I’m not sure that everyone can be an innovator, because from my lifetime of observations not everyone wants to be. But perhaps everyone should at least try it on for the fit and certainly every business, company, corporation, and organization of any kind of competence at all should encourage the enterprise.
There was an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review, How to Build a Culture of Originality by Adam Grant, that does a great job of showing how to turn all of your team into innovators. The article starts with a discussion of the US Navy, arguably the poster boy for lack of innovation, and explains how it started “exploding with originality.” What is interesting about the navy example is that the innovation was not centered around iconoclasts or entrepreneurial types but from the rank and file. Most importantly, if it can work in the US Navy, the strategy can work anywhere.
When everyone thinks the same and is relocation to move away from best practices, companies rot. To drive innovation, you need sustained original thinking in your company. The way to do this, as Grant shows, is to build a culture of non-comformity. You must give your team opportunities…
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