Organizations today know innovation has to be a part of their business plan or they will succumb to innovative competitors or the apathy of customers attracted elsewhere. But how can companies ensure that innovation becomes a part of their DNA? Alec Pollak looks for the answer at the annual mecca for innovation seekers, SXSW.
ALEC POLLAK: This is Alec Pollak from JUICE Pharma, and we have clients that are asking us, “How can we promote more innovation in our organization?” Innovation is a word that we hear constantly at JUICE, both internally and as we have discussions with our clients. It’s important to understand the value of innovation in today’s business world, not just in pharma marketing or in pharma advertising at large.
Innovation is important because we need to make sure that the ideas that are being generated inside and out can really capture the imagination of our targets, can capture the imagination of patients, of physicians, of everyone within the healthcare system so that they can better understand the core ideas that we need to communicate. We live in a society today full of noise from all sorts of digital channels especially, so it’s important to have innovative, interesting engagements that can really attract attention.
Today I attended a presentation by David Aycan from IDEO entitled “Leading for a Culture of Innovation and Creativity.” He outlined six creative qualities to help ensure that your organization can be more innovative and creative. Those six qualities are purpose, looking out, experimentation, collaboration, empowerment and refinement.
Now, you ask yourself what can I do with these six words. Well, our speaker, David, gave us six examples of specifically actionable steps that you can take within your organization to make these things come to life, and I’m going to run through them very quickly for you now.
For purpose, he recommended you use purpose as a prime factor in all your major decisions. Make sure that that — that purpose is your guiding light, something to go back through for any decision that you make.
Number two, looking out, this means looking out into the world beyond your organization, understanding your customers, your market, other technologies. And he said every day you should observe three people dealing with issues you are working on — perhaps not every day, but for every issue that you are dealing on, make sure you’re observing at least three people who have to deal with that issue on a regular basis. For 30 or 40 minutes, actually watch that person and see what their life is like, three different people.
For experimentation, have an idea? Well, come up with three or four more ideas that could actually solve that same issue. Don’t just be satisfied with having that first idea. It’s those three or four ideas that you should actually bring to true users and have them vet those ideas, get feedback on all of the ideas, not just your first idea.
Four collaboration, he offered who might bring a new perspective. Again, collaboration is not just for collaboration’s sake, it’s something that actually brings new perspectives to solutions to the table. That’s what’s going to get you innovation.
Empowerment, communicate progress back to everyone who touched the work. And again, that means giving people the actual opportunity to distribute the problem, to make sure that it’s solved by all of the folks who may have specific ideas that are relevant to their expertise.
And finally, refinement. For refinement, he recommended creating five to seven design principles and sharing them with the team, again for decision-making. Having these agreed-upon principles leave things a lot less nebulous when decision-making or designs or ideas are vetted. If you have these principles, you can always go back to those principles when making any decisions.