Political smarts a cornerstone for innovation

Political smarts a cornerstone for innovation

Being good at negotiating office politics is more conducive to innovation than attending offsite workshops and “brainstorm islands” a visiting professor has told B&T.

Touring his new book, Innovation as Usual, Professor Paddy Miller (pictured) was in Australia this week. A Visiting Fellow from the prestigious IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain, Professor Miller challenges thinking on the importance of innovation within organisations.

“The real challenge of a corporate leader is to get other people to be innovative, and not just in head office, but in the far-flung corners of your operation,” said Miller.

Miller told B&T that the notion of going to an offsite to be innovative was all but a waste of time, when most marketing departments operated under a fear of punishment culture. “We’re going to celebrate failure isa stupid idea, when most organizations mete out punishment to people who make mistakes.”

He said that organizations would be better placed trying to bring innovation into the every day way of doing business. By this he means companies need to have focus, so that they can limit their ideation process to particular problems that need solving within an organization. “It’s easy to have thousands of ideas every day, but you need ask the question: so what?”.

He also said that good ideas needed to be introduced through a process of “stealth storming”, which was as much about understanding the political dynamics of an organisation as having good ideas. “Many good ideas are crushed before they get started,” he said.

He added that ideas needed to be secretly developed into actionable deliverables “under the radar” including financial modeling before they were put into a power point presentation.

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