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The domino effect of innovation

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Cultivate 3 key abilities to reach success

Developing innovative solutions for your clients can be contagious to the point that other firms might follow in your footsteps.

An avant-garde idea can influence not only the way companies to interact with their clients and the products they launch, but it can also change the world, as we know it. At the same time, firms are forced to compete in an extremely hostile environment. Challenging the rusty concepts and breaking the norms is one way to win new clients over. However, customers expect every service and product they have a touchpoint with to have better quality than ever.

Companies find themselves pushed to the wall. They permanently need to come up with innovative solutions in order to stay ahead of their game. Some of their creative methods are so powerful and contagious that they create a domino effect, which unleashes the great potential in other progressive companies willing to experiment with new concepts. Nevertheless, copying the behavior of inspiring organizations without having a clear vision is a recipe for disaster.

So how do you foster innovation in a company that wants to thrive despite the turbulent economy and the ambiguity that lies ahead? You need to cultivate 3 key abilities in order to unfold the full potential of your team and increase your creativity and innovation drive, claims Keith Yamashita, founder of SYPartners. For over two decades working alongside leaders at Apple, eBay and Nike, the entrepreneur has come to the conclusion that the ability to see the forces at play, the ability to recognize and nurture talent, as well as the ability to work with people whom you trust and share values with, are essential to your organization’s success:

Most people do not have the ability to see the possibilities beyond every challenging situation. Even geniuses get stuck when they have no one else to navigate their ideas towards a great creation. On the other hand, what makes a team great is the ability to envision the future. It sees forces at play and capitalizes on them. A great team will also be your corrective whenever you, as a leader, are about to make a mistake.

Channeling your team's talents and building on their ideas is a great way to create exceptional products and services.

In his book “Start with why – How leaders inspire everyone to take action”, Simon Sinek points out that over 80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job. Nevertheless, these mind-blowing statistics can be shifted. He imagines a world in which the ability to inspire is practiced not just by a chosen few, but by the majority. Yamashita adds that knowing your employee's superpowers – the unique talents they bring to the table – gives you a chance to channel their energy and efforts towards projects they will enjoy working on, they will also find a purpose.

Yamashita belies that a duo is the smallest atomic unit of trust. It consists of two people. Everything depends on their collaboration, their love for the projects, and their fear of what lies ahead. There is no one else to blame but themselves, so they need to work hard in order to get results. They need to surrender to an ambition they share, infect everyone else with their energy and build belief in order to inspire others to take action. One of the most incredible duos in music history – John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was able to do just that by performing an incredible balancing act between happiness and sorrow, which pierce The Beatles’ music.

Creating a shared vision lies in the creative DNA of companies like Google and IDEO as well. They also set guiding principles to help contain the scope of their initiatives and maintain the focus on various tasks. Then they compare these guiding principles with the strategic priorities of their organization and observe what impact they may have on the company businesswise.

You can fuel your creative energy by using colorful cards with different objects on them. Even if they have nothing in common, you can try to develop a third object using them as a basis.

In order to foster innovation, progressive companies also allow their teams to influence their workspace, rather than suppress their creative judgment. This sends a signal that employees are not seen merely as cogs in a machine. The company focuses on meeting their needs. Having insights on how your team actually works and communicates is key to your success. You should also test various brainstorming methods with high-performing teams to boost the generation of innovative ideas.

“As teams grow and mature, the lessons they gather from experimenting with their work environments should be packaged and shared with the larger organization. Codifying the characteristics of effective work environments can help new employees develop productive behaviors more quickly. Consider creating events or programs that allow teams to share the lessons they’ve learned from prototyping and inspire others to adopt similar changes or begin their own experiments”, recommend Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist, Frederik Pferdt, and IDEO’s CEO Tim Brown.

Nowadays leaders chose a more daring path in order to come up with transformational ideas. They illustrate the future their teams should work toward, but they also give them creative freedom. CEOs of innovative firms engage their colleagues by building a clear vision of what lies ahead without suppressing ideas, which challenge the status quo. They embrace the possibility of failure but do not tolerate incompetence. Last, but not least, the way they create solutions, which address pressing issues, has enormous influence on a myriad of forward-looking companies. Those companies recognize the need to implement design thinking in their creative process to gain success.

- Fabrica 360


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