Lots of recent press on how to enable corporate innovation has touted that the first step is to “free up” 10% of employees’ time so that they can have the “space” they need to create and pursue ideas and opportunities.
We think a little differently. To drive innovation, corporations need to develop the art and science of entrepreneurialism inside their walls. When employees are enabled with the knowledge and competencies/skills to be entrepreneurial, and leadership embraces and models smart risk taking, innovation will happen across the organization. Ironically, the 10% they’ve been trying so long to “free up” will suddenly become obvious, as employees make better use of their time, prioritize, build and leverage networks to get work done more efficiently.
The problem we see today is that leaders are working hard to outsource work, find efficiencies and delegate tasks to free up time. But, once those 4 hours a week are freed up, employees don’t know what to do! They may not be skilled at coming up with ideas. They may not understand the importance of building relationships and networks to help fuel ideas. They may not actively pursue learning by reading books, blogs, articles or by connecting with experts. They may not feel empowered or motivated to pursue opportunities. They may have an idea, but not understand how to activate it.
We want to challenge organizations (companies, non-profits, departments/teams) to learn, teach, expect and reward the art and science of being entrepreneurial as the key enabler of innovation. When leaders enable learning and the application of the knowledge and competencies/skills of entrepreneurship, they’ll unleash the talent and passion in each individual, drive stronger retention, and reap the rewards of meaningful innovation.
Photo licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 via Flickr user: Ryan Somma’s photostream
The Garage Group teaches and enables corporate teams to innovation like startups with fast, agile and effective approaches to insights and ideas. Contact us for more information or to discuss your innovation challenge.