How do you go about innovating new solutions within your organisation (or the organisations you work with)? Recently I’ve had some great discussions on this issue, as the impact of global ways of working further permeates into our every day.
When innovating, tailoring a solution to your own organisation’s unique set of challenges and its context is critical, along with scanning the newest research and seeing how your competitors, or innovative organisations are solving similar issues.
Gathering intelligence from what other organisations are doing used to look like:
- Calling contacts at local competitors (maybe you used to work with them or you meet at networking events), comparing notes and trading quid-pro-quo. If you were really lucky you might even get a soft/hard copy of a recent piece of work from that organisation.
- Drawing on your knowledge from past employers/organisations you’ve worked with – digging out that printout of the scoping document you kept, developed 4 years ago, for just such an occasion.
- Checking out the latest copies of your industry magazines (the ones you have floating around your office at least) to see if that article you remember glazing over quickly actually addresses the issues you’re facing and if there’s any practical guidance you can draw on.
With the advent of social and the associated increase of professionals being more visible online there have been some wonderful flow on affects for developing solutions collaboratively across organisational lines.
Instead of having to rely on ‘real life’ connections that are often linked to your location and contacts within your industry, the internet of things allows us to establish new connections and rediscover old ones – flipping the way we’ve been collaborating and sharing on its head!
All of a sudden when I am looking for new ways that we might tackle a cultural or structural problem within a particular team I can reach out to 6 people I know around the world that I know have similar departments or have faced parallel challenges. When I’m faced with developing a new strategy or policy I can crowdsource a solution across industries, putting a general call out on a professional group on LinkedIn and be instantly linked with 4 people who have relevant, up to date information and research that they are willing to share.
The impact of these changes on the way we work are massive, when stumbling over a challenge within your organisation or one you work with you are no longer geographically constrained in your solution – you can look globally. Why design a solution to ‘catch up’ to your local competitor when you can access the best and brightest ideas and get into an industry-leading position?
Be bold! Get out there and connect with those HR disruptors digitally that you wouldn’t normally. My bet is they’ll surprise you and you just might end up having a brilliant idea spark because of something they say/share with you.