Innovation Belongs to Everyone and Can Happen Anywhere

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by Steve Dry and Emma Lagreze

When people ask us what we do as innovation consultants, they probably expect us to say that we sit around an open-concept office, brainstorming on post-its or playing with new technology all day. Instead, we like to say that we optimize the human potential for innovation.

Why?

Because ordinary people in regular organizations have great ideas every day. And with the right mindset, training, and team, those ideas can turn into innovative solutions. Innovation is not just for creatives, eccentrics, or visionaries who work at the Apples, Googles, and Facebooks of the world. And it doesn’t just happen in designated “innovation centers” or so called brainstorming sessions.

Innovation belongs to everyone and can happen anywhere.

Here’s why.

1. Innovation belongs to everyone. Organizational innovation requires more than a vision and elbow grease. To thrive, it requires things like navigating company politics, building a value proposition around strategic initiatives, finding champions to protect an idea, communicating and marketing your idea internally, and rigorous project management. So if you think you’re not an innovator, think again.

2. Innovation can happen anywhere. We believe that internal innovation is possible in any context. Cultural components can help lubricate or accelerate new ideas, meaning that some companies try more ideas, iterate faster, and identify things that work better. However, we also know that creativity loves constraint, and have seen how company rules can actually help to inspire new ways of thinking.

Interested to know more about what capabilities are required for successful internal innovation? Join us at our office in Cambridge for Everyone’s an Innovator: Why innovation requires more than “creatives” at NewCo Boston this year. We will introduce our internal innovation canvas (i-CANvas) and share some of our own examples of innovation.

The i-CANvas is a guide for taking an idea from inception through to implementation. It provides structure to the innovation process (sounds like an oxymoron, we know) and will help you identify the possible barriers to moving your idea forward. We want our NewCo participants, regardless of their level, role, or company, to leave our session feeling confident in their ability to innovate.

Steve Dry is an innovation expert at PA Consulting Group.

Emma Lagreze is a design thinking expert at PA Consulting Group.