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Drive to Innovate

I agree with the notion that to make your mark you need to not only do your job or run your business well, you need to innovate.  I happened to read an article at FastCompany.com yesterday that reinforced the idea called, “Thomas Friedman To United States: Innovate Or Else.”  One of the quotes that stuck out to me was:

Nor is innovation confined to the private sector. “The army’s on to all of this,” says Friedman, “their lives depend on it.” In an eye-opening interview, America’s top armed forces official, the future Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Martin Dempsey, tells Friedman that the need to innovate is eroding the hallmark of the military: hierarchy. In the past, “we would have said we want men who are physically fit, educated, and disciplined. Now, what we way is that we want someone who wants to belong to a values-based group, who can communicate, who is inquisitive, and who has an instinct to collaborate.”

I may have to pick up a copy of this when I get back to the states, but in the meantime I actually checked out a copy of Successful Innovation, by Michel Syrett and Jean Lammiman, from the library at my office park.  So far it seems to be making the case that companies need to innovate to stay competitive.  Specifically to quote the back cover:

Successful Innovation is crucial to a business’s competitive edge, even its survival, but study after study reveals that many organizations are failing to tap the potential of their staff.

The quick one sentence summary on the cover seems to agree with Freidman’s point above, but the book was written 10 years ago.  I don’t think that these writers viewpoints have gone unheard, I believe almost everyone understands the need for innovative ideas and people; however, I think people fall into the trap that Nilofer Merchant writes about in her post on the HBR Blog Network.  She writes that people are often afraid to speak up and put forth the ideas that need to be said, the ones that are sometimes obvious and right in front of us but never get shared.  The difficulty is the same many teachers face in the classroom, how to get those students/members of your group to speak up and contribute.  To get over the fear of being wrong.  So I will end this post with the words she wrote to motivate us.

The silence needs to be broken. And perhaps risking being the fool is necessary to move forward. Underlying all that is courage — Courage to speak, courage to risk, courage to step forward rather than sit quietly. Courage to break the silence and when you do, the blind will see, the different viewpoints will be heard, and we can reduce suck-ness where we work.

Could it be….you’re ready to speak up?

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  1. April 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm

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