One of the most common requests within our industry is to help legacy brands become more innovative. After hundreds of years in business, they want to attempt something brand-new. It’s admirable. Encouraging, really.
Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Shared purpose or serious bust
You can shove, spend and howl about your will and determination to change, but I guarantee you, nothing will shift if you don’t have collective support.
Innovation is tough, uncomfortable and complex. When our partners request a big change, we ask if their team is aligned on this passion to push in a different direction.
Why do we ask? Because people drive change. Always.
So, if the folks who are going to
build and nurture your NEW thing are not inspired, or, at least, in agreement with what you're trying to achieve, it’s just not going to happen.
Failure has to be explored
For us, everything’s an experiment.
Our clients often want us to be bold -- but not THAT edgy. They’ll want us to pursue the daring option -- but make sure “The Board” will be comfortable.
For us, these really aren’t conflicting notions. However, we do want them to explore what failure looks like. We want them to get curious about risk. In a recent two-day design session, we stumbled right into failure.
While reviewing the day’s work, a department head voiced something powerful to me. She shared, “We're exceptionally proud of what we can do. Yet, sometimes, I wonder if our desire to keep getting better may cause us to build things customers don't want.”
Sure, we can get better at building, but is it at the expense of understanding experience? If we explore failure, we may just find ignition for the future.
Find your frame
The single most important behavior for accelerating disruption? Curiosity.
The most radical shift in a service or product development begins and ends with asking more (and better) questions. The reframing of a problem is a rare but accessible art that will beget innovation.
You need to question the question -- relentlessly. Rethink questioning as an essential skill. Problem framing can be tricky (and exhilarating) because challenging accepted concepts is just that -- challenging.
Three mantras for igniting change
Purpose first, profits later: People will share and safeguard progress if they’re aligned and inspired by your mission. Build a shared purpose, first.
Curiosity is a superpower: Encourage and celebrate the teams that know how to question the question and explore alternative ways to think about a challenge.
Everything’s an experiment: Big disruption comes from doing it just a little bit differently. People will be the catalyst for change.