So many companies talk about innovation, and they try to put processes in place. I don’t think that works. I don’t think innovation happens at a desk - by someone structuring a creative brainstorm. Innovation is serendipity. It happens when people get totally new influences or ideas that come totally from the sidelines […] You need to be the unreasonable man in some circumstances. That’s how innovation happens. We try to get people from different disciplines to meet up. There’s a problem, for instance, in how Google hired until recently: they only hired via Ivy League schools. It’s wrong - not only because I myself never got in, but because it breeds a certain type of thinking. What you want is diversity - not just of gender or ethnicity, but you want diversity of thinking, of income levels, of educational backgrounds.
— Daniel Ek, CEO and co-founder of Spotify (from Wired UK Edition 0514)
You want to have tools to help employees get work done. Those tools are no longer the HR systems of performance management and compensation. — those don’t help to get your work done. What we’re seeing is heavy adoption of work management tools, task management, collaboration, file-sharing and so forth. People need tools to connect, to share knowledge, to build community and culture and, ultimately, to get their work done, which is about serving customers.

A start-up’s success is not gauged by earnings or quarterly reports; it’s measured by how well it identifies a problem in the market and matches it to a solution…But that’s not what life is like within a mature organization. When corporations reach maturity, the measure of success is very different: it’s profit.

Once a business figures out how to solve its customers’ problems, organizational structures and processes emerge to guide the company towards efficient operation. Seasoned managers steer their employees from pursuing the art of discovery and towards engaging in the science of delivery. Employees are taught to seek efficiencies, leverage existing assets and distribution channels, and listen to (and appease) their best customers.

Such practices and policies ensure that executives can deliver meaningful earnings to the street and placate shareholders. But they also minimize the types and scale of innovation that can be pursued successfully within an organization. No company ever created a transformational growth product by asking: “How can we do what we’re already doing, a tiny bit better and a tiny bit cheaper?”

Workplaces in general have paid a lot of attention to process and much less to people and too often employees are given managerial roles tied to success in a previous role, or as a reward for their tenure. It’s unrelated to whether they can effectively support and positively manage human beings.
— Dr. Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and well-being
Knowledge sharing is an essential component in the process of innovation. When we look back at the history of great innovations, we nearly always find that innovations do not come from a lone genius locked away from the world. Instead, they come from people who find ways to connect with other people and their different ideas. These people are able to take concepts, often in disparate fields, and combine them to form a new idea that is better than its individual parts. Google the history of the ice cream cone, the airplane, the cell phone, Velcro, the moving assembly line, and, of course, the Post-it, and you will find that all those innovations were created as a result of melding ideas from different sources.
— Spaceport Innovators: Knowledge Sharing as the Gateway to Innovation | APPEL http://t.co/5Iic8Vz0ko
The greatest danger leaders can face is isolation and an inability to keep learning. Most leaders agree with this in concept but, upon reflection, realize they are more isolated than they thought. For example, as you become more senior, your people are less likely to give you bad news or criticize you for your shortcomings. In fact, most of your colleagues are subordinates who are more concerned with making a good impression on you than trying to give you coaching. As a result of this, leaders need to work harder to seek advice and encourage debate and disagreement. In addition, they have to work harder to see clients as well as solicit advice and constructive criticism from those who observe them. In short they have to work harder to fight isolation and they have to make a conscious effort to keep learning.

The indus­tri­al model broke down work into its sim­plest ele­ments and linked it togeth­er in com­plex process­es. The knowl­edge com­po­nent was removed from work­ers and reserved for man­age­ment, while work­ers were pro­vid­ed with just enough knowl­edge to “do their job”…..

Break­ing down that model and restor­ing the knowl­edge cre­ation and shar­ing func­tion to all employ­ees requires exec­u­tive com­mit­ment to reex­am­ine busi­ness process­es, HR poli­cies, and IT infrastructure.

— Scott Beaty, Direc­tor of Knowl­edge Man­age­ment, Shell Oil Com­pa­ny, 2000 (quote found via Nick Milton)
Social / Open Busi­ness Adop­tion is hard. Well, it should well be. If not, what is the point? What’s the chal­lenge? Where is your vision? Where is the busi­ness value? What are your goals? Think of it, if social / open busi­ness adop­tion would have been real­ly easy most of us would have got­ten pret­ty much bored right from the start and would have moved else­where already. Whether we like it or not, we, social / open busi­ness evan­ge­lists live on the lag­gards, the crit­ics, the skep­tics. They are the ones who keep feed­ing us with their neg­a­tiv­i­ty, who make us stronger by putting up a good fight, the ones who makes us think whether what we do is worth while or not. In short, they are the ones who will make your adop­tion efforts a real suc­cess or just anoth­er IT project fail­ure.

The Internet isn’t really a technology. It’s a belief system, a philosophy about the effectiveness of decentralized, bottom-up innovation. And it’s a philosophy that has begun to change how we think about creativity itself.

The ethos of the Internet is that everyone should have the freedom to connect, to innovate, to program, without asking permission. No one can know the whole of the network, and by design it cannot be centrally controlled. This network was intended to be decentralized, its assets widely distributed. Today most innovation springs from small groups at its “edges.”

A man­ag­er recent­ly voiced his con­cerns: “Most employ­ees pre­fer being told what to do. They are will­ing to accept being treat­ed like chil­dren in exchange for reduced stress. They are also will­ing to obey author­i­ty in exchange for job security.” That is the way we have seen it: man­agers inspire, moti­vate and con­trol employ­ees who need to be inspired, moti­vat­ed and con­trolled. These dynam­ics cre­ate the sys­tem of man­age­ment and jus­ti­fy its con­tin­u­a­tion.

If we want to meet the chal­lenges of the post-industrial world, this rela­tion­ship needs to change. The work­ers chang­ing their role are often seen as a mat­ter of the extent to which the man­agers are will­ing to allow it and give up respon­si­bil­i­ty. In real­i­ty it is as much a mat­ter of how much the work­ers are will­ing to grow their (man­age­ment) capac­i­ty and take more and wider respon­si­bil­i­ty.