Organisations love talking about innovation; it’s an exciting and noble endeavour, the sort of thing they like to put their Annual Report. They put innovation in their Values Charter, their Mission Statement, on their letterhead and sometimes even into their logo.

But after that… they really have no idea where to put it.

Picture1Is it part of business strategy or is it something for the product developers? The guys in IT are notoriously fast adopters, maybe this is their bag… although folks in HR think it’s more about people than systems and the finance department want to keep a tight control on any new ideas that might be floating around… maybe it’s one for the  consultants.

Do we set up a brand new department? Let’s give our most creative people some butcher’s paper and see what happens… maybe if we let them imagine whatever they want, we’ll get the innovation we need.

Or should we throw the whole thing open, build an on-line version of the old-fashioned suggestion box and let people submit ideas to the senior executive for assessment?

We’ve seen all these things tried… and we’ve seen all of them fail. Because innovation isn’t a business unit; it’s a mindset.

It’s a way of seeing what’s next and making it happen before anyone else realises. It’s a habit of thinking and saying what others can’t… or won’t, a tendency to question the orthodox and explore the unorthodox.

So whose job is that?

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Written by Jason Clarke

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.