7 Innovation Insights

We recently participated in the Chicago Innovation Summit and learned a few things we wanted to pass on to you. The leaders who shared insights on innovation included the CIO of Chicago, the CIO of Illinois, The CEO of the largest local bank, a former astronaut and the Founder of a health information start-up:

  1. You must set an example because leaders enable and empower innovation or leaders kill innovation. Although the leader must set the example, innovation is EVERYONE’s job.
  2. Key elements of innovation are:
    • Catalyze
      • Create an environment (culture) of curiosity that supports innovation. That means being comfortable with questions and challenges.
      • Approach innovation with a mindset of asking questions versus knowing answers.
      • Define and share the problem, issue or idea to innovate.
    • Communicate
      • Use your performance management system to communicate the importance of innovation. That means risk taking isn’t a CLM (career limiting move.)
      • Share the risk tolerance and clarify the expectations for learning from failures.
      • Invention and execution are key. Don’t just talk about what’s been invented, talk about what’s been done
    • Celebrate
      • Reward success and reward learning.
      • Create a Pioneer Award which celebrates a risky idea that succeeded.
  3. A culture of accountability is critical to innovation. A leader does this when they do what they say they will do, they don’t cut corners and they:
    • Take the blame
    • Share the fame
    • Avoid the shame (no one gets shamed for mistakes)
  4. Innovation is not a single player game; it must be about the mission not the person innovating.Perfect
  5. Perfection is a pitfall to innovation.
  6. Have an eye for the future. Predict and solve tomorrow’s problems.

Roll up your sleeves. Innovative ideas are everywhere. It’s hard work that makes the difference.

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