Stop Recognizing People for Doing their Job

“Is she out of her mind?”,  you ask yourself. Nope! And neither is Stephen Shapiro who wrote a great bit on How To Motivate Innovators.

Stop recognizing people for doing their job. When you hire someone to work for you, it should be expected that they are competent.  When you recognize people for doing what they are hired to do, it reinforces a “culture” where the status quo is good enough.

Instead, recognize (and reward) people for going beyond their job; for doing things that are unexpected.

If you wish to develop a culture of innovation within your organization, you are going to have to reward what I call productive disruption. Productive disruption, in my mind, is an attempt at doing things differently while taking into account risks and with the mindset of wanting to improve upon something. It isn’t always successful, but it always generates discourse and reflection.

If you want to encourage open innovation or cross-business unit collaboration, then recognize people for that.  If you want employees to take risks, make a big deal out of individuals who do that.  If you want to let people know that failure is ok – when done the right way – then promote situations where something didn’t work as planned yet powerful lessons were learned and risk was mitigated risk.

Define what your organization values and then reward on that.

Couldn’t agree more. The idea that errors aren’t punished but rather become case studies is refreshing. I have been fortunate to work in such environments where I can learn from my errors and in looking for solutions to overcome them, learn and innovate.

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Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Innovation: The Top 50 Inventions of the Past 50 Years

Absolutely fascinating.

Of course the jet airplane and in-vitro fertilization are there.

But what surprised me was that GPS technology is around since 1978! And even more surprising, to find high-yield rice. You *do* learn something new every day!

To select the 50 most pioneering inventions of the past 50 years, PM consulted 25 authorities at 17 museums and universities across the country. Their collective expertise spans aeronautics, biology, physics, medicine, automobiles and technology. An initial call for suggestions resulted in a list of 100 inventions, which was then circulated for a formal vote and reduced via a points system determined by each expert’s top picks. Any such list is open to debate, of course.

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“Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way” Has Never Rang So True

Radical innovation is a proposal or idea and not a product. It is user-centered and focussed on meaning.

What is your innovation strategy?

In his book, “Design-Driven Innovation“, author Roberto Verganti outlines a framework for mapping strategy for innovation as a radical change in meanings. Check out his thinking in the diagram below:

Design-Driven Innovation

As your company maps its innovation strategy, this distinction of radical innovation of meanings rather than features may be noteworthy in your product development. If you’re not thinking about radical innovation right now, you can be sure your competitor is. Lead, follow, or get out of the way has never rang so true.

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The UK Offers a Free Communities of Practice Platform for Local Governement Collaboration and Innovation

Communities of practice for local government is a website that supports collaboration across local government and the public sector in the United Kingdom.

From the About section of the site:

This is a freely accessible resource that enables like-minded people to form online communities of practice, which are supported by collaboration tools that encourage knowledge sharing and learning from each others experiences.

Connect to Collaborate to Innovate

This is a community platform supporting professional social networks across local government and the public sector. It provides a secure environment for knowledge development and sharing through online communities of practice.

What will I find?

Networking across local government

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Personal Knowledge Management: Cognitive Processing of Info for Innovation

While I have focused most of my research on Communities of Practice and Collective Expertise, I see a necessary co-existence of both these principles in order to ensure the most optimal results in advancing knowledge and practice.

We can seek out (aggregate) all the sources of information on any subject and share them with the world, but if we don’t make sense of them, they’re worthless.

PKM isn’t just collecting and filing  bits and pieces of information for later retrieval. There is an ongoing sense-making process that, through practice, develops cognitive skills. It’s knowledge management, not information or document management.

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Getting All Things Done Means Getting the Balance Right

In one of her recent blog posts, Janet Clarey poses the question How hard is it for you to balance innovation and execution? She compares and contrasts taking time to think and innovate with working in “execution” mode. She explains that when returning from vacation, she was in execution mode, which was good because, according to Janet: “too much time spent on innovation means nothing gets done”.

Also, I’m sure Janet’s to-do list was overflowing, like would be most professionals when they come back from vacation, so execution mode is inevitable! But then Janet adds the flip side: “Of course too much time executing means lack of vision.”

And she poses the grand the question: “How do you balance all the innovative discoveries that present themselves with the need to execute?”

This got me thinking about my own time management strategies. I look on my bookshelf at the copy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done which I purchased a year ago (I ordered it on online at chapters.indigo.ca, which makes me both efficient and Canadian!). I haven’t had time to read it yet. Blame it on the thesis once again? Actually, it’s because I don’t think I really need it. I’m naturally a good time manager. Ok, certain things slip through the cracks now and then, but I tend to amaze people in how I do everything that I do and still can sit on a terrace at happy hour on Thursdays and enjoy a martini, looking relaxed, the sun beaming on my face.

But then, there are the things I have a really hard time getting done. The big things that require more then just power over time. They require a whole other type of power: willpower. Enter thesis.

Then I notice Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles which actually was quite helpful. Here is the opening section of his book entitled “What I Do

I get up, take a shower, have breakfast. I read the paper, brush my teeth. If I have phone calls to make, I make them. I’ve got my coffee now. I put on my lucky work boots and stitch up the lucky laces that my niece Meredith gave me. I head back to my office, crank up the computer. My lucky hooded sweatshirt is draped over the chair, with the lucky charm I got from a gypsy in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for only eight bucks in francs, and my lucky LARGO name tag that came from a dream I once had. I put it on. On my thesaurus is my lucky cannon that my friend Bob Versandi gave me from Morro Castle, Cuba. I point it toward my chair, so it can fire inspiration into me. I say my prayer, which is the Invocation of the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey, translation by T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, that my dear mate Paul Rink gave me and which sits near my shelf with the cuff links that belonged to my father and my lucky acorn from the battlefield at Thermopylae. It’s about ten-thirty now. I sit down and plunge in. When I start making typos, I know I’m getting tired. That’s four hours or so. I’ve hit the point of diminishing returns. I wrap for the day. Copy whatever I’ve done to disk and stash the disk in the glove compartment of my truck in case there’s a fire and I have to run for it. I power down. It’s three, three-thirty. The office is closed. How many pages have I produced? I don’t care. Are they any good? I don’t even think about it. All that matters is I’ve put in my time and hit it with all I’ve got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome Resistance.

And he goes on about overcoming resistance in this inspiring gem of a book. I read this book about three years ago. It was a gift from a friend who saw me struggling with multiple levels of resistance. I decided to do much like Steven Pressfield and analyze how my average day happens. But because I’m more adept with graphs then words, I made a visual representation of how I try to achieve the balance Janet was referring too. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge it.

Mapping my Brain Cycles to Maximize my Efficiency Potential
Mapping my Brain Cycles to Maximize my Efficiency Potential

How does your average day look?

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