Innovation: The value of minorities
In highly motivated work groups, it is usual to take common decisions in agreement. Everybody is listened to and involved so the whole team identifies with the plan (once we take a decision, we can sail to reach the objective, we've got everyone on board!). Tasks are delegated, areas of decision assigned, the team works as one body governed by a coordination but where each organ is autonomous and can take its own resolutions.
Creativity environments, innovation initiatives, those are different, it’s not so appropriate to be democratic. I would say, we can fail due to the tyranny of the democracy. Yes, the best ideas are likely to appear from only one person, or from just a few in big teams. Minorities. We could fall in the mistake of the mono-channel thinking, where the job, tasks, ideas are adapted to the average and try just to cover the requirements in an acceptable manner. When “acceptable” is not enough, when innovation is a must, you need to break with this system by weighting the sparks of creativity, unusual ideas that catch fire in the rest of the people generating alternative paths of thinking.
Just a small example, curiously within a routine operative environment, backup jobs monitoring. Historically backup monitoring has focused on the follow up of the client’s failures. The naming can vary depending on the tool, but it’s about monitoring the executed backup groups, or schedules, policies, etc… that are launched. Then incidents are generated for those failures. In corporate networks this can generate a huge number of incidents even if your success rate is high… increase of the paperwork, people dedicated just for fulfilling it, and for sure difficulties to troubleshoot.
One thought out of the box, it may be that the approach is not correct. How would it look like if we turn it inside out and monitor the error codes instead? This simple change in the approach could decrease the number of incidents by 75% together with other adjustments. Consolidating by root cause it allowed to dedicate the people to other more qualified tasks, while eased the troubleshooting and analysis of trends.
- Innovation means changing.
- Innovation means accepting you’re not right.
- Innovation means listening.
- Innovation means freedom to answer.
Break up your default settings, learn again to think. Listen to minorities.