Innovators – Entrepreneurial Startup Spirit

The startup spirit

Innovation is easier for small organizations. Think of Apple computers and the Google search engine, both of which were founded in garages.Here are ways to re-create some of that garage entrepreneurial spirit in large organizations with “innovation communities.

Create space and time to innovate.
Set aside time for people to be free of daily responsibilities to brainstorm. Senior managers should set the agenda.

Get a broad variety of viewpoints.
Seek input from people in different functions, locations and ranks.

Create a conversation between key groups.
Keep meetings structured so they don’t become time-wasting “blue sky” chatter. Make sure participants aren’t in the same group with their bosses who have control over their salaries and promotions.

Participants should be pulled to join, not pushed.
They shouldn’t be forced to disclose their thoughts. Rewards are not recommended; because people often focus more on getting awards than on helping.

Outcomes have to be measured.
Otherwise, top managers will lose interest.

Keep the process going.
Even after the communities disband, participants may continue to exchange in ideas.

Source: JC Spender and Bruce Strong, Wall Street Journal