Manifesto for Effective Empowerment and Change
All organisations across the globe have been impacted by the tumultuous change that the COVID-19 health crisis brought. For some, the impact is a threat to their very existence, and for others, the opportunity to benefit from new ways of working, purchasing and using services that people and business are now embracing.
As we enter the initial stages of recovery and beyond, senior leaders of many organisations are taking the opportunity to step back, look and how they did things before, and consider whether there are alternative & better ways of working.
Innovation has a key role to play in this recovery, but an honest appraisal of past innovation efforts is leading many organisations to assess whether innovation itself needs to be tackled in a more transparent, inclusive, agile and effective manner, as more of their workforce, partners, suppliers and customers adjust to a different future with significantly increased remote working, selling and buying.
Our Manifesto for More Effective Empowerment and Change presents smartcrowds’ view of the challenges that lie ahead, with a number of articles that provide insight into WHY reimagined innovation should be a goal of many organisations, WHAT an architecture for reimagined innovation might look like, and HOW reimagined innovation can be delivered in practice.
WHY Reimagine Innovation?
One of the most critical barriers to successful innovation is organisational culture. The sudden arrival of the Covid-19 crisis has only served to accentuate these cultural issues, with many organisations re-assessing how they do business, how they support their employees and how they make the best use of digital technologies. These sound like perfect candidates for innovation challenges that could get the creative juices of the workforce flowing; but what if the organisation is not yet culturally ready to involve its workforce in its innovation initiatives effectively?
In this section, we look at some of the foundational challenges that need to be addressed by organisations who aspire to be innovative, with a focus on how they can better position themselves to respond to increased uncertainty, maximise engagement from across the business & its wider stakeholders, and adopt a balanced attitude to risk that supports an innovative culture.
WHAT is Reimagined Innovation?
The design of an innovation system is a critical cog in the overall success of an organisation’s innovation programme. Designed well, the system will be a natural extension to the existing structure of the organisation – so much so that innovation just happens. As work practices change, including increasing numbers of the workforce operating remotely, it is more important than ever that the innovation system that is put in place not only supports the objectives and mission of the business, but does so in such a way as to help every employee easily understand how their efforts can make a difference, and rapidly build confidence in their own involvement - whatever their role in the organisation, the innovation process or their place of work.
In this section, we look at various approaches to innovation system design, highlighting some of the potential risks and pitfalls that are associated with a design that doesn’t support distributed working effectively. We present our views on innovation system design thinking, along with techniques and approaches that might enable organisations who are looking to embrace a new way of working to flourish in the months and years ahead.
Reimagination in Practice
Successful innovation stems from more than simply the collection of a bank of ideas. It requires a robust, collaborative framework that steps the organisation from the initial problem that needs to be solved (challenge setting) through to implementation of new, original ideas. Throughout the years, physical, face-to-face workgroup events have proved an effective means for organisations to drive their innovation initiatives forward, but the enforced distributed working environment brought forward by Covid-19 has rendered these events all-but-impossible.
In this section, we look at the key stages of a typical innovation challenge and the impact that more flexible working practices, including more prevalent distributed working, will bring. We consider various methods, approaches and tools that can help organisations retain (and even enhance) the energy and momentum that was previously generated in office-based, in-room innovation events, but with a blend of diligence, structure and agility that will be required as more of us work apart.