If you are in one of those dips – and who doesn’t from time to time – I’d like to recommend you some “power-reading”. It’s better than zapping in front of your television, or better than (re)tweeting 140 characters. It’s definitely better than booze or drugs. And it has some element of “depth” that you don’t get from those other media/substances.
I could have titled this blog post “Ignore Everybody”, the title of a fantastic book by Hugh MacLeod of gapingvoid.com. The subtitle is ‘And 39 Other Keys to Creativity”.
This is one of those rare books that hits you in the face. Subscribe to his blog. A drawing on a business card will wake/shake you up every day when you open your Google Reader.
Guy Kawasaki said: “Hugh’s book will kick your ass and push you out of your zone of mediocrity and stagnation”.
On one of the other cards in the book it reads:
The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care.
Hugh refers to the “Pissed Off Gene”. That burning fire inside that make you want to challenge the status quo.
It has something primal.
So there i am with my wildfire, and now i come across a bunch of folks who feel down and ask me why we need an innovation team. They feel down because they have just gone through one of those mandatory efficiency or six sigma programs to cut fat out of the processes. Nothing wrong with that, some organizations can use a diet, and it’s in essence about being fit and going to the gym (looking at my belly it’s time for me to do so ;-). But what i think is really going on is that they feel the “Pissed Off Gene” coming alive again. It’s protest. It’s challenging where we are. It is challenging the status quo. This gene is a great source of energy. If only we could turn that negative energy in a positive one. Wouldn’t we loose less time and move forward faster ?
Sometimes however it’s getting worse. These days i believe we not only need a physical-gym, but also a mental-gym, because these days, some people already feel down in advance of the program: they start to hide, don’t dare to stick out their neck, afraid that if they become too visible or are not in line with the blueprint, they will be the first to be cut. That’s a ream shame. Come on, guys ! Don’t ignore yourselves in such a big way. Because your are worth it.
So back to the question “Why we need an innovation team ?”. Why we need innovation ? Really, reading the above i wished you did not ask. Because a company that does not have a focus on innovation does not believe in the future. Does not believe in growth. Does not believe in creating wealth. Is a dead company.
So, what should we do ? Get rid of the innovation team ? Have no focus on innovation ? Come on !
We should probably quadruple our efforts.
But i know there is also the reality of budgets, certainly in these days. But I will keep pushing for it. So please, for once be proud that your company überhaupt has an innovation program in place (and a quite good one compared to other companies), and embrace it and help it and the company succeed, instead of complaining about it.
Our innovation team gives help. To the people who have that “Pissed Off Gene”, who have that holy fire. To help them to stand up and keep on fighting the status quo. To help them and the company make the difference. We are not measured on the ideas generated by the innovation team. We are measured on the ideas and success stories in the rest of the company and the eco-system at large. We can help those “passionate creatives” with resources (people and money).
And i hope that we also kick some ass
,and send out some wake-up calls, when we see things at the edge of our jungle that could be beneficial for our community. It is our duty to report those things, to orient/position them, to evangelize those new ideas and to help people moving from prototype into incubation.
And yes, that can be fun
Seems to be a bad thing these days to have fun. Really don’t get it. Also, they don’t see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. They only see the fun part. Innovation is about change. People resist change.
Some days i feel like swimming in syrup
And some days it really feels good when we achieve something. But complaining seems to be the fashion of the day. And being in a good mood is these days like almost like an offense. In any case, the complainers never come to see us to see how they can be part of the fun. They complain. By preference in the gossip aisles of “radio-corridor”, hiding in the safety of anonymity.
It was probably a bad idea to call our team “the innovation team”, as we are measured on how many ideas we make the others generate and realize. But heck ! What should we have called it ? The A-Team ? The Tiger team ? The incentivators ? Cut the crap !
In the end the name “InnoTribe” is right on. A tribe of innovators. Tribe as in Seth Godin’s book “Tribes”. One of those other great books if you have one of those dips.
You know what all this is about ? I am going to use a big word: “leadership”. Not the leadership that you read about in McKinsey’s Newsletters. No, personal leadership. The leadership from within. From your true self. When you know damn well when something is right or wrong. Leading by Being. It is daring to follow your internal compass. It’s the difference between putting the fault on others and taking initiative yourself to fix the problem, or to come-up with something bright new. It’s daring to choose between old-game and new-game.
Old Game is being judgmental. New Game is Open Mind.
Old Game is being cynical. New Game is Open Heart
Old Game is being in control. New Game is Open Mind
In the end it’s people with passion that drive the innovation.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink
You can’t push a string uphill
Time waits for no man
Jeffrey Philips adds one about innovation. While we like to say that everyone can innovate, its probably also safe to say that
You can’t force a disinterested person to innovate
So, what is it ? Are you the interested or the disinterested person ? If you are of the first category, join the journey. If you are the latter, come and see me. I’ll try to give you a pep-talk and try to shake/wake up that fire in you that is burning for sure in every human being. We just learned through the accidents of life/work to ignore and hide those fires. They’re too close to emotions. And emotions do not belong at work. What a crap !
Express yourself and come alive !
Do YOU have the hole fire ?
I do. And I am not ashamed to say so. And I am 52. And there is no age for it. And i am burning like hell. It’s primal. I am on a mission. “Ignore Everybody”. Don’t wait for the others to support you. GO !
And if you still feel in a dip after this, turn on Madonna’s “Jump”, volume knob on 10, and dance and listen to the following words:
The more that I wait, the more time that I waste
I haven’t got much time to waste
It’s time to make my way
I’m not afraid of what I’ll face
But I’m afraid to stay
I’m going down my road and I can make it alone
I’ll work and I’ll fight till I find a place of my own
Are you ready to jump
Get ready to jump
Don’t ever look back oh baby
Yes, I’m ready to jump
Just take my hand
get ready to jump