GOLDS identifying problems that all see clearly but simply describing it differently. The ones with really original ideas will stand out against this backdrop of imposters.

Here are the top 5 suggestions for managing MINERS:

1.    Encourage MINERS to team with GOLD whenever possible to balance out the possible with the impossible. Teams should contain both with proper management of protecting everyone’s perspective and ideas without criticism.

2.    MINERS should have time to reflect on new ideas and decipher possible implementation issues. GOLD take a nanosecond to come up with ideas but MINERS can’t do the same. They need more time. GOLD shouldn’t think that MINERS not accepting ideas on face value is a negative. MINERS take GOLD ideas like painters take their vision and put it on canvas; it never lives up to the ideal.

3.    MINERS should not be allowed to dismiss ideas based solely on their functional perspective. Manufacturing shouldn’t veto product ideas because it can’t be produced in their facility. There are alternative facilities. MINERs tend to place ideas in the context of their narrow view of the business. Leaders should encourage expressions of concern but not let the issues restrict the possible.

4.    Remember that MINERS are your entrepreneurs and not necessarily your GOLD people. Many entrepreneurs are the builders and doers of ideas. The ideas come packaged to them by market research, VC managers and/ others. Most of the entrepreneurs we encounter, especially those that are funded repeatedly, are in fact MINERs with few original ideas.

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