Innovation is “Passion” driven & Not “Dollar” Driven

Innovation

I recently had a session with a CEO of a digital commerce company, with around 300 plus employees. As part of the new initiatives, the company is ready to pump in money for innovation and build new products in the e-commerce space.

He wanted to explore the ways by which he can start the product culture in the company and also he wanted to discuss the failures they had in building some of their products.

That meeting actually triggered me to write about this.

Why innovation hubs of many of the companies fail in spite of having the best talents and unlimited funding?

Innovation is driven by passion and not via Dollars. So what is the trait of passionate people and companies? Being passionate requires hard work, dedication, willingness to fail over and over again, more than everything you have to be empathetic.

Because every innovation is solving some problem of a user. You can’t solve it unless you understand it. We have to be empathetic to find that “Why”.

So for creating empathy you have to put aside your own viewpoints and start seeing and feeling things from another person’s perspective.

Then you will be able to analyze the emotions, pains, and reactions of the other person.

In order to be innovative you have to Empathetic, both the company and every employee in the company have to be empathic to understand the pain of your users.

So you need to build this culture in the company, when you start practicing then you will realize that it is not easy to create an empathy culture. This has to come inside out because you cant call all your employees and declare that “ from today onwards we are an empathetic company, so from today we will be empathetic”. It is not possible.

When I ask the leaders and management team they all will say that they are empathic. But first, the employees should feel that management is empathetic to them and the leadership team should also have empathy and vision towards “why they are building what they are building”.

That empathy and vision should flow to all the employees. This is not an easy process it takes time, patience, and practice.

Once this is done then you have actually laid the foundation for innovation. Because once you feel the pain of the users you will think about innovative ways to solve that.

Till this point, “you are a group of people who are implementing a solution based on customer’s needs”.

This is the same point where you will transform yourself from a service mindset to a product mindset. That mindset is the key driver for innovation. As I said earlier this is only the foundation and then you have to build on top of this.

So, It’s not the dollars and manpower you need to build a product instead you need “Passion and Empathy”.

https://bivekrenuji.medium.com/innovation-is-passion-driven-not-dollar-driven-8333c07a97a5

Transformation = Embracing New Ways of Working

Transformation Is Embracing Change

How do you change something that’s at the heart and soul of an organization? Cultures that took years to shape are certainly not going to change overnight or as a result of a re-written mission statement and an hour-long speech from the CEO. Cultural evolution takes time. Lots of time.

Transformation initiatives surrounded by the wrong organizational culture and DNA results in an unsatisfied workforce, chaos, confusion, and political collusion.

If an organization’s leadership is unable to inspire its people, how can those leaders expect their workforce to bring initiative, imagination, and passion to their work every day?

A strong, shared sense of purpose also removes many obstacles, and this has to be communicated from the top.

I can suggest you to explore ‘The Persuasion Cycle’ from Mark Goulston. It involves taking people through five stages

  1. From resisting to listening
  2. From listening to considering
  3. From considering to willing to do
  4. From willing to do to doing
  5. From doing to, glad they did and continue to do.

“Ironically, the key to gaining ‘buy-in’ and then moving people through the rest of the cycle is not what you tell them, but what you get them to tell you — and what happens in their minds in the process,” says Goulston.

As he rightly said for any organization the transformation is not what to tell your employees but it’s how you listen to them. It also requires hearing what is unspoken yet conveyed through tone of voice, eye contact, and other body languages. This requires you to be curious and using all of your senses to truly tune into the other person.

Many of you might say you are a good listener, but the reality is we are not. If you analyze yourself you will have to admit that “ you were not actively listening instead, distracted of thinking about what to say next”

This becomes a crucial point when you undergo transformation because you will have to talk to your employees and they will have questions and complaints. You would start the conversation in an active listening mode but it will eventually turn into a defensive and justification mode. This is going to shut the other person’s minds and he will never open up. If your employees don’t open-up then you cant successfully do the transformation. Both of these actions are physiological. You are defending yourself because you yours self is not ready to accept the past, which in-turn will shut the doors to your employees minds.

Why is it important to listen to people: Everyone has their own challenges, needs, desire & agendas( Political & Personal). They have secrets they are hiding from you, they are stressed, busy, and often keeping all of these in their heads.

They put up a mental barricade to cover up all these. You can communicate and transform only if you can overcome this barricade. One of the first steps is to identify these barriers. For that you have to be an active listener with a clear vision of what you want to achieve.

The first step for companies and leaders who are trying to transform is to improve your ability to truly listen. Because the more you know them the more you know the problems. Which will help you in communicating the change you want and you will be able to implement the changes more effectively.

https://bivekrenuji.medium.com/transformation-embracing-new-ways-of-working-2d7d55957762