Elements of an innovation mindset
The Innovation Mindset Framework
An innovation mindset is about what you believe, how you see things, how you behave and what you do to make change happen. It is comprehensive. Relying solely on a thinking process or an occasional brainstorm is not enough to find all the solutions organisations need in these changing times.
This mindset should be encouraged and reinforced throughout the business. If you change the culture so that people feel that they can speak up, identify problems and gaps, challenge assumptions and always feel safe, your organisation will activate the human desire to participate in change and innovation.
Innovation is not just big ideas, it’s about finding new and better ways to do everything, every day in every way.
To get maximum benefit from the following information, think of an innovation to which you’ve contributed, and which has been successfully implemented. Remember ideas are innovations when they are new to your organisation, when they have been implemented and have created value. An innovation maybe in any part of the organisation and might have had a small but important impact or it might have made a large impact across the organisation and anything in between. Use the following information to reflect on your own innovation mindset to better understand your strengths, but also recognise the strengths of others.
Innovation mindset template
Jot down the title of the innovation, the problem it solved and the value it created. Then continue through the four steps.
1. Belief – What motivated you to start and keep going on the innovation? Why was it important to come up with a solution?
Our research tells us that the belief that it the challenge is important is one key driver towards an innovative outcome. It’s what gets you started and keeps you going when things get tough. What was your belief about the challenge? It could be:
- profitability – to make or save money
- better procedures – to make work easier and more effective
- competition – to keep ahead of other companies or markets
- quality – to improve the product or service
- customer experience – to make customers happier
- sustainability – to protect the environment
- productivity – to do more with less
- personal – to stretch, grow skills
2. Perspectives – what key contributions did you make to the innovation?
How many people do you need to get an idea? Maybe one? How many do you need to get an innovation? You need a team of people, with different strengths and insights to take the idea through different stages. Each of the stages is important and the people involved are critical.
In any one innovation project, each person may contribute in multiple ways. However, typically, the most valuable contributions will be limited to two and in other contexts you might display different strengths.
Which two of these were your strengths in the project you are thinking about? What role did others in the team play?
- finder – see gaps and opportunities
- creator – come up with solutions
- expert – provide specialist skills and knowledge
- connector – link people and ideas
- doer – make, organise, implement
- influencer – advocate, persuade, present
- critic – reality check
3. Behaviours – how did you help the team succeed?
Again, you might display all of these behaviours in different contexts, but in the project you’re thinking about, which two were your most helpful behaviours? What did others in the team contribute?
- open mind – to new ideas, learning, criticism, diverse inputs
- curiosity – about why, what, how
- imagination – to visualise, and see novel ideas and insights
- helpfulness – to be generous with time and energy
- bravery – to challenge assumptions, self, and others
- empathy – to feel the perspective and experience of others
- safety – to be trustworthy and reliable
- proactivity – to make things happen
- grit – to persevere and stay motivated
- resilience – to be adaptive
4. Action – What actions did you do to get the innovation implemented successfully?
An idea is just an idea until you test it, refine it and implement it. It takes a lot of skills and tools to develop it. What actions did you take to understand the problem, come up with solutions and implement them?
Tools and processes: did you use any tools or processes, for example: continuous improvement, design thinking, brainstorming, prototyping, customer focus tools?
Skills: what special skills did you bring to the innovation, for example: research, problem solving, presentation, writing, technology?
Learning: what did you learn about innovating in your organisation?
How to apply the Innovation Mindset Framework
The Innovation Mindset Framework can be used in different ways, for example:
- to capture innovation stories as role models for others
- to understand how an innovation happened, as a team building and learning activity
- to analyse skills for professional development and for performance feedback
- to collect multiple stories and analyse the team or organisational strengths and weaknesses as a basis for learning how your organisation innovates and what you can to to improve it.