Monday, December 15, 2008

Innovation rule #4: Don't forget humanity

Amidst all of the interesting and good work on innovation processes, techniques and tools, I fear that we have lost sight of the fact that innovation comes from people. People are naturally wired to try and understand and gain mastery over their environment. They are curious. They are playful. They seek excellence. If this doesn’t sound like your workforce, then stop reading this right now. You don’t have an innovation problem, you have an HR problem.

In all likelihood, your people have these qualities. If you don’t see them, it may be that you forced them underground. When you did so, you probably sent your innovation down there as well.

So don’t overmanage your people. Find people that can be inspired by what your organization is generally trying to achieve and, as much as you possibly can, let them take all of their passion, energy and inspiration and figure out how they can best put it to use for you. You will never know this as well as they do. So get out of the way.

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