Companies use the word "innovate" to mean they need or want to improve their business practices and processes, but that's problematic because you can't define innovation in the typical project ways. Innovation is a journey, a continuous improvement process, not something that begins and ends. In this week's Monday Morning Mobile Minute, Justin dives head first into this topic and provides the next steps for navigating the innovation process, especially with firstline workers.
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Let me start by sharing some synonyms for the word innovation:
Change, revolution, transformation, modernization, creativity, originality, inventiveness.
When we really think about the word innovation, it's clear that it's not describing a point in time. It's describing a transition from one state to another, presumably better, state.
When large companies say that they want to innovate, we often see them try to create projects around the effort. I understand why this happens because large companies use programs and projects to define timelines, budgets and resources. In many cases, it's just how things have been done for many years, so why would "innovation" be any different?
Well, I think it's different because the very nature of what innovation means to me means that we can't define the assumptions in the typical project ways.
For starters, a formal project has a defined beginning and end. Well, guess what. Innovation really doesn't have an end. It's a mindset and an ongoing process. How can we say that we want to be innovative yet confine it to a strict set of limits?
Another difference is the expected outcomes. Typical projects are defined by a set of specific deliverables. But a truly innovative culture is pushing for improved business outcomes, better results, and we don't always know exactly what deliverables will be necessary to achieve those results.
I'm not suggesting we throw out every process in the PMO, but I am suggesting that if we want to get different, and better, results in the future, we have to use different and better processes to get there.
We have to look at innovation as a continuous improvement process, a life cycle, that has structure but also allows for flexibility.
If you're interested in learning more, Gene Signorini did an awesome job out outlining some high-level steps in the innovation process in our firstline workers section on our website. I'll include a link to that section below.
We're also going to be expanding that section in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned for updates.
As always, let us know if you have any questions at all. Thanks for taking a few minutes to watch, and we'll see you again next week.
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