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How to Unlock Your Team’s Innovation Potential

By Michelle Royal

Everyone is an innovator whether they realize it or not. As humans, we simply cannot help but innovate.

Over centuries, innovations sprouted from the Renaissance, the agricultural revolution, and the industrial revolution. We didn’t call these developments innovations back then. Instead, we referred to them as a creative process, a political process, or a war strategy because the innovation process had yet to be defined. But when you truly think about Michaelangelo’s works or the invention of modern farming, they are at their core, examples of innovation.

Today, we define innovation as the realized value of an idea that is developed and advanced by humans. Organizations tend to attribute business innovation ideas to new bringing in new technologies or artificial intelligence, however, technology does not innovate. Humans are the ones that create innovative processes that then use technology, not the other way around.

Uncovering today’s business innovation roadblocks.

In order to solve a problem, humans are innately programmed to self-design and do everything they can to solve that problem. This is wired in our human nature, into the very code that drives our survival mechanism. Survival can drive the search for a new way of doing things. It could also mean to hold on tightly, adhere to, or adopt the status quo.

The challenge occurs when over time large organizations become so complex that their teams are unable to tap into their dormant innovation potential to find new solutions and develop strategies. Innovation becomes synonymous with change. And change becomes equated with the experience of loss. Loss of a job, a position, revenue, or market leadership. As a result, teams build a culture of survivalists versus innovators.

The teams not only struggle to come up with new ideas but they miss out on the good feelings that come with accomplishing goals. Not only does the business lose value, but the corporate culture begins to deteriorate. So what do you do?

More technology does not create innovation.

Digital transformation is top of mind for Chief Innovation Officers and CEOs, but more technology does not solve the problem.

Many organizations believe the first solution to revitalizing innovation is to bring in technology solutions, specifically ones that will work without human interference (tough job) or technology that humans will actually use (toughest job). Using technology automation such as AI, cognitive analytics, or robotic process automation (RPA), still requires humans to study behavior and data that comes from the consumer before that information is able to be automated.

The automation also does not address the loss of morale throughout the team that has occurred due to a longstanding problem. At worst, bringing in new technology could hurt the company culture further if teams are not clear about the solution the technology provides. Solutions need to be strategic processes that address all aspects of an organization in order to set it up for success moving forward. People are at the core of that process.

You can’t go it alone.

Another common misconception is that organizations should not use outside resources to change their processes. We understand you are the expert of your business and your challenges. Alternately, outside resources provide a fresh perspective to an otherwise complex process. The people within the organization are deeply rooted in the problem and likely do not have the tools to see a bigger picture. This happens all the time. The teams need an opportunity to look at the situation differently, that is where the real magic happens.

At RIDG, we facilitate corporate innovation by first looking at what natural problem-solving behaviors are happening within an organization and their current innovation skills. We then help align with the company’s cultural norms and begin working with teams to come up with new ways of thinking and delivering on the value promise the company or organization is announcing to the market.

Similar to detectives, we help uncover ideas through assessments and analytics, modeling, prototyping, storytelling, and value creation. We are not bringing in new ideas, we’re simply allowing the team to uncover the ideas that are already within then. We help them innovate. It is through this process that we are able to not only help teams think in new ways but reenergize them and improve company morale.

The result leaves the team with a custom, branded innovation experience with tools for problem-solving that they can use across any problem they encounter moving forward.

Learn more about RIDG’s customized innovation process, designed to guarantee scalable product or service design and continuous identification of increased revenue opportunities.

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RIDG is a corporate innovation management consultancy that equips executives and innovation leaders to supercharge and align their innovation efforts toward strategic growth.

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Michelle Royal

Michelle Royal

Strategic partner aligning the tools and frameworks companies need to maximize their return on innovation.

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