As leaders in our industry, how do you really think about innovation? No less of a thinker than Socrates said “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” Knowing your tendencies and real outlook can help focus your innovation efforts.

Many of us could use a self-review to help understand how we react to challenges in our innovation quest. Always remember that leaders bring value in their ability to make good and timely decisions, so the better you understand your thinking, the more quality you bring to your value as a leader. Great leaders just do this better than the rest.
We are all in the service of our customers even though most of us are technically manufacturers. Normally the service industry is grouped differently than manufacturers, but in 2018 the best manufacturers are as service-oriented as non manufacturers

In Lucy Kimball’s Service Innovation Handbook, the first section are about self-evaluation. Kimball explains that improvements in this area are started by filling out a form, which I’ve re-created below.

“Fill out this form on your own. Copy a larger version of the template onto a large sheet of paper.  Pick any of the boxes and begin to add detail inside it. Make a mark to show where you stand between the two ends of each axis. Work your way round the template in any order and write down your analysis.”

  1. “Issues and challenges. Think about the issues that you are currently working on. If they have recently come to your attention, why now? If you have been working on the same issues for some time, what keeps you working on them?”
  2. “My accountability. Looking at your personal, professional and community activities, to who or what do you make yourself accountable? What does this look like in practice?”
  3. “My vision and values. What futures do you want to help bring into being? How are your visions for the future shaped by your values and political commitments or by the values and commitment of people you are working with, among or for? Are your vision and values mostly shared with others?  To what extent are they driven by your personal experiences?”
  4. “My beliefs about change. How do you think and feel about future possibilities and challenges? How do you experience change?”
  5. “Weak ties. Thinking about your weaker connections with other people and organizations in personal, professional and community contexts, what makes them meaningful to you?”
  6. “Strong ties. Considering your strong ties with other people and organizations in your personal, professional and community contexts, what makes them strong?”
  7. “My capacities and resources. Reflect on your current skills, knowledge, understanding, emotional resources, social capital and financial resources in personal, professional, and community contexts.”
  8. “My approach when starting off. How able and willing are you to try new ways of doing things? How often do you involve different approaches and people in a new project?”
  9. “My intention. What are you trying to achieve and why does it matter to you?”
  10. “Reflections. Consider if you always approach new things the same way. How have your ways of working and learning shaped previous projects? Do your habits lead you to acting in particular ways?  What matters to the people with whom you have strong and weak ties and to whom you hold yourself accountable?”

​This exercise and the answers to these questions will improve your innovation leadership and your team’s innovation performance.

Keep innovating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *