When my friend Scott Kress summited Mount Everest last year, he used a little bit of oxygen for the final push. Many climbers do — sometimes you need the extra energy to accomplish something massive!
So it is with innovation — sometimes you need some help to accomplish great things. I’ve written an article this morning, “Time for a little oxygen?” that offers some thoughts on how you can kick up your innovation efforts a bit more.
Here’s an extract:
To get into a frame of mind of acting fast, everyone needs to be able to learn a lot, very quickly. One way of doing that is by encouraging people to “waste” time. That’s right – I really recommend that as a business strategy.
How can people understand the high velocity change in markets, business models, competitive challenges, the emergence of new means of marketing and branding, and all kinds of other issues, if they are restricted to formal education programs? How can they learn about the new products that they need to sell when those products are coming to market so quickly? How can they learn new methods of dealing with a customer by taking an in-house course that was developed over a year ago, when the market was completely different from today?
That’s where frivolous education comes in, as a complement to traditional, formal corporate education programs.
Why not establish some “playtime” with your sales force, with the purpose being to try out a multitude of new technologies: encourage browsing through industry magazines, surfing the Web for market research, etc… Such activities may help bring understanding to how the customer is changing. So in fact, what may appear to be “wasting time,” really is not so
As for Scott, his time spent summiting Everest certainly wasn’t a waste of time. He’s an Executive MBA teacher, consultant and speaker, and the experience has given him a unique message on leadership, teams, and effective strategic planning!