TEDx: The Art of Workplace Innovation

What is Innovation?

Innovation is the development of new customer value through solutions that meet new needs, unarticulated needs, or old customer and market needs in new ways. This is accomplished through different or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments, and society. (from Wikipedia)

Workplace Innovation Defined

How is innovation defined in your organization or workplace? Do you have a culture that promotes innovation & creativity? Are incentives aligned to reward innovative behavior?

In recent years, the term innovation has been used extensively in business and media to describe many different things. Last week’s TEDxAsylumHill event explored this topic through the lenses of entrepreneurship, strategy, education, design, and new media. The speakers were dynamic, thought-provoking storytellers who share a commitment to redefining their fields and pushing the boundaries of “business as usual.” It’s too much to cover in one post, so I’ve outlined below some of the key points, and I plan to share highlights from other speakers in future posts.

Jeremy Donovan kicked off the event with three simple questions:

  • What is your passion?
  • What are you going to do about it?
  • When are you going to get started?

He relayed his journey from “nerdy engineer” to polished TED Speaker that evolved through his obsession with analyzing the delivery of speeches. He encouraged attendees to explore their passions and “look deep inside yourself because that’s where innovation comes from.”  Donovan started Speaking Sherpa– a web site that improves public speaking skills by allowing speakers to upload speeches and receive coaching. Check out his book, How to Deliver A TED Talk: Secrets Of the Worlds’ Most Inspiring Presentations.

Professor Michael Roberto challenged the audience to focus on creating an environment where employees could flourish rather than expending effort to recruit the best talent. He went on to say that creating a safe place and offering opportunity to fail (failure=low cost experiment!) will free employees from “the old” and generate new ideas, processes and products.

Forcing Innovation in Organizations

Ishita Gupta spoke about her real life story of overcoming fear, while working on a Six Month Alternative MBA program under Seth Godin. She relayed that you cannot force innovation; the fundamental way to be innovative is to solve a deeply personal need.  Be fearless.  By stepping into an uncomfortable situation and summoning your courage, you’ll find the way to innovate yourself to the next level. Ishita was truly inspirational.  Her raw emotion was so powerful that the audience sat motionless and her words hit a deep nerve that sent a chord resonating and rippling through the crowd. To read more about overcoming fear, living with confidence and living in alignment with your passion, check out Ishita’s digital magazine, FEAR.LESS.

To be competitive in today’s digital environment, companies are evolving to create a culture that promotes innovation, collaboration, agility and transparency. Here are some things to consider as you strive to take your company to the next level:

  • What does innovation mean in your organization?
  • What are you doing to cultivate passion and promote creativity?
  • Are incentives aligned to reward innovative behavior?
  • Do you believe that some element of failure is necessary to successfully innovate?
  • Are employees so afraid to fail that they end up taking no risks?
  • Are you willing to launch a new business that may cannibalize your existing business?

Are you Fearless?

Innovation drives so much of our employee’s thoughts, passion, and productivity.  It forces us to reinvent, grow, and take risks.  Are you fearless?  How are you innovating in your workplace, business, or organization? I look forward to your comments…

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Lisa Bonner

Lisa Bonner is an experienced change agent and Senior Vice President with Roberts Golden Consulting. She helps global Fortune 500 companies solve organizational issues and manage major changes to drive achievement of bold business objectives. Lisa is passionate about football, fitness, decorating and raising twin boys. Connect with Lisa.

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