We say that we do not like changes, but we all have changed and adapted to the corona crisis swiftly.
Covid-19 managed to create a change immediately and significantly. How come we do not like change, but we changed so swiftly anyway in 2020?
What is crucial to learn from Covid-19 to be better at implementing innovation in your organization? Here we bring the 3 most important tips!
Thankfully 2020 is over and we hope for a much better year ahead. 2020 has imposed challenges for the whole world. Once more we have witnessed how dependent we are on each other on the global level. However, a lot can be learned from 2020 when it comes to innovation and how to accelerate innovation outputs.
What are the 3 most important learning points we should take out from 2020 when it comes to innovation?
Implementing innovation requires changes, and often, these are demanding changes. A very usual comment when it comes to changes is that we do not like changes, it is very difficult to make people and organizations change.
However, we have witnessed that Covid-19 made us adapt swiftly to new circumstances. Why is that? When we understand that situation is urgent, we react. We have witnessed the dramatic Covid-19 situation in Italy and Spain. We understood that unless we do not adopt to lockdown measures, the situation (in Norway and the rest of Europe) could have soon got out of control with many infected cases and high mortality rates.
When implementing innovation, it is important for the whole organization to get into a state of urgency. The world is changing constantly so are the organizations and people in it.
When we work with companies, we aim that the whole organization understands why this change is important and urgent. We do that by discussing possible scenarios that could significantly endanger the company’s situation. Everyone in an organization needs to understand what happens if we stay idle. When an organization understands scenarios, a sense of urgency starts to emerge.
Covid-19 made us all understand very quickly what happens if we do not all contribute to the higher goals. The situation made us understand that this is for common good and we all acknowledged that we do not have time to wait. This was urgency in place.
The covid-19 crisis also taught us that we all need to unite in our efforts to combat the virus. It does not help if only one family stays in quarantine, and other infected freely walk around. Let us take the EU as an example of an alliance. Covid-19 showed how important was for the EU to stand together. It thought us again that the EU countries have greater negotiation power with suppliers if they negotiate together than what would be the case if each country would negotiate alone. Creating the EU alliance made smaller countries more protected when it comes to negotiating with suppliers. Also, on the global level, the EU has a stronger voice as one market than what each country would have alone.
The same is with introducing innovation. It is extremely important to find alliances and coalition partners within a company. It is about putting together a group that will have enough power to lead innovation. It does not help to put one person, the innovation director, to do all the fight alone. It is important that she gets needed support from the top. It is important to create a strong group that will heartily carry out the innovation project.
When we work with a client to be more innovative, one of the things we do is to focus on finding the coalition group. We look who are the individuals that put together will push the project to succeed and sustain.
3. Short term wins
We have all heard the expression to have big bold goals. But having big bold goals does not help much if we do not know what the small subgoals are. Waiting for the big bold goal to come true can be very frustrating, it can take many years to get there. Until we reach a big goal, we need to achieve many subgoals. We need to have many short-term wins. The short-term wins will give us confidence that we are on the right path and will further boost motivation to continue. The short-term wins are easier to achieve and hence have a persuasive effect.
The first lockdown in Norway showed great results. The numbers of infected cases fell, and this gave a good indication of what to do and how to set guidelines for the coming months. Government and institutions understood how the mechanisms are working and by adopting the learnings it was easier to create new measures and mechanisms to combat the virus spread. Imagine what would happen if that short term win did not happen, how would people have reacted to future measures imposed then? Short term achievable wins are an important motivator to go on.
Implementing innovation in an organization means also defining the short-term wins that will have inspirational and motivational effects. Each organization is unique, and we look for the wins that are unique for each company. We are aware not to set too easy or too difficult short-term wins. The small achievable subgoals must be aligned with organizational needs and capabilities. Sometimes convincing the leadership team about the urgency of implementing an innovation strategy is a (small) win itself, other times can be setting an innovation process in place or testing the innovation process.
In 2020 we got a tremendous number of opportunities to learn about ourselves, the organizations we work in, and how we react to changes. We have covered in this article three things we hold are the three most important learnings when it comes to innovation implementation: urgency, alliances, and short-term wins. Creating a sense of urgency is the first step to changes, adding good supportive alliances that have a clear set of small goals that can be transferred into short term wins is an excellent start of a successfully implemented innovation.
If you are curious to know more, please feel free to contact us. We will be glad to help.
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