Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.
Respond by Day 5, to two or more of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
- Select a question offered by your colleague that he/she did not use and suggest potential ways that your colleague or the organization might drive innovation and overcome the barriers and status quo.
- Compare your colleague’s findings to those of others and your own. If you see similarities, explain why the status quo might appear similar across different workplaces and industries. Do not limit your responses solely to budgetary or resourcing constraints.
- Identify any challenges at a colleague’s workplace that seem unique or that you have not encountered before. Offer your ideas about why you think those are important and which discovery skill from Dyer, et al., would best enable your colleague and/or the organization to drive innovation and overcome the barriers and status quo. Be sure to provide your rationale for your choice.
- Offer your insights to your colleague about the value of this process and importance of using it to identify opportunities for innovation or opportunities to challenge the status quo.
Ten Questions that challenge the status quo at my current workplace:
1. What if we allowed customers 24/7 access to our model homes, would this increase our sales?
2. What if started a program that allowed customers to stay for one night in our model homes so that they could get a feel for the home (see if it’s a good match)?
3. What if home loans were easier to get and builders covered more costs for the customers?
4. What if my organization stopped focusing intensively on the sale and more on the actual customers’ needs as a homeowner?
5. What if all employees tried to help one another versus helping themselves? What affect would this type of partnership have on the company and its customers?
6. What if we built more than the traditional clubhouse, pool house, and common areas in our communities? What if we offered something that isn’t common such as a community go-kart track or skating rink?
7. What if we decorated the exterior of our central office, including our showroom, in themes each week to excite and attract customer’s attention? Imagine the word-of-mouth advertising we would generate.
8. What if we built a home for the local homeless people to stay in and take up donations for them to get back on their feet?
9. What if we gave one house a year away to someone in need? This type of generosity may attract customers who can appreciate us giving back to the community.
10. What if washed people cars, cut their grass, take out their trash, etc. in exchange for a donation to a local charity?
The one question I chose is #5: “What if all employees tried to help one another versus helping themselves? What affect would this type of partnership have on the company and its customers?”
This question is important because there is more strength in numbers meaning the more people collaborate, the greater the chances of success. Our team is currently divided, and we all have different agendas. This type of division poses a barrier to innovation because it lacks the essential ingredient needed to foster innovation which is teamwork. If we could master working together as a whole, it would challenge the status quo by helping us to learn to share our ideas. Exchanging ideas with one another could lead to the production of creative strategies that will propel the company forward.
In one of our resources this week, we see that there are five discovery skills: “associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking” (Dyer, Gregersen, & Christensen, (2009). The skill that will enable my organization to encourage innovation and overcome creativity barriers is networking. Networking and sharing information amongst each other occurs simultaneously. Therefore it is imperative we work on developing this skill. “Devoting time and energy to finding and testing ideas through a network of diverse individuals gives innovators a radically different perspective” (Dyer, et al., 2009). The status quo challenge question I chose is important because it is imperative to focus the teams’ efforts towards collectively testing solutions for our current problems. If we do not join forces, this poses as a barrier because there will be a lack of diversity during the creative thinking process. Networking and sharing will challenge the status quo of my organization by taking a bunch of different viewpoints and applying them towards obstacles.
I will take my current employer, which is one of the largest consulting organization. I noticed that it is pretty difficult to challenge status quo of the organization, where your duty for the past years is to challenge your own and clients status quo.
I came up with the following list of questions:
- Why don’t we use digit channels to reach out to our customers? Or allow them to reach out to us?
- Bringing innovation to every pitch? (e.g. taking robot to driver proposal pitch, or doing it in VR) I’m sure customers will get excited, despite the contents.
- Allow AI (Artificial Intelligence) with help of available business do an initial screening of the client and help decide if we shall bid or not?
- Remove/ minimize all overheads in the radical, but democratic way? Why do we need an office to operate? All piles up to significant percent and eats from our income. Give me the option to put this percent to the pocket and I will never be in the office, but still commit to result.
- Allow followers to decide on leader and leadership style they want to experience more openly? They will be more motivated to work their way, then somebodies. Less friction in my view.
- Why not pursue new niche? A lot of small/micro businesses just can’t afford consulting services. Why not come up with the offering for them? They will grow one day… Hopefully J
- Why not to partner with highly potential start-ups? Assist them managing their business, but on revenue percentage basis. We can link our performance and contribution to their revenues.
- Open source our ideas and concepts? We have lots of unique methodologies and concepts.
- Crowdfund some of our ideas and social responsibility projects? I think this might be an interesting way to spin our image and impact further. We can grab lots of attention just through crowdfund. For Example, we can take education sector, identify people concerns into it (e.g. kids’ safety) and pursue change with Education Council, by helping them draft new regulations. This can come at no cost to the government, and may have a great impact on society. Who will fund? What about you on Kickstarter? I think this has potential and seems to be something new.
- What if we just automate some of the services we provide? Think of audit process, it is very linear. Basically, there is an information that you need, a checklist to complete and observations and recommendations to come-up. Can I create fairly automated service, so that anyone can subscribe to it and do an automatic audit? Or maybe do real-time assurance?
I’m a big fan of open sourcing, my experience with this started with Linux and Unix operating systems back in the early 2000s. I was fascinated how flexible it is, you can assemble anything you want and make it work the way you want. I played a lot with it and got really excited by the amount of support information and diversity of the communities available for this. After some enterprise IT experience, I realized that things get resolved much faster with open platforms than through best-in-class enterprise agreements of Microsoft. I like how week reading describes open-source innovation as “ability to tap the passion and ingenuity of thinkers” (Amabile, Khaire, 2008,p.4).
When I look into the modern research techniques and the amount of reading that we do there is a clear pattern in it. The author shall base all his thinking on previous, scientifically accepted researchers and information. This is all open and often public data. What about corporations and consulting firms? There is an enormous amount of information and breakthrough generated and proven by such firms. Imagine if everyone had access to this information and/or could contribute? In my view, this would help to mature methods of the organization, solicit cool and interesting work from potential clients who came to your knowledge base. Certainly, this also presents a challenge of losing the sense of exclusivity in the area. This also forces you to beef up your other value proposition area. From the other side, imagine how many more minds will open up to improvise on what you previously considered to be your intellectual property. Things will just further polish and emerge at no cost. In fact, you can even get money out of it, just like everyone does it on the internet, through an online advertisement, maybe some of your partners. What if I offer you vendor technology solution that can perfectly fit into the framework that you are exploring on my website. At the back-end, I can have a commission from the vendor. Wikipedia is a good example of successful open source status quo challenge (Amabile, Khaire, 2008,p.4). Another example, that I’m aware of is Facebook’s Data Center and IT Infrastructure open source project called Open Compute Project. This has started as an open library of the reference architectures and design drawings sponsored by Facebook. Today there are thousands of the enthusiast working on this. What is the benefit for the Facebook? They simply innovate at no cost for design.
Questioning discovery skills suite me very well. This is probably because I do it every day with my clients, colleagues, family. I like to challenge assumptions or what is considered usual, this is part of my personality. This often opens up a large number of possibilities that people might not have explored and creates an opportunity for ideas to pitch and be heard. Just what I want to secure my next meeting with potential client or prospect. I want to get him/her excited about it as well. I like how Marc Benioff described his breakthrough by questioning entire software upgrade lifecycle (Dyer et al, 2009, p.4). Look what happened shortly after. Entire IT industry got disrupted by the concept of Cloud computing. As you may see, this works for me and for the industry. I actually like all of the skills described in the reading material and they all make sense to me. I picked questioning as a very effective way to break the ice with people I meet, this presents a greater opportunity to me to achieve desired outcomes.