Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Everyone wants to be one of the cool kids in the “In(novation) Crowd”. Don’t you?

Letting People Know The New Company Standard:  Everyone Is Contributing Ideas!
Yes you can get everyone at your company to put aside some time to contribute ideas toward your new idea management system.  It takes more than rolling out the new innovation management software to be a success; but it isn’t that hard either.  You just have to let people know the new standard here at our company is that everyone is contributing ideas.  No one likes to be left behind, the crowd will follow.

Everyone is doing it!
Everybody talks about changing the culture of their company to focus more on idea submission.  We want everyone to deliver contributions (despite the fact they usually don’t have time) and we all want innovation to enable the future of our company.  You can hire consultants, you can empower a team of internal experts, but the most reliable route is to “put on your game face and convince everyone on the team that it’s happening, with or without them, and they might want to get on board or be left behind.”

“Everyone is contributing to the new idea management system.  Don’t you want to be part of this phenomenon?”

No small task; but not impossible.
Changing a culture can be tricky.  Your culture is a mix of things:  rituals, values, traditions…all these things define your group.  And those things persist because it is what holds the group together.  

There are techniques for changing a culture but they may not appear so obvious.  Researchers have found the techniques to change a culture (that produce lasting results) requires finesse, subtlety and patience.   
You don’t have to change what is inside people.  You just have to convince them everybody else is doing it.

There is a powerful drive in everyone to “be normal”. 
Therefore you need to focus on everyone’s shared belief that everyone (else) wants to contribute to the ideation process.  

Some examples from recent research: 
  • At the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, student kept encountering a marketing campaign, using hard data, that weekend alcohol consumption was down.  The program worked:  students started drinking less.
  • A Princeton study of post genocide Rwanda showed that those citizens who followed a soap opera about rising up against authority were more likely to voice dissent and express disagreement.  By witnessing these messages via absorbing media messages, they were “informed” about what is typical in their society.
  • By using those on the team who evidenced the right social positions, English rugby teams became more professional and disciplined about training.  Management thought of the message leaders as “culture architects”, a perfect description and title for those early adopters at your company who can lead the team toward embracing innovation and contributing to the new collaborative innovation environment.
  • Another example of a shift in thinking is the acceptance of gay marriage in America.  With younger Americans who grow up in an environment where gay people are more likely to be open about their sexuality and depicted as regular members of society in movies and on TV, significant numbers of people are more accepting of the idea than those who grew up with different norms.
Getting started is the hardest part of the plan.
This self reinforcing process is the hardest to execute at the beginning.  Once enough people deviate from the existing norms the evidence of the new trend drags others onto the bandwagon.  It’s all about the belief of what everyone’s teammates expect of them.

Peer pressure can be a good thing
So perhaps the best way to launch your ideation and innovation project at your company is to let everyone know that the “cool kids” or company leaders or early adopters or respected senior managers are making contributions.  You need to enlist lots of “co-champions” of the new technology.  The result:  a self fulfilling prophecy…this new innovation technology will cause lots of people to contribute new ideas.  And a bunch of those ideas will yield great cost savings; new revenue streams…maybe even a breakthrough realization your company needs to do things completely differently to succeed in these difficult economic times.

To learn more about how an innovation manager can improve the chances for adoption success and about the kinds of tools required, please register for our upcoming webinar:  The top dozen ways to make the job of the innovation manager easier”.

Please enroll now in our free webinar!
I’ll explore the challenges of how to optimize user adoption with the effective use of innovation technology oriented solutions in our upcoming webinar:  The top dozen ways to make the innovation manager’s job easier.  You can easily register for this complimentary event here:  http://bit.ly/RPFuuu.  Take the time to join your peers for a few minutes next month and learn how other organizations are making the innovation process work for them. 

Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60
Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) http://bit.ly/dvsYWD . You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn
CogniStreamer® is an idea management software tool.  It is an open innovation and collaboration platform where internal colleagues and external partner companies or knowledge centers join forces to create, develop and assess innovative ideas within strategically selected areas. The CogniStreamer® portal is an ideal collaborative platform that invites users to actively build a strong innovation portfolio. In addition it provides a powerful resource for internal and external knowledge sharing.  The CogniStreamer® framework is used by industry leaders such as Atlas Copco, Bekaert, Case New Holland, Cytec, Imec, Phillip Morris, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer®

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