Innovation works when everyone participates. An innovative culture with a shared vision and a good team composition can channel energy and motivation and can be the base for a continuous stream of new ideas, solutions, insights and breakthroughs. Through participation tension is taken away and a positive flow is generated.
With the management team we make the initial question more concrete. Innovation and empowerment, ok, but where, and when, and through which concrete, tangible behavior? Together we define concrete result areas in which we commit to book progress.
Participation and empowerment happen in informal settings. A change in participating behavior happens peer to peer. To research this we map the ‘viral’ networks in your organization. Who influences who, who are the opinion leaders and what are the communication lines and clusters? This information is the starting point to identify ‘viral change agents’ as the core change team. In an initial intake we are able to map their core drivers and validate the result areas.
In a second phase we get things going by installing the core change team as an inspirational driver for their peers. By concrete actions and small experiments we let them shake a few things up, introducing on a small level and low-profile the desired result areas.
At the same time we act as an inspirator for them. We bring in new options and possibilities, broadening their scope and give them perspective on how they can create breakthroughs.
The goal is to get the ball rolling. When empowered participation becomes the norm we have reached a tipping point. At that moment we look at systems and symbols that enforce the change that is created. In order to create sustainable change, we also need to finetune this part, with possible consequences for recruitment, on boarding, training & development, compensation & benefits, etc.
With small experiments going on and awareness on the rise, we start building on organizational level. In close cooperation with the management team and the core change team we define key competencies to be developed and hard milestones to deliver results. In this phase we are almost literally building empowered participation: one competency on top of the other, to create a solid organization with a clear perspective.