Many of the speakers at the Co-Dev 2015 Open Innovation conference shared a common theme, the need to grow an Open Innovation (OI) culture within their companies. Numerous methods were shared concerning how to better focus an enterprise on innovation, to make innovation a strategic cultural driver, to secure senior management sponsorship for this shift in thinking/practice and to clear away common roadblocks to OI-driven organizational change.
I captured some furiously scribbled notes on these topics, while wondering what role Decision Driven® methods, tools and patterns could play as an accelerator of beneficial Open Innovation cultural changes. Here are some thoughts:
- Culture change is better caught, than taught. Even though it will be necessary to teach and promote OI principles across the enterprise to lay a foundation for change, the pace of change will be accelerated only by weaving new techniques into the daily fabric of organizational life. Blend in seamlessly, don’t bolt on another layer.
- Focusing the members of the organization on decisions is an ideal way to incrementally effect a change in culture. Decisions remove the emphasis from “who” (politically-challenging changes to organizational power structures) to “what” and “why” in a very democratic way. Decisions create a knowledge pull that reaches out to diverse sets of decision stakeholders and contributors and values their contribution based on the knowledge they can/will contribute to each decision (and not their job title).
- Decision contributors outside of the company are valued for what they contribute to the decision; there is no artificial us vs them barrier; their knowledge stands on its own merits.
- Each decision offers an opportunity for a cycle of learning for the individual contributors and the organization. Frequent cycles of learning have a compound interest effect that “boils the frog” (culture change participants) before they can leap out of the pot.
- Decision Driven® processes are very lightweight; they focus on thinking content and quality without lots of process overhead, approval cycles, etc. This can reduce organizational push-back to new processes.
- Web-based tools like the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) can make the enterprise strategy explicitly visible to all team members as a Decision Breakdown Structure (DBS). This visibility invites collaboration and stimulates innovative thinking. Each decision (fundamental question/issue that demands an answer/solution) becomes a opportunity for innovation.
- Using the DBS as the Enterprise Innovation Framework reduces lots of high-friction hand-offs between stakeholders and prevents the need to design/deploy lots of new document-centric work products that make the culture change initiative seem heavy and unproductive. The focus remains fixed on innovative thinking that creates a better future. The organization becomes a lean, mean thinking machine without a lot of new processes to define, train, deploy and sustain.
- Leveraging decision patterns from the outset builds continuous improvement into the OI process. Each decision (when completed) provides an opportunity to harvest lessons learned and to improve the pattern. This is another compound interest effect that accelerates the pace of innovation/change.
I would love to help your organization accelerate your Open Innovation culture growth/change. Please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on starting a free DDSF trial.