Top-down, middle-out and bottom-up
By Peter Henderson
A barrier to innovation can be cultural inertia and fear, as executives and middle management are driven by quarterly results. One way to help minimize this impact can be to embrace a top-down, middle-out and bottom-up approach to innovation.
Inspire a fertile environment for sustainable growth and prosperity. Franck Riboud, chair of Danone, once said “We cannot grow in the desert.” To Danone these simple words mean a company needs a fertile-thriving society if it wants to be sustainable. This message can apply equally well for a healthy ecosystem within a company.
Walk the walk, with design thinking. Design thinking is an approach that uncovers challenges, unmet needs and opportunities, which other can’t see. It encourages collaboration (cross-functional and internal-external), and its methodology has been adopted by leading multinational organizations. The book Business Model Generation was co-created by 470 practitioners from 45 countries. Published in 2010, it is promoted as “a handbook for visionaries, game changers and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow’s enterprises.” To download a 72-page preview, visit www.businessmodelgeneration.com. The beauty of the design thinking process is it can easily fit within an existing organization structure, as it can be adopted by one or many.
All employees can be open to juicing innovation potential. Think about how you can spark new ideas by addressing challenges, which could improve the performance of your colleagues, team and entire organization.
Regardless of your level within your organization, you can be an important contributor. Developing a new and inspiring culture takes time, careful planning and adoption of best practices. Building positive relationships and patience are important.
Peter Henderson is a director on the board of the Agri-food Management Institute (AMI). He is also founder and managing director of Ideovation, a Toronto-based growth strategy services company. Contact him at [email protected]
This article appeared in the print issue:June 2015 edition, Rethinking Innovation section