An Innovation Story
A group of people with a high company loyalty who can think outside the box, come together in an informal meeting room. Light, colors, furniture and everything is designed to trigger their creativity. Then suddenly leaders enter the room. The leaders encourages teams to say their thoughts freely, not to be afraid of making mistakes, and that every idea is very valuable. In this environment where the hierarchy is almost invisible, team members produce creative ideas from each other. Team members contribute to the competitiveness of their companies by projecting the most valuable ideas among these ideas.
You’ve listened to a story of innovation from Harvard Business Review’s cover sentence. There’s nothing wrong with the story, but accept it and you’ve found the story a little cliche. Although we are afraid to say in crowded places, but we all know that ‘some things’ may not be as written in anglo-sakson magazines or may not be as instructed by master.
Is innovation absolutely a team job?
If the team members,
- if they don’t know where the company market is located, and don’t know the current dynamics of the market,
- If they don’t know the best samples in the country, region and on the planet related to the company’s products and services; and if they don’t understand how they are best,
- if they have no idea about the technologies that can affect the company’s products and services today,
- if they are not interested in their field of expertise other than their own field, and if they ignore transactions outside their own processes,
- if they don’t have any motivation to learn new things, to try different things and to change things,
- if they feel fear, anger, anxiety in the face of all kinds of change and transformation,
- if they can’t establish a small and weak connection between the future of the company and their individual future,
you can cast away of all your self-stick note like apples, stars, squares, and even speech bubbles, and your 12-colored full set felt-tip pens.
Innovation and creativity are teamwork, but it is the work of teams that can do this. Not every team can do this. It is not useful for you to meet in the hotel halls with people who are not passionate about change and transformation, who are afraid of innovation and who have no emotional bridge with the company. Innovation is not the work of ‘ignorant’ individuals and ve ‘soulless’ teams. What we mean by ‘ignorant’ here is not the degree of the graduation certificate, but the indifference about learning, experimentation and creation. Moreover, there is no proven correlation between graduation certificate and daring-passion-curiosity.
Let’s make room for lone wolves
The ideas of lone wolves – enthusiastic in-house entrepreneurs, and their daring work can add much more value to companies according to ‘ignorant’ and ‘soulless’ team.
If an employee by himself/herself,
- If he/she learns new things by creating time on his/her own even without a request from his/her manager,
- if he/she is self-motivated to try and design new things,
- if he/ she is constantly chasing innovation without fear of criticism and failure,
- if he/she has a enthusiastic excited about learning, innovation and transformation, even if he/she is not appreciated
Maybe this enthusiastic person may not be part of a team and he/she doesn’t use different sticky notes in the meeting room.
Companies need to spend more energy to discover and encourage lone wolves when teamwork been continually glorified for innovation. Even if all the magazines and the books say otherwise.