Innovation is brand new dance for a lot of organisations and it takes a while to get the rhythm just right, especially while everyone’s still learning the steps.

No wonder some of the first timers can be a little… clumsy.
Here are some classic ‘stumbles’ and how to avoid them.

‘We got everyone together in the room and got nothing.’
No-one likes having their ideas laughed at, and the bigger the group the greater the risk of ridicule. Small groups (around six) always do better.

‘We asked our staff for ideas and just got rubbish.’
People need to know what you want ideas about or – even better – what problem you want solved. Give ‘em a target and they’ll probably hit it.

‘We wall-papered the room with ideas but then nothing happened.’
Capturing lots of crazy suggestions is a good start, but ideas need to be developed and that takes a bit more time and effort than companies usually allow. It’s like shopping for hardware but never taking the time to build anything.

‘We fast-tracked the easiest ideas and they did us no good.’
Who said the easiest ideas were going to deliver the best result?

‘We fed all ideas to the boss, who killed every single one.’
Like to guess the problem here? Not everyone likes their ideas served raw, so asking for feedback before an idea has been properly ‘cooked’ is asking for rejection. And should the boss be the judge or could staff make that call? Maybe it takes two to tango.

Let’s see innovation as a fresh approach to collaboration and partnership, a new way for people of different talents to work together without stepping on each other’s toes.

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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.