The right people with the right knowledge should achieve innovative results

Picture this scenario: you’re the Team Leader for a group of employees within your organization.  You have observed endlessly the frustration and lack of motivation within your team and want to initiate change.  You get approval from the CEO to implement a new program intended to re-energize your group and increase productivity…but it doesn’t.  You’re left wondering what went wrong and your team is left even more unhappy because now they have something new they are expected to execute.

What happened here?

Innovation isn’t just about solving a problem and implementing a solution; it starts with ownership and ensuring you have the right people involved using a common process to collectively solve it together.  In the above situation, there was a manager willing to take ownership but because the problem wasn’t properly defined, including the people it affected most, it failed.  Engaging the right people in the problem-finding process provides an opportunity for a greater understanding of what’s actually going on.  New facts can be unearthed, and true problem definition will help propagate a breakthrough in the innovative process.

Hand with infinity sign floating above it

Problems are infinite within organizations 

Often businesses are reactive, scrambling to find solutions and losing not only profit but their share of being competitive within the market.  In this post-pandemic economy, staying ahead of trends and maintaining fluency at the same time is a major challenge. Problem finding must be an intentional process identifying Generators for proactive measures and then finding balance within the team, including the other styles and those directly impacted or involved.

Finding employees who are aware of the world around them and eager to find new problems is invaluable; Generators, are proactive and deliberate in seeking out problems needing to be solved.  With the internet making our world smaller and the ability for companies to reach a global market more directly, it is imperative for businesses to deliberately look for problems. The consequence of failing to meet this new economic landscape will result in a lack of evolution with consumer demand and decreased profitability.  

Finding the right people to innovate

“But I don’t know who to include?!”  That’s ok.  There is an eight-step process to help you.  When finding the right people is a problem, do a problem-solving session.  The beauty of the eight-step wheel is that it can be used at any moment when you are stuck or unsure of where to go next.  Stop and restart the wheel to work out the new problem.  

What are the problem-solving steps in the wheel?

What are the problem-solving steps in the wheel

Use the innovation process and be patient, don’t jump ahead, and don’t abandon it because it’s hard or you think it’ll take too long.  Include everyone involved in the process, and ask who can solve this problem? Who does this affect?  Getting the right people involved must be intentional, even if you must go outside of your organization.  Remember that executives or managers aren’t necessarily the ones who should be included.

When creating a team to problem find, be sure to consider their thinking style: Generator, Conceptualizer, Optimizer, Implementer.  If possible, all of them should be represented; heavy on the Generators if problem finding is the intention.  Ultimately, the problem will dictate the people and the problem’s owner needs to ensure the right balance of styles are involved.  

Thanks to virtual meeting spaces such as Zoom or Google Meet, you can select individuals based on their thinking styles and not impact where they physically reside or work. So remember not to make assumptions on anyone’s behalf, representation of all expertise is important so your team finds and solves the right problem.

Innovation stalls with the wrong team

What happens if you’ve created a team and, after engaging in problem-finding, discover that you have selected the wrong individuals?  Simple; start all over again.  If you realize this, that’s actually problem finding, which is great, but you must start again as soon as you can.  Don’t try to force the process to work without the missing people.  Remember, you are in control.  It is good to trust the process but don’t let it drive you, it is simply a tool to help you navigate.  

Laptop on a desk that shows a group of people in a virtual meeting

How will you know if you’ve created the right team?  

KNOWLEDGE + INNOVATIVE PROCESS+SKILLS (diverging and converging skills) + TOOLS (ex. brainstorming) + STYLES = INNOVATIVE RESULTS

When the owner of a problem involves the right people in problem finding they can energize each other and come up with ideas that may never have surfaced otherwise.  Innovative people don’t wait for problems to find them, they seek problems to solve and often find problems that others have ignored.

Finding new problems is innovation, and people will be happy because they got results.  When the right people are involved in an established process, they are provided the opportunity to create endless possibilities by interacting with one another and going beyond what is expected. 

Efficiency can be achieved by almost anyone, innovation requires the organization to go beyond the immediate to revolutionize its future.  By empowering the right people to innovate, they will find new ways to contribute to the company helping it evolve with a competitive edge. In-person or virtual, it doesn’t matter how the team is connected just that the right people are involved.

Ownership, the right people with the right knowledge and a process leader using a common innovation process will always achieve “out-of-the-box” results!

At Basadur, we can help you learn more about involving the right people in the innovation process.