Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Live from FEI EMEA: Organisational Breathing: embedding an innovation rhythm

In his presentation about "Organisational Breathing: embedding an innovation rhythm" David Thomas, Global Innovation Leader and Program Manager at Mars Inc. described his experience about setting up innovation routines for organizations that are naturally repeated like breathing in and out.

ORGAN.ization as a living system
His challenge at Mars Inc. was how to create a common approach for a business is very much driven by the segments. His objective is to foster innovation by working across the segments with joint solutions. In addition Mars University is used to train employees from different businesses in common methodologies and tools. Historically, there was a lot of freedom for each business with the consequence that there were no commonalities between the generated approaches- every business had its own approach.

Creativity and Discipline seems to be a contradiction. It’s a matter about processes and frameworks to be used as a guiding structure. This is the first step, but it doesn’t provide outcomes. Performance improves can be only realized through repetition. It's important to develop a collectice consciousness about

Why are we doing it? What are we doing? How are we doing it?

David Thomas emphasized that for him using story telling is a really powerful way to discuss what works and what doesn’t. He presented a chart which showed a linear dependency between the degree of collaboration and innovation. You really need to repeat to learn and improve.

He closed the session by sharing the following lessons learnt:

Commitment to a direction
Start breathing
Build capacity through the network
Leverage story telling to drive collective conscious
Encourage circulation
Recognise that it’s a tribal network.

Frauke Lohr is running her own consulting business named Comsciencia, targeting customers from industry, academia as well as politics with special focus on innovation topics. She is currently attending the 6th annual Front End of Innovation EMEA in Z├╝rich, Switzerland on February 27-29, 2012, and covering the event live via the FEI Blog and Twitter.

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