Innovation is not a lonely activity.
Praise everyone who helps innovate in your company.
They can be found in unexpected departments.
In the case of philosophy innovation, Collin Randall, in one of his greatest books, tells us about the need of a great network:
“In all of world history there are only three significant philosophers who will fill this description [being intellectually isolated]: Wang Ch’ung in China; Bassui Tokusho in Japan; and Ibn Khaldun in Islam. All are secondary figures in the influence they have exerted in the history (…)”
The same would apply to innovation in the corporate world. Innovation is not a lonely activity. However, when reading that paragraph, it made me think about the praise that happens after any successful innovative project, quite far from the philosophy world, in the corporate world.
Often, the most visible individual in an innovation project gets all the congratulations. We all know that it is good leadership practice to include, when giving praise, everyone that worked in the project.
Most people that were involved in the prototyping stage can be identified easily. It is often a very clearly defined team.
However, it’s not so for the ones that could spark the creativity stage.
Take your time to investigate what was the trigger of that innovation. It was probably well before the project started. For instance, it might have come from something that the receptionist told one morning to the Chief Engineer. In such a case, praise the receptionist. On one side, it’s fair. On the other, you might encourage the same process to happen again.
Take your time to discover those “spark initiators”. It is not easy, but it’s worth the effort.
Almost no innovation is the work of just one individual. When praising some innovation that has happened in your corporation or enterprise, compliment everyone that had some input into it.
- The sociology of philosophies. Randall Collins (2000). Harvard University Press.
- “iinnovation”, Begins With Two Eyes
- What Type Of Professional Network Fosters Innovation?
- The Click Moment That Helped Windows To Survive
- Diversity Of People Propels Your Innovation
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