La frase

No hay inversión más rentable que la del conocimiento". Benjamín Franklin

lunes, 10 de mayo de 2010

To Innovate, Create "Hunch-Friendly" Environments, by Kathleen Carr


If you want creativity, you need to encourage it, and allow time for it to percolate. That was the focus of this year's Front End of Innovation conference in Boston.
Steve Johnson, New Media professor at the Columbia School of Journalism, talked about the importance of creating a "hunch-friendly environment." That is, give your employees the latitude to explore their ideas and you'll be amazed what they come up with. Tim Berners-Lee, for instance, had 10 years of latitude to conceive of the Internet. Researchers from MIT, who were interested in space exploration were given untold amounts of time to track signals from Sputnick, and with that time they changed the future of the world. Their experiments led to current day global positioning systems.
Vijay Govindarajan, professor at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business and author of Ten Strategic Rules for Innovators and the forthcoming, The Other Side of Innovation, spoke about the importance of having a big dream, and in thinking in terms of next practices instead of best practices. When John F. Kennedy announced, "we'll put a man on the moon and bring him back before the end of the decade," people thought he was crazy. But we did it.
Teresa Amabile, professor at Harvard Business School spoke about the importance of respecting people and their ideas, and how people need to feel a human bond at work if they're going to feel invested. For managers in particular, she created this checklist that she encouraged everyone to use at the end of their day to assess employee engagement:
1. Did people get the personal support they needed?
2. Are people being dismissed?
3. Did I recognize people for the progress they made?
And Bert Jacobs, Co-founder and Chief Executive Optimist for Life Is Good said that when he was growing up, his family would sit around the dinner table and they'd ask each other to relate "something good that happened that day." And with that mindset, he's launched a mulit-million dollar company focused on the notion that life is something to be enjoyed and celebrated.
On my first day as an editor at Harvard Business Review, my manager said, "I want you to spend one hour everyday thinking. Just thinking." Wow, I thought, that's freeing. I took her seriously. I'd use that time to read magazines, read about other industries, people, and events. I'd chat with my colleagues in marketing and sales. I'd dream up new ways to publish content. I'd call my brother, a physician, and ask him what was new in healthcare. Of course, I wasn't always that productive. Sometimes I'd use the time to search the office for snacks or to call my mom. But when my manager gave me this directive, she also gave me quite a bit of respect. She was telling me that she valued my ideas. That it was worth it to her to pay me, just to think. And she immediately made me feel like I was part of something, and with that, I was hooked. She had my unwavering loyalty.
If you want your employees to be innovative, encourage it. Give them time. Recognize them. And be sure to ask them to tell you about something good that happened that week. If they don't have anything to report, it might be time to evaluate how you're encouraging them.

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