Saturday, September 5, 2015

Creating a Culture of Innovation

Does your organization have a culture that encourages innovation or is your suggestion box covered in dust?

One of my all time favorite quotes comes from Sam Walton who said,
"The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say. It’s terribly important for everyone to get involved. Our best ideas come from the clerks and stock boys."
So how do you create a culture where your employees feel encouraged to share new ideas – confident that their ideas will be respected, welcomed, and that they will receive the credit for them?
  1. Teach innovation - Host a better-faster-cheaper contest. Ask for ideas on how to speed up processes and save money, while maintaining quality. Offer prizes for those with the best solutions.
  2. Conquer complacency – An, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality can kill your organization. Don’t be left behind your competition by getting stuck in the rut of complacent thinking and status quo. Ask for input on where you are stuck in a rut, and offer prizes for the best solutions.
  3. Think big picture – Help your team to think big picture. Incorporate fun learning activities that encourage big picture thinking into your weekly schedules.
Here’s an impromptu one that will encourage your team to picture the future.

Austin Cycles

Purpose: To consider what an ideal future would look like for your organization, and to create and articulate a vision of what they can achieve.

Materials: Large sheets of paper and markers for each team.

How to: Divide your team into small groups of no less than 4 and no more than 6. Give each group flip chart paper, and markers.

Read the following lead-in to the group: “Louis Wilson has been the owner of Austin Cycles for 3 years. He’s managed his team, kept costs under control, and put in place plans to reduce turnover and to train new employees. Things are going pretty well.

Although his team is performing, Louis feels that there is a lack of challenge and excitement. Louis believes that Austin Cycles could be the best-known, best-liked motorcycle dealer in Austin.

Your assignment is to help Louis ‘paint a picture’ of his vision for the future. Draw what might be happening in the stores. What would the customers see? What would staff be doing? How would everyone feel? What would the shopping experience be? Work with your team to develop a vision for Louis’ team.”

Debrief Questions:    
  • How did your team decide on the vision and what it would look like?
  • What did it feel like to draw your vision?
  • What does drawing pictures do as compared to just writing the words?
Level Up Tip: Since it is a pictorial representation of a vision for the future, and to make it a little tougher, have them use pictures only. No words.

You can find other big picture thinking activities in my Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide Book: How to Put Gamification to Work for You

Take the first step, to become a qualified gamification designer. Do you realize that among the people reading this article, you may be the one who grabs this opportunity to take the first step? As you start to think about the benefits of learning this new skill, I bet your mind can uncover further benefits in being part of the gamification design community.

About the Author:  Monica Cornetti
Founder and CEO, Sententia

A gamification speaker and designer, Monica Cornetti is rated as a #1 Gamification Guru in the World by UK-Based Leaderboarded. She is the author of the book Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You, writes The Gamification Report blog, and hosts the weekly Gamification Talk Radio program.

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