Look critically at your organization, identify the weaknesses, and “kill a stupid rule.”
Those are steps futurist Lisa Bodell believes organizations must take to remain relevant and competitive, and to survive in an ever-changing environment.
“If you start small in your own team, you can kill a stupid rule and make more space for change and innovation,” says Bodell, founder/CEO of the innovation research and training firm futurethink.
A renowned innovation expert and futurist, Bodell has helped hundreds of leaders use simple tools and techniques to ignite innovation and incorporate forward thinking into their strategic planning and work culture. Bodell will address the 2016 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 21-25 in Washington.
Based on her best-selling book “Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution,” Bodell’s presentation will address how complacency and a relentless pursuit of efficiency prevent organizations from finding and employing innovative solutions that achieve results.
Innovation is the execution of an idea. While it’s often easy for people to come up with ideas, seeing them put into action is much more difficult.
“Coming up with ideas is easy,” Bodell says. “Building them in to valuable concepts—that make money, change lives, improve situations, or however you define ‘value’—is much harder.”
That’s why leaders need to create a climate of innovation in their workplace where employees believe they can approach leaders with new ideas and then receive the support and resources to cultivate those ideas.
Fostering a culture of innovation is essential for credit unions to continue to grow, Bodell says. Flexibility, creativity, communication, seeking out opportunities, and collaboration—all desirable traits in successful leaders—are also key to creating an atmosphere that encourages innovation.
Innovation doesn’t just mean large, drastic changes, Bodell says. For many organizations, it may involve starting by implementing small changes.
Employees can begin challenging the status quo by focusing on “stupid rules,” or the processes and tasks in their daily work that aren’t valuable, and coming up with alternatives that will replace or improve these tasks.
Employees could see value in shortening a weekly status meeting, changing the monthly operating report to every other month, or discontinuing the use of “reply all” in group emails.
Stopping tasks such as these—which Bodell says are low-value and inefficient—will free up employees to carry out more meaningful work and innovative thinking.
“Risk-taking is central to innovation,” Bodell says. “The key is defining what a good risk is within your company so people know how much risk they are allowed to take.”