This week, our small innovation team got the opportunity to design and animate the department’s “All Hands”. In stead of doing the boring “we-tell-you-and-you-listen death by PowerPoint” session, we split the group in 8 break-out sessions. Each team was randomly selected, and the managers were NOT allowed to lead the discussion.
Each team had 45 min to come up with a 5 minute pitch of one of the 2010 priorities of the department. As if they would have to sell that opportunity/idea to a Venture Capitalist. A bit like a short version of the Innotribe Labs at Sibos last year.
Before this meeting, some managers were skeptical whether all folks would be able to fully participate, contribute and let their creative juices flow.
But – as you all know – creativity is a bug that is implanted from birth in every human being. And getting back to this feeling of “playfulness” is oh so important and enjoyable.
There is playfulness and there is purity.
It’s the purity of my 4 old year daughter. Full of energy, creativity and fantasy and anything is possible.
It’s the purity of your true self. If we can tap into that energy, unbelievable things happen.
It’s all about passion and drive, and what motivates us
“Drive” is btw the title of Daniel Pink’s latest book.
It’s about “the surprising truth about what motivates us”. And Daniel Pink explains it’s NOT measurement, KPI’s, bonuses, perks, etc. It’s about belief and being believed. And knowing that management does never doubt people’s abilities.
So, we got 8 idea pitches of 5 minutes followed by a Q&A of 2 minutes by the audience (not by the managers). I can assure you, i saw a lot of fun and smiling faces, and people getting energized.
And it is something very infectious.
The day after, I got a chat from another Cubicle on the other floor:
It feels good to be able to think out of the box. Really refreshing ! If you guys succeed in changing only a little but the “sub-culture” of the company, and wake up gently the people from their winter-sleep, that alone would be a big success ! And that will be needed, if we want to keep our company relevant on the long term.
Yes, this is about passion. Yes, this is about enthusiasm. Combined with purity, this is a very contagious, irresistible cocktail.
This is not new. It’s off all ages. It works for young and older humans. Have a look at this TED Talk from November 2009 TED India, just posted on the TED web-site. Kiran Bir Sethi from the Riverside schools explains how contagious the “i can” bug is.
It’s about children taking charge of their own destiny.
being aware and feeling the change
enable to be changed
empower and lead the change
leading by being
At the end of the TED Talk you see how children teach their parents to read and write. In professional life this is called
All this is VERY relevant to Innovation and how “real” your company is about innovation. You need to inject the purity of young people. New blood. Let them rethink the strategy for the next 5 years. And then take it to the next step. And let those young people reverse mentor the older generation.
Next time check out the average age of your employees. And ask yourself the question: do we have the open mind, open heart, and playfulness to indeed radically innovate this company ?
- It’s about maturing from the stage where “the teacher told me” to “i can lead this myself”
- It’s about not waiting anymore and following your own compass.
Like Joe told me after the meeting:
“I am not waiting anymore
to be called”
When are you going to wake up and recognize your full potential ? Your potential, your team’s potential, your company’s potential ?
When will you start protesting, because you know your company sits on a goldmine, and every day that passes, it gets suffocated in end-less political debates with many off-sites leading to no conclusions.
How much longer are you going to waste your time ?
How much longer are you going to take this ?
Open your hearts and minds to the purity of the children and go ! Who will follow ?
Are you ready ?
If not now, then when ?
If not us, then who ?
The bug has landed. It has infected our company and the infection spreads.
Big time, i believe this time