So, if you’re in a management position at your company, what can you do within your organization to actively boost workplace curiosity? According to Kurt Dykema, the Director of Technology at Twisthink, a product innovation and business strategy consultancy, a leader needs to “make it possible to implement new ideas.” Process is important; however, employees need “wiggle room”, room for growth and thinking outside the box, to allow creative thoughts to develop to innovative ideas and, ultimately, grow to groundbreaking solutions.
While process instills guidelines that would seem to counter an innovative spirit, organizations can and should instill certain processes to enable and promote innovation. The trick is that doing this well – setting your organization up for innovation success- requires innovation.
Chunka Mui of Forbes describes the Engelbart framework for the “ABCs of Organizational Improvement.” Every organization requires 3 processes to improve their current business – Processes A, B, and C.
Process A maintains the core activities of the organization. Mui explains, “The A process is all about execution – carrying out today’s strategy and business model as well as possible.”
Process B ensures that the organization improves it’s A process. Examples of process B are hiring and training programs and developing or installing new tools for organizational improvement. As Mui says, “The B process is responsible for making the A process faster, better, cheaper, and more profitable.”
Processes A and B keep an organization running. They ensure that the products and services provided by a company continue to improve in order to keep up with changes in the market and maintain a certain status quo. The C process, however, is where innovation really comes in. “The C focuses on improving the B process; it improves how we improve. It is the ‘C’ process that is too often missing or haphazard,” Mui says.
By focusing on process C, management can drive innovation in products, services, and internal processes, thereby generating business value. Examples include adopting better tools for internal use and encouraging customer co-creation, which can lead to more innovation in both processes A and B. Adopting better internal tools can increase efficiencies across teams and across an enterprise. With more time and resources available due to more efficient and streamlined processes A and B, innovation can thrive.
Additionally, by allowing customers to contribute to innovation, customers can better understand why certain ideas are more feasible than others. They will be better equipped to work with an organization to best service needs or create the most user-friendly products. Not only does customer co-creation help companies understand their target groups and craft products specific to their needs, it also fosters brand affinity among customers who become innovation partners and loyal consumers.