Investigate to Innovate: Part 2
We learned in our last blog Investigate to Innovate how critical it is to investigate and research to find solutions for existing business challenges. The question arises, how to find time within your busy schedule to research? As the saying goes, It’s not about “having” time. It’s about “making” time.
Start Thinking Inside the Box
We often hear the phrase “think outside the box”. In reality, when you are tied up with project deadlines and continuous delivery, it becomes practically impossible to spare time on anything other than your assignment. But there is room to innovate! Most of the time, we tend to search outside for ideas when we should be looking inward. The very first step is to investigate and find a solution to a problem that already exists; maybe it’s a process or tool that needs to be changed or simplified.
One of the challenges our team faced was managing feedback from reviewers. Feedback was pouring in from multiple platforms; emails, PDF attachments, cases, etc. We solved the problem by moving to a shared review tool. This unified the processes, and made it simple for everyone across the team to review and action feedback. We looked inside the box for an idea, and investigated outside to innovate.
You likely attend weekly team meetings. If you’re working in Agile, add daily scrums to the list. The missing link is the collaboration and brainstorming that needs to happen to truly innovate. As managers, we should cultivate the habit of scheduling brainstorming time. These sessions are a great platform to engage and involve everyone in a team and provide a forum to discuss ideas, opinions, and conflicts. It also increases the chances of generating new and creative ideas. Create an environment of belonging and openness, allowing people to discuss the topic anytime, anywhere to aid in cultivating new, creative ideas.
Lessons Learned Session
Innovation comes with the challenge of creating values from ideas. It’s crucial to constantly upskill, learn from the challenges and mistakes, and get comfortable with new tools, new technology, and new ways of doing. Lessons Learned sessions allow us to analyze and pin down what went wrong and what we can do to improve the experience for the next project. Research and innovate alongside your daily routine.
We need an ecosystem that allows ideas to flourish from conception to value. This is only possible if organization fosters trust, and gives you the chance to bring your ideas to life. Things that you need to consider include:
- What is your organization’s typical approach to risk, governance, and process?
- What levels of authorization do your managers feel they have and what sort of consensus do they feel they need in order to commit time or cost to develop innovation?
- Who are the motivational leaders in your organization that influence and encourage people around them?
Research is an ongoing activity that needs dedication and time. If we implement the above approaches and strategies, we can do an amalgamation of work and research. Thus, making it part of our daily regime, like our daily assignment or project rather than a dreaded chore.