Back in the days, only a few job sectors would populate the industry.
Soon entrepreneurs evolved. In an amicable environment, industries started expanding four folds.
Who would have thought a few decades ago about unconventional jobs. Jobs like Brand ambassador, technology and change evangelist, Innovation evangelist, mystery shopper, talent acquisition manager, life coach etc.
The landscape of almost all industries is changing. Especially of the industries like IT, Pharmaceutical, Consulting, Financial services etc. These industries are riding high on innovation and entrepreneurship. These subtle changes, when watched through the lens of history can amaze us.
The workplace has evolved enormously over the years. The evolution has striking similarity to the evolution of the human race.
Evolution is an ongoing process and Organizations are like organisms. Employees and resources (both tangible and intangible) act as organs, senses and limbs. As organisms have evolved over centuries, so have the organizations. The fittest have survived and the weaker ones have succumbed to pressure. The pressure of the outside world failing to evolve in continuously changing environment.
Innovation and entrepreneurship techniques
I present here few innovative techniques. These are being used at the workplace to enhance capabilities. It also fosters employee involvement and leads to organic growth of the organizations.
The root cause is innovation and entrepreneurship.
The “Yes, and…” technique of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Fastcompany suggests this in its article. The title of the article is “The Second City Way of Better Brainstorming.” The “Yes, and …” technique refers to what stand-up comedians do to take the kernel of an idea. They do through a sketch and make it pop.
Leonardo Da Vinci, the great artist and innovator used to tie a notebook around his waist. He used to write down ideas even if it was the most trivial or silly one.
With “Yes, and…,” an improviser blurts out an idea and someone else in his or her team builds on it.
‘Before Coffee, the ideas. After Coffee criticism’.
This was the mantra from Alex Osborn who phrased the word ‘brainstorming’. Creating an environment is crucial at workplace to foster brainstorming.
Discussions over a cup of coffee follows to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. Once the initial idea has sprouted from within the ecosystem of the organization, it is followed by some critical analysis and discussion. Coffee and brainstorming help immensely in executing a plan.
A few strategists have gone a step further by bringing beer into equation. An article comes up with scientific explanation on the positive impact of beer and coffee on ideas. Drink beer for big ideas and coffee to get them done. However, the hypothesis is untested.
Considering the work environment, coffee seems a good first step towards entrepreneurial ideas.
Biological prototypes for innovation
A lot of companies use Biological prototypes to get an idea of engineering solution. It is believed that Organisms are well optimized by evolution. Taking cue from this, organizations develop ideas to fight situations.
There are a lot of examples on how this process has helped innovation at work place. A famous example is of Cat’s eye reflectors which were invented by Percy Shaw in 1935 after studying the mechanism of cat eyes. He had found that cats had a system of reflecting cells. Cells known as tapetum lucidum. It was capable of reflecting the tiniest bit of light.
More successful examples can be found on Wikipedia (Bionics).
It is thus a good idea to think our organization as an organism. We can then look for solution on the basis of a prototype. Attaching a problem to an organism also has a fun angle. It gets people interested and attaching a metaphor to problem helps structuring of ideas.
Random Input for innovation and entrepreneurship
It is useful when a fresh idea is required or new perspectives on a problem is needed. Random nouns are supplied by members which are then assimilated through brainstorming sessions. This is done to come up with an alternate view of the problem to arrive at a solution.
It helps in shutting the mind or diverging the mind from the key issue for sometime. It is then possible to converge the mind back to the core issue and come up with an innovative solution. Random inputs also help in spinning off new ideas.
This playful act of innovation and entrepreneurship involves hats of various colours. Each colour is assigned an attribute like wisdom, truth, negativity, critique, rational, entrepreneur and so on. Beholder of the Hat of a colour makes sincere efforts to perceive an issue or situation.
It is done according to the attribute assigned to the colour. Hats are then swapped to get a plethora of diverse recommendations. Six hats of innovation are common in the industry. Green represents creativity and unconventional thinking. White represents facts while red symbolizes emotions. Yellow signifies rationality while black is opposite to yellow. The blue hat is the entrepreneur to switch and change route of discussion.
Related article- 6 Thinking hats for innovation and creative communication.
Here is a short video on how the perception on creativity has been changing. Organizations are evolving riding on innovation and entrepreneurship. One of my other articles takes strategic view on Innovative plans for business growth.
This short video intended to promote innovation by New Zealand gives a flavour of how innovation is a key driving factor in employee motivation. It also describes the role of innovation as facilitator of positive change. Innovation not only drives one organization or one employee but it influences the whole country. Instead, the world is united by novelty and creativity.
The modes may vary but the real aim is to push our mental faculties to shift from equilibrium in order to come up with innovative ideas.
Innovation and entrepreneurship at workplace is to create an environment for continuous evolution and reshaping of organization. It is a key to be ahead of competition and to create a blue ocean for ourselves. May it be human beings or organizations, Darwin’s theory on ‘Survival of the fittest’ still seems to be in force.