A Brief Exercise to Spur Innovation on Your Team
Unfortunately, many companies, even those with innovative histories, struggle to keep up with the torrid pace of change in their industries. Established businesses have trouble innovating for many reasons, including siloed structures, fuzzy strategies, inadequate talent, and not enough funding. “Softer” factors also come into play, for example, a team or corporate culture that fails to give employees the time and space they need to think creatively.
To overcome these hurdles, one of the tools is a group exercise called the “change notebook.”
At your next team meeting, pull out a pad of paper, turn to an empty page, and divide it into three columns. Each one corresponds to a question relevant for innovation:
“What is the existing practice/the recipe for success/the way we’ve always done it at our organization?” Jot your thoughts down in the left-hand column, including the key beliefs or assumptions underlying the practice. Then look critically at each of them and ask yourself if any are on the verge of becoming anachronistic or obsolete.
“What market shifts, external forces, or technologies might threaten the elements of our operational status quo?” List these in the middle column.
“What can we do about these impending disruptions you’ve uncovered?” For each one, use the right-hand column to note some preemptive action you could take. Sometimes you’ll want to tweak an existing practice to render it “disruption-proof.” Other times you’ll need to toss it out and start from scratch.
As you experiment with the change notebook, you’ll find that your team members become progressively more comfortable exploring new ideas, including those that conflict with the status quo, and taking action to deal with looming change before it catches them unawares. Don’t just do the exercise once and forget it; make it a regular part of your team’s workflow.
To read the full HBR article, please click here.