BB9. Individual Creativity, Innovation, and Excellence

Above all, we know that an entrepreneurial strategy has more chance of success the more it starts out with the users - their utilities, their values, their realities. An innovation is a change in market or society. It produces a greater yield for the user, greater wealth-producing capacity for society, higher value, or greater satisfaction. The test of an innovation is always what it does for the user. Hence, entrepreneurship always needs to be market-focused, indeed, market-driven.

Peter F. Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

and the associated factors influencing individual innovation and creativity in an organization that is focused on achieving excellence in all that it does. Additionally, the model for individual creativity is presented and shown how it integrates into the model for organizational excellence.[1] Our premise is that this model contains four criteria for both individual and organizational innovation as follows: (1) The entire process of individual creativity is considered as a critical element in the process of organizational innovation; (2) There needs to be an attempt at incorporating all aspects of organizations that influence innovation; (3) The model needs to show all the major phases in the innovation process; and (4) The model will describe the influence of the organizational factors on individual creativity and innovation.


As outlined in this chapter, the initial problem faced by all practitioners and researchers is to be able to accurately define the terms “creativity” and “innovation” as they pertain to both individual and organizational practices. In fact, precise definitions of creativity and innovation have long been a source of dispute and debate among academic researchers (West 2002). Fortunately, ISOs Technical Committee 276 on innovation has acquired a consensus agreement on the definition of innovation. They define innovation as the introduction of something new. It often includes the development and implementation of a new idea, design, method, product, or service. Creative is defined as using the ability to make or think of new things involving the process by which new ideas, stories, products, etc., are created. Create is defined as making something: to bring something into existence.

Facing rapid technological changes and being challenged by emerging markets, the modern organization has to adapt quickly in order to maintain or increase their effectiveness - they need to innovate or evaporate.[2] Innovate or Evaporate by Jim Higgins explains The Innovation Quotient (IQ) concept is truly innovative in its own right and is worth the price of the book. For more details, see BB2 - Innovative Organizational Assessment.

The tools and techniques in Higgins book are organized around a four-step innovation methodology - define, discover, develop, and demonstrate. Within this scope, the development and adoption of innovations have become a critical determinant of organizational productivity, competitiveness, and longevity. Hence, it is not surprising that a major research effort has focused on variables that facilitate or hinder the development and implementation of innovations. One of our main reasons for focusing upon these variables and levels of analysis was the summary description of this whole project area itself. To quote from the homepage related to the project on “Innovation: The Need for Renewal”: “The fundamental unit of analysis is people in interaction with other people, within and between businesses, with businesses, macro-conditions and institutions as ‘enabling constraints’. The analysis at micro-level provides a basis for recommendations, which are largely situated at the institutional level” ( english/content.jsp?objectid=3949&pid=3947).

I sat down and made a quick list of some of the things I think about when I talk about improving the individual’s ability to be creative, and to transform that creative spark into a finished product. Probably the most important thing is their personal commitment to implementing their ideas ... The belief in what they're doing and their desire to contribute ... No innovator can wait for someone else to turn ideas into value added.

H. James Harrington, On Individual Innovation Excellence

The NSF (National Science Foundation) reports starting in 2005 and moving forward consistently communicate the findings of individual versus team innovation.1 Specifically, in particular, five umbrella research areas are identified as critical how-to pathways in helping the United States regain the lead in the process of individual innovation:

  • 1. studies that expand understanding of the cognitive mechanisms of innovation/creativity and the ways in which strategies and external tools influence these cognitive mechanisms;
  • 2. computational modeling and agents simulations of innovation/creativity that allow for theoretical development across levels of individual, group, and organizational analysis;
  • 3. empirical studies and computational models that explore the temporal dynamics of individual and group factors on creativity/innovation;
  • 4. interdisciplinary programs of research that coordinate psychology laboratory and design engineering experiments-,
  • 5. empirical studies that explain and unfold cognitive and social/ motivational factors of group cognition in more realistic group settings: including horizontally integrated across disciplines, vertically integrated (with leaders), and evolving group structure over long time periods.

While many books discuss the various aspects of corporate creativity, the fact is that corporations cannot imagine and think, nor can they come up with new ideas without the individuals that they employ. The common fallacy of innovation diminishing as individuals’ age is a fallacy and simply is not true. What may be the case is as one becomes older, we are the one that has more to lose. What this can directly translate to is the need for organizations to make it safer for individuals to be creative.

One company we researched and documented a few years ago referred to the innovation program as “prairie dog innovation.”^ When

  • 1
  • 4 Final Report from the NSF Innovation and Discovery Workshop: The Scientific Basis of Individual and Team Innovation and Discovery, Christian D. Schunn (University of Pittsburgh), Paul B. Paulus (University of Texas, Arlington), Jonathan Cagan (Carnegie Mellon University), Kristin Wood (University of Texas, Austin) August 2006.
  • 2
  • 5 On the hardscrabble lands of the American West, blood is spilled by the most innocent-looking of outlaws - the white-tailed prairie dog. These social rodents, native to Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana, ruthlessly bite and thrash Wyoming ground squirrels to death, leaving their bloody bodies to rot, a new study says. The killers' offspring then live longer, healthier lives - probably because their parents bumped off their competition for food. It’s the first time that a herbivorous mammal has been seen killing competitors without eating them, suggesting that a plant-based diet doesn’t preclude mammals from having a taste for bloodsport.

I contacted them and asked them to explain this, they outlined the concept as follows.

The company had a very public program to solicit innovative ways to deliver healthcare to patients. They wanted new products, better ways to do things and ways to connect with customers and fellow employees in new and novel ways. The problem was that employees’ felt like they were prairie dogs, and management was a guy with a shotgun. If they stuck their heads (ideas) out of the hole, they better be sure that it was a good one. If not, it was likely that they would get their heads shot off (fired, censured, reassigned, etc.).

In other words, management made it clear by their actions that innovation was only good when the idea was good. So, no one brought forth ideas for fear that it wouldn’t be the ideas that management was looking for. Additionally, in this particular organization, the individual responsible for starting and building a world-class innovation department was not promoted when it was decided that they needed a Chief Innovation Officer, as the position was filled with an acquaintance of the CEO, but it was a person who had no innovation-related qualifications.



The following is an extract from a recent documentary interview by Frank Voehl, Chair of the US TAG for Innovation and Dr. Jim Harrington, who is a Working Group Leader of Innovation Frameworks. We will use these

25 How-to Individual Innovation Action Items as a guidepost for the TIME Pyramid for the remainder this Chapter.

jim Harrington: Frank, you wanted some of my thoughts on the chapter you're writing on individual excellence. In this case we are talking about what we can do to help the individual be more creative and come up with more ideas that are innovative. The chapter before this we talked about how you do it with teams. Most of the real big breakthroughs occur by individuals coming up with ideas. 70% of our gross national product comes from small to midsize organizations. How do you get your wife, your son, yourself, be more innovative? How much more value-added are you and your spouse doing today than you both were doing 5 years ago. How do we get the individual to issue more patents? Shark tank is a good example of something that was effective at motivating individuals. It has been said that every individual sometime in their life will have an idea worth $1 million if they just implemented it. How do you get the individual to recognize an opportunity and motivated to the point that they mortgage their home to finance the development of her/his innovation? The following are some 30 ideas that I have; I'm sure you can add a lot more (in this Chapter). I hope this helps in getting started.

- H James Harrington, Innovation Author


The following are the Top 20 How-to Insights

  • 1. Providing the environment for personal development - opening the door to individual excellence
  • 2. Improvement-related training and experience.
  • 3. Job- and career-related training and experiences.
  • 4. Career growth training to boost personal Creativity.
  • 5. Rewrite all job descriptions including management - and understand the psychological foundations for make personal innovation a requirement in ever)' job. No more hanging up your mind at the timeclock.
  • 6. Developing individual performance plans and performance evaluation (appraisal). Provide a way so that his or her progress. We know of organizations that expect approved suggestions a month from every employee including the CEO.
  • 7. Use helpful Suggestion systems. Good tracking system and even better response.
  • 8. New employee training and Career-Building. If you Promote, rotate.
  • 9. Building a bond with your manager and your neighbor.
  • 10. Reinforcing desired individual behaviors.
  • 11. Cross discipline training.
  • 12. Turning employee complaints into profit.
  • 13. Getting ideas flowing.
  • 14. Empowering the individual closest to the customer.
  • 15. Self-managed employees.
  • 16. How to recognize improvement opportunities.
  • 17. How to evaluate the value of your ideas.
  • 18. How to perform Area Activity Analysis (AAA).
  • 19. How to excel in selling your ideas.
  • 20. Dealing with Empowerment: Setting personal excellence goals and award programs for individual excellence (quality, productivity).

How-to Innovation Insights #1, 2 and 3: In order to boost organizational creativity, it is critical that the organization provide an environment that includes Training, including Improvement and Job-Related skillsets.

Learning and technology go side by side, hand in hand. As high-tech innovations accelerate, so does the opportunity to create better corporate training programs and delivery methods. (Who is he/she?) As the president and CEO of one of the oldest learning and development providers in South Florida, I have learned that organizations need personalized training that incorporates cutting-edge technology, supports professional development, and encourages employee engagement. More than ever, training is effectively providing skills that match the way we learn in a high-tech world. The knowledge and skills acquired and applied by employees is shared freely in a learning culture, creating a sustainable and adaptable organization.

Management can help develop future leaders and managers as soon as new employees enter the door by providing mentors and helping them build professional networks. Improving your leadership development program helps you build teams that are agile and capable of evolving with the times. Think of using training clips on a YouTube channel, a classroom training session, a MOOC (massive online open course), or a post shared on Facebook Workplace as elements that can be turned into learning content.

However, there is widespread concern among recruiters that the soft skills gap is widening with the technologically savvy but soft-skill-poor Gen Z employees entering the workforce. Learning and development personnel can overcome this challenge by offering soft skills training to employees and encouraging them to refine their social skills, with gamification simply a process of building a progressive reward system into training that imitates modern video games. In many innovationbuilding environs, delivering training on multiple platforms, such as classroom, mobile, and on-demand, can help eliminate the time crunch for busy individuals involved with innovation. Oftentimes it’s about a high level of personalization, coupled with ongoing support and making the most of today’s cutting-edge technologies, which gives your innovators-in-the-making the incentives and social interactions they need to actively engage.

In addition universities need to change their curriculum providing the students with better insight related to the skills of opportunity they need to survive in a competitive environment. The need for great increase in the study work programs that prepare the student for the shock of real business. University curriculum and offerings need to reduce the emphasis on upper income jobs and start preparing curriculum that will provide individuals that will fall into the midrange salary bracket. More that there are immediate short- and long-term needs for employees with math and science degrees and is not being met by the University. University curriculum and offerings need to be restructured, preparing the students for entry-level assignments.

In addition to training and development, the package needs to include:

• Trust. Employees must trust management before they will share ideas with management. Employees must not feel their jobs or their future prospects will be threatened should they propose a bad idea. Employees must feel they will be rewarded for sharing ideas with the company rather than have their ideas stolen by the company.

  • Sharing. An environment that actively encourages the sharing of new ideas. Stop promoting people based only on what they know give equal consideration to what they share.
  • Good communications. Those that ensure everyone’s voice is heard, everyone can find out what is happening throughout the company and everyone can share ideas across the company. Everyone should be using the organization’s knowledge management system.
  • Evaluation of ideas. Individuals must be capable of grossly analyzing a specific idea and making a decision if the idea will be value-added.
  • An idea management structure. One that ensures good ideas are shared with the organization, recognized, and implemented for the organization.
  • Recognition. Likewise, it is important for companies to recognize who their creative thinkers are and to take advantage of them.

Creative thinkers can lead - or at least participate in - creative teams that review problematic issues within the organization and propose solutions. (I will look at creative teams in organizations in the future.)

How-to Insight #4: Use Career Growth Training to Boost Your Individual Creativity Ability

In the book Problem Solving for Results,' authors Bill Roth and myself discussed the need for shaping the right attitude and perspectives for creativity to flourish in light of the need for improving creativity in problem-solving in any business operation. Ten years later, on his seminal work on the subject, “Creativity,” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said that an

7 Problem Solving for Results, by Bill Roth, Frank Voehl and Jim Ryder, St Lucie Press, Delray Florida, 1996. Turbulence is not new to the entrepreneur in business world. In fact, the turbulence is increasing and managers are seeing teams spinning their wheels. But now there is a book that addresses these realities Problem Solving for Results. Management systems are in a state of crisis and operations are more complex. The old top-down operations mode no longer suffices. Today’s businesses demand speed and increased accuracy, forcing everyone to re-evaluate chains of command and tear down the walls between functions. Amid the responsibilities of traditional management lies problem solving. The push is toward moving decision-making authority down the ladder to all levels. Entrepreneurs are no longer equipped to or capable of making the number and variety of necessary decisions in a vacuum.



The 5 "How To” stages for problem solving.

effective career-growth training process in almost any type of problemsolving or opportunity-finding situation usually consists of five steps or stages. See Figure BB9.1.


The Innovation Systems Cycle (ISC) consists of three phases with 12-process groupings as shown in Figure BB9.2.

We’ve focused on these five steps and their associated tools, which are covered in our Innovation Tools Handbooks and the Global Innovation Science Handbook (GISH), to provide a clear and practical way for you to think about individual innovation and creativity, and to use these methods every day in your life. Over the years, we have seen as many as 20-steps involving a process for creativity often used with lesser impact and success than the five steps outlined above. We like the idea of five steps because - in the areas of creativity and directed problem-solving rules and steps - less is more.


Drucker says:

Effective innovations start small, not grandiose. They try to do one specific thing. It may be to enable a moving vehicle to draw electric power while it runs along rails - the innovation



Three phases of ISC.

How-to Insight #5: Rewrite All Job Descriptions Including Management - And Incorporate the Psychological Foundations For Making Personal Innovation a Requirement

Every job description should have a portion of it set aside that defines the assignment expectations related to innovation and what percentage of the total grading that it influences.

Understanding the psychological foundations for making personal innovation real can be divided into four meta-categories:

that made possible the electric streetcar. Or it may be as elementary as putting the same number of matches into a matchbox (it used to be fifty), which made possible the automatic filling of matchboxes and gave the Swedish originators of the idea a world monopoly on matches for almost half a century..

Peter F. Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

  • • Those used to improve the creativity and enhance the problem identification skills of the individual
  • • General techniques used to improve the creativity of groups
  • • Systems-oriented techniques used to work with problem networks or “messes” as systems scientists call them
  • • Tools used to specifically measure an organization’s productivity and innovation creativity IQ

Understanding the psychological foundations of individual and team innovative engineering design has taken on new urgency. A National Science Foundation-commissioned report from the National Academy of Engineering warned:

Leadership in innovation is essential to U.S. prosperity and security. In a global, knowledge-driven economy, technological innovation, the transformation of new knowledge into products, processes, and services, is critical to competitiveness, long-term productivity growth, and the generation of wealth. U.S. leadership in technological innovation seems certain to be seriously eroded unless current trends are reversed.9

Many individuals feel that patents is a good indicator of a country’s innovation capabilities. In 2014, China applied for over 929,000 patents. United States in 2014 applied for less than 579,000 patents. (See Figure BB9.3.) In other words, China filed for more than 60 percent more patents than the United States and, since 2014, all indications are that this significant negative difference has continued to get worse. What the data does not show is how many of the patent are the result of basic research versus applied research. China has set an objective to be the



Patents filed by country in 2014.

leading country in artificial intelligence taking the lead away from Silicon Valley.

A second NSF-commissioned study by the American Society of Engineering Education concurs, “U.S. engineers lead the world in innovation,” but “this great national resource is at serious risk because America has an engineering deficit.”[4] It is difficult to overemphasize the economic importance of innovative design.”

Furthermore, individuals high on openness to experience as well as lacking conscientiousness and agreeableness have been found to have a higher propensity to innovate in their job role, as shown in Figure BB9.4.

How-to Innovation Insight #6: Developing Individual Performance Plans and Performance Evaluation (Appraisal)

Sixty-five percent of total revenues for technology-based companies have come from “performance-planning products” that are less than five years old. Cross-national studies show a high correlation between patents per million and a nation’s standard of living. ' The Design Council (U.K.) found that companies known for innovative design outperformed the average Financial Times Stock Exchange Index by 200 percent from 1994 to 2003.

According to a 10-year research study, the results clearly showed that the top 25 companies with performance-based product development most often cited by papers as well as other patents far outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 from 1999 to 2013. These findings are compounded by the



Personal traits’ impact on innovation.

fact that an increased global competition is clearly threatening the U.S. Oeconomy and undercutting its competitive advantage, as indicated by the following facts:

In keeping with the job description, each person should have innovation and a portion of their total performance assessment. We recommend that this be a agreed-to target that both the manager and employee can agree to. Managers should have targets related to their total department innovation often measured related to inputs into the organizations knowledge management system.

How-to Insight #7: Use Helpful Suggestion Systems to Highlight Individual-level Antecedent Factors: Individual and Job Characteristics[5]

The term “employee suggestion systems” refers to a variety of efforts businesses make to solicit and utilize input from their employees in hopes of achieving cost savings or improving product quality, workplace efficiency, customer service, or working conditions. These efforts range from simply placing suggestion boxes in common areas to implementing formal programs with committees to review ideas and rewards for those that are adopted. The ideas generated can range from simple quality of work life improvements, like putting a refrigerator in the coffee room, to larger streamlining issues that can save the company thousands of dollars per year, like switching all salespeople’s cellular phones from individual contracts to a group contract with a discount vendor.[6]

According to the Amsterdam University Press, four key factors have been found to be predictive of work role innovation at the individual suggestion-system level-of-analysis: - Personality; - Motivation; - Cognitive ability; - Mood states.

In addition, job characteristics, for example the autonomy in ones work role, have been shown to be important predictors for individual innovation at the workplace. In early studies on creativity and innovation, scholars thought that certain personality characteristics constitute an individual’s potential to be creative and to innovate (Barron and Harrington 1981). Correspondingly, it was attempted to find measures to identify a “creative personality.” Contemporary studies analyze the relationship between personality and innovation in more detail.

As part of the bronze Metal Innovation Certification activities, a selfevaluation using a Herman Brain Dominance Instrument is used to measure the degree and potential of an individual that is studying to complete the Bronze metal certification level. The following is a typical output from 1 of these self-assessments. (See Figure BB9.5.) A one on one session is then held with a trained specialists to discuss long-term goals and activities that can help to improve creativity.



One on one session.

How-to Insight #8: Integrate New Employee Training and Career-Building = Link Resources to Personal Motivation

Learning and technology walk hand in hand. As high-tech innovations accelerate, so does the opportunity to create better corporate training programs and deliver)' methods. As the president and CEO of one of the largest learning and development providers in the United States, innovators have learned that organizations need personalized on-boarding and training that incorporates cutting-edge technology, supports professional development, and encourages employee engagement. In many books about innovation, you’ll find a number of interesting observations covering how to increase personal productivity in organizations, such as building new offices, adding a coffee bar, rearranging the furniture, moving the water cooler, or holding creative retreats.

While many of these ideas will perhaps help to improve personal creativity, the fact is that many companies that are doing the most innovative things have not changed a thing in their operating environments, such as furniture, color schemes, or cubicles. In fact, much of the innovation actually happening in the world isn’t happening in Silicon Valley. This innovation is happening in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG), oil and gas, and automobile manufacturing, just to name a few.

So how these companies get innovation of new employees? The answer is actually surprisingly simple. They allow employees to be unique. Organizations that force strict compliance with rules, change of command, and rigidity in everything they do, find that employees act the same way.

Entrepreneurs, by definition, shift resources from areas of low productivity and yield to areas of higher productivity and yield. Of course, there is a risk they may not succeed. But if they are even moderately successful, the returns should be more than adequate to offset whatever risk there might be.

Peter F. Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

If you’ve ever coached children sports, you know what this means. Simply telling your kids to play better does not make the site better. Instead, you practice and keep them to play better and when the time comes for games, you encourage them and get excited about what it is that they’re doing. Creativity and employees are similar in that you need to give them the tools, teach the most tools, and allow them to be creative. In a recent survey done by the IAOIP, of executives from around the world, we found that one of the most underserved areas of innovation is creativity.

But face it, all humans are becoming creative. This creativity is what makes us humans different than other animals in the world. This is how we are different when compared to the remainder of the animal kingdom. This ability to creatively solve problems is a natural tendency and part of human nature.

Unfortunately, however, creativity and innovation are often used as interchangeable terms or are meshed together as one concept; the difference between the two is an important one that actually helps us to understand each more fully. One way to understand the subtle difference is to think about creativity as a precursor to innovation. Creativity can happen without innovation but innovation seldom happens without creativity. Think about all the wonderful and creative ideas you have in your lifetime but have never turned into a product.

Now consider all of the innovations that you have come up with in your lifetime, and you would probably be hard-pressed to take creativity out of that equation. You might imagine creativity as a relatively random event. Innovation is the ability to organize these creative thoughts into new ideas, products, processes, and services for the real world. So, if you have a creative workforce that lacks the processes and systems to translate that creativity into innovation, all you have is a creative workforce.

How-to Insight #9: Build a Bond with Your Manager2"

Building a bond with your manager works both ways: Managers must also show enthusiasm and commitment toward the program if it is to generate the desired results. A small business owner might begin by sharing his or her vision for the company with employees to start the bonding process. Employees who understand the company’s overall mission are more likely to submit valuable ideas that will help build a better bond and help the company achieve its goals. The next step might be to make sure line managers support the suggestion system and do not feel threatened by it. It is also important for managers to raise the topic frequently in meetings and incorporate the positive results of employee suggestions into periodic progress reports. Managers should also be encouraged to submit suggestions themselves, although they should not generally be rewarded for ideas that fall under their normal strategic planning responsibilities.

Some researchers have proposed that practices facilitating learning and knowledge transfer are particularly important to innovation. Some of the practices that researchers have studied include how organizations collaborate with other organizations, how organizations promote learning, and how an organization’s culture facilitates knowledge transfer and learning. And while some have proposed the importance of combining practices,

20 Individual innovation programs tend to be more successful when employees are encouraged to make reasonable suggestions within the parameters of their own work experience. "The real goal is to generate as many ideas as possible, and. over time, to improve the quality of the suggestions through feedback and encouragement,” Bell noted. It is important to develop a clear policy statement that covers all aspects of the suggestion program and make sure that both managers and employees understand it. If employees view the process as open and above-board, it will help eliminate any suspicion about how ideas are reviewed and rewarded.

there has been a distinct lack of empirical studies that have explored how these practices work together to facilitate learning and knowledge transfer that leads to the simultaneous achievement of incremental and radical innovation, what we refer to as innovation ambidexterity (IA). Yet, a firm’s ability to combine these practices into a learning capability is an important means of enabling them to foster innovation ambidexterity.[7]

How-to Insight #10: Reinforcing Desired Individual Behaviors

The results of this study make four important contributions. First, they demonstrate that the combination of these practices has a greater impact on innovation ambidexterity than any one practice individually or when only two practices are combined. Second, the results demonstrate a relationship between innovation ambidexterity and business performance in the form of revenues, profits, and productivity growth relative to competitors. Third, the results suggest that innovation ambidexterity plays a mediating role between learning capability and business performance. That is, learning capability has an indirect impact on business performance by facilitating innovation ambidexterity that in turn fosters business performance.

Therefore, creativity requires an unrestrained openness of originality that is not always in sync with the organization. When the organization can recognize creativity and see the connections between creative people, ideas, in the problems of the organization, then it becomes inspirational, useful, and enjoyable.

How-to Insight #11: Use Cross Discipline Training to Achieve High Levels of Personal Productivity

Understanding personal productivity requires us to recognize that creativity as a process requires that the organization recognize and harness it in a way that changes business. In the work of Arin Reeves, she describes research that she has done with dozens of individuals in a multitude of industries and professions. Specifically, she asked the questions of how to generate original effective ideas. She states that this requires:

  • 1. Diverse inputs/inclusive thinking
  • 2. Context articulation
  • 3. Divergent thinking
  • 4. Convert and thinking

How-to Insight #12: Turning Employee Complaints into Profit

The complaint is a signal that should not be ignored. When customers complain, they are giving your company a golden chance to fix what is wrong and improve your business. Why? Employees as well as customers act in their own self-interest, and they are in a unique position to tell your company the unvarnished truth - something your employees historically were unlikely to do because it might have reflected negatively on their performance or they may fear that you might “kill the messenger” rather than listen to the message. Just about every comprehensive study done on this subject points to greater success for companies that turn the negatives represented by complaints into positives.-

23 John Goodman did pioneering research on complaints through TARP, the company he founded in 1971. He showed that, while customer service is typically a cost center in most companies, it could be turned into a powerful marketing machine to drive sales, repeat business, and greater profits. His research showed that roughly 4 percent of customers (1 out of 26) that were “wronged” by a company complain. The other 96 percent (25 out of 26, or the silent majority) stop buying and tell 9 to 10 others within a week about their poor treatment. This means that a negative word of mouth pyramid averaging 250 is created. If the company is able to satisfactorily solve the problems of the 4 percent that complain (turn the negative into a positive), they will tell 6 to 7 others within a week that the company solved their problem and this will result in a positive word of mouth pyramid of 250 customers that say good things about the company.

Insight #13: Getting Ideas Flowing

Insight #14: Empowering the Individual Closest to the Customer

Great innovation brands start with great service cultures. And while great sendee cultures may start at the top management level, they focus on the front: they explicitly give customer-facing employees the power to go out of their way to delight customers. A huge part of this is giving them the right training without overkill, as previously described. Make sure that they know how to properly respond to customer issues without reading off a script. Instead of massive rule books showing what agents can’t do, have a few principles that focus on the goal: happy customers who tell others about their sendee experience. Then let your agents do what they need to do to make that happen.

This means letting your rmployees know what’s possible, and proving it. Many of those exceptional customer service stories we’ve heard about started with an employee who pushed the limits of the norm. Encourage your sendee agents to think and go above and beyond, and support them along the way. This is a major change from the “idiot-proof,” productivity-at-all-costs service approaches that many times we’ve all been victimized and turned off by. And the impact on innovation can be enormous.

While conventional thinking on innovation is far from settled, there are certain stereotypes that typify a creative thinker. Examples include your behavioral differences, cultural differences, differences in education and intelligence, and natural ability to be creative. While we may imagine an artist as a naturally creative person drawn to a certain field, there are many artists such as those they create animation for movies, which may be doing it for the money. As an example, we know of several individuals working in film who are more attracted to the computer programming in the visual arts. If one were to view their work, they would think the opposite, that they were creative types who are forced to program. And while tempting to stereotype different groups of people such as Asians and Indians in the math and sciences, there are no shortages of “creative” in this space.

How-to Insight #15: Self-managed Employees via Self-organization

The model suggests that individuals with strong self-leadership will consider themselves to have more innovation and creativity potential than individuals who have weak self-leadership, and that individuals who have innovation and creativity potential will be more likely to practice innovation and creativity when they perceive strong support from the workplace than individuals who perceive weak support from the workplace.2'1

As Langdon Morris points out in his seminal work Agile Innovation:24 [8]

When this happens, argues Morris, a new revolution will occur, one that will affect every industry, not just the software industry. It involves a paradigm shift that was envisioned by Thomas Kuhn 60 years ago in his work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

How-to Insight #16: Learn How’ to Recognize Improvement Opportunities

Using the Innovation Lens Mindset, improvement opportunities abound, with the world being one big hammer, and innovation improvements being the stick of dynamite. The first edition of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions ended with a chapter titled “Progress through Revolutions,” in which Thomas Kuhn spelled out his views on the nature of scientific progress and how to recognize improvement opportunities. Since he considered problem-solving to be a central element of science, Kuhn foresaw that for a new improvement paradigm to be accepted by a scientific community, “First, the new (improvement) candidate must seem to resolve some outstanding and generally recognized problem that can be met in no other way. Second, the new improvement paradigm must promise to preserve a relatively large part of the concrete problem solving activity that has accrued to science through its predecessors.”

How-to Insight #17: Learn How to Evaluate the Value of Your Ideas

Learning how to evaluate the “value” of your ideas is the secret-sauce of innovation, and often challenges can build individual character and with organizations, it can bond teams, which enhances innovation and builds operational efficiencies. Many organizations have lots of ideas but


old data, move beyond the mere "puzzle-solving” of the previous paradigm, change the rules of the game, and the map directing new research leading to self-managing teams, among other breakthroughs.

27 In the second edition, Kuhn added a postscript in which he elaborated his ideas on the nature of scientific progress. He described a thought experiment involving an observer who has the opportunity to inspect an assortment of theories, each corresponding to a single stage in a succession of theories. What if the observer is presented with these theories without any explicit indication of their chronological order? Kuhn anticipates that it will be possible to reconstruct their chronology on the basis of the theories’ scope and content, because the more recent a theory is, the better it will be as an instrument for solving the kinds of puzzle that scientists aim to solve. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, p. 206. Discussed further in Weinberger, D. (2012). Shift Happens. Chronicle of Higher Education April 22, 3023

there is a lot of innovation wastage due to poor management of innovation at the corporate level, especially in the selection, implementation, and deployment phases. Achieving the innovation goals of high value creation (i.e., both in terms of returns on investments and competitive differentiations) in the face of uncertainty and associated risks requires using adequate innovation management system with appropriate measurement practices to guide the company along its innovation journey. These issues are so important that the International Standards Organization decided to develop a complete set of innovation management standards.

You cannot manage something unless you measure it is a summary of what Lord Kelvin said in 1883

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind ...

For individual innovation, as for most activities, success is predicated on proper management and progress measurements to enable better decisions to be made on progress achieved, what to change, and how to do better.

How-to Insight #18: Perform Area Activity Analysis

As Innovation Expert H. James Harrington wrote about in his 1998 book Area Activity Analysis,23 you need to align your workforce - to get maximum value from each employee! Are your organization’s management and employees in complete harmony, not only about how each activity’s quality and productivity are measured, but also about what is considered acceptable performance? Area Activity Analysis provides a methodology to align your organization’s mission, activities, and measurements systems so that each work team understands the critical nature of their output, along with each individual customer’s (and management’s) expectations. This comprehensive approach communications package shows you how to develop signed, documented partnership agreements with your Natural Work Teams’ customers, suppliers, and upper management that: define


See Area Activity Analysis Profile at end of this chapter.

each area’s purpose and activities; develop quality and productivity measurements for each activity; develop a performance standard for each measurement; gain commitment to the performance standard by employees and management; identify where improvement opportunities exist; and gain supplier commitment. Uncover and correct your organizational chain’s weakest links! Area Activity Analysis is the essential approach for ensuring that each employee understands his or her area’s overall mission, and which strategies will best measure and improve the employee’s performance in every activity. For details, see

How-to #19: How-to Excel in Selling Your Ideas

Chances are you are required, on a regular basis, to sell ideas. Time and again in my work as an innovation coach, I see that the ability to build the buy-in for our ideas is a key determinant of success, both internally and externally. How can you improve your skills in this vital arena? Here are six suggestions:

  • 1. Individual innovators need to realize that selling ideas is job #1. Far from being an after-thought, once the idea is ready for launch (or thrown over the wall to the marketing and sales team to handle) successful innovators know that selling is a constant need and never-ending requirement.
  • 2. Focus on benefits, not features. Will the new product or service that you have come up with save the customer time, improve his or her social standing, and solve a problem better than existing solutions? Every effective sales professional knows the importance of how to concentrate on such benefits. Prospective buyers don’t care how your product works, how many switches it has, etc., or anything else about its features, until they buy the benefits.
  • 3. Emphasize the role of persuasion. Innovators need to constantly emphasize the need to “win friends and influence people” internally and externally to the organization and its units. You need to work on communication skills and develop energizing, creative,
  • 1


briefings, descriptions, boardroom reports, etc. Also, focus on crafting messages so that people pay attention, and learn to make everyone on the team an idea evangelist.

  • 4. Test out ideas on skeptical individual first. Your friends are likely to give you the positive feedback you want to hear. But before you really decide to commit all out to an idea, try it out on your toughest critic. Humbly invite them to tear it apart, find the weaknesses. Then, see how you feel. If you’re still convinced you’ve got something, go for it. If not, you probably don’t have the fire in the belly to see it through to fruition.
  • 5. Speak the language of the people you are selling to. Effective idea evangelists find out as much as they can about the thinking styles of those they are pitching. Are they analytical, quantitative? Then provide numbers. Emotionally-driven? Come with anecdotes that convey your message. If “big picture” oriented, don’t bore them with details.
  • 6. Help others to really visualize your idea. Embrace the old adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. And the more others can feel, taste, touch, and, most of all, see your idea represented, the greater your chances of getting a green light. People don’t like to admit that they don’t understand, or that you’ve confused them. But as every champion knows, people don’t buy what they don’t understand.

The experts claim that we are now a country of skeptics because many people had lost their life savings. Several trillion dollars languished in money market accounts for the last 20 years, and now many people are naturally afraid of the stock market. Emotions about losing are much stronger than feeling good about investments increasing in value. Regretfully, they missed out in billions of positive stock market returns from 2009 to 2019. Like it or not, it might appear people feel the financial profession failed them twice, while Wall Street walks away with


There is an outstanding book on the subject of selling your ideas: The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics. It provides valuable insight into winning over the minds of those in America’s "Post-Trust Era.” Using relevant and modern case studies and experiences from his own life, author Michael Maslansky debunks many myths associated with how to properly advertise, and subsequently sell, ideas, products, and even yourself. By contrasting practices that have worked in the past with those that are more effective in today’s skeptical society, you can sell your ideas to the clients you serve and innovate with.

billions in government bailouts and the bonuses still awarded. People are not stupid, they are angry.

The solution: financial information must use language that people understand in the form of a story. From our research with many focus groups, the participants made it clear there are words that build trust and words that no longer work.

  • • Positive not risk. Risk is negative.
  • • Maximizing gains not minimizing losses. Loss is an offensive word, for good reason - 2008!
  • • Voluntary not default or auto-enrollment. People want to feel like they are in control.
  • • Costs and charges are preferred over fees. People do not like the word fees. They feel that they pay more fees everywhere they go, national parks, toll roads, etc.
  • • Financial security not financial freedom. Freedom is too vague.
  • • A portion of is superior to all or nothing. People want choices and control.
  • • Straightforward not transparent or clear. Transparent and clear might be too vague.

One of the most important messages of the innovation movement: The process of creating and selling products, services, and ideas has moved in a totally different direction, from the one-sided approach of the salesperson to one of being the customer’s advocate and educational resource of the trusted communicator.

How-to #20: Creating an Individual Empowerment for Innovation

The challenge with innovation is finding products and services that are easier to use, easier to maintain, and more appealing to customers. Where can you draw the creativity and drive to make this happen? Often the best source for innovation is the team within your business. A great leader can turn them into entrepreneurs who are hungrily looking for new opportunities. The key is empowerment. By empowering people you enable them to achieve goals through their own ideas and efforts. The leader sets the destination, but the team chooses the route. People need clear objectives so that they know what is expected of them.

They need to develop the skills for the task. They need to work in cross-departmental teams so that they can create and implement solutions that will work. They need freedom to succeed. And when you give someone freedom to succeed you also give them freedom to fail. Above all, empowerment means trusting people. It is by giving them trust, support, and believing in them to make relevant decisions related to their work.

In fact, it may be that certain people are trained to restrain their creative tendencies because of their job title, training, or background. For example, you may prefer to have your barista or bartender be creative than your CPA. Does this mean that people who are accountants are not creative? Before you answer that question, consider the fact that one of the authors of this book was a CPA in his first career. As an aside, the reason he left accounting was that of the rules and structures which did not easily allow for creativity. On the other hand, a tax accountant, especially for a large corporation, is probably encouraged to explore creativity within the law.


To summarize, it is of course possible that the nature of research may change, both in the directions of studying the process and the way innovation takes place. In the next five years, there will be an increase in studying the way innovative design takes place. However, first and foremost, we may have to learn how to work together in an effective interdisciplinary manner.

  • • Creation of interdisciplinary centers to study innovation/creativity; open solicitations in the science of innovation/creativity, graduate training grants (e.g., in engineering design), interdisciplinary conferences.
  • • Separate interdisciplinary panels should be created, rather than attempting to review or co-review this kind of interdisciplinary work within the traditional disciplinary panels.
  • • An increase in our ability to collaborate effectively and investigate the key issues. Funding and publication opportunities will be very important for growth, so within the next five years, the rewards for this type of interdisciplinary approach must continue to grow.
  • • In 10 years, there perhaps will be some significant impact on education, the economy, and the actual design processes.
  • • There may be some national centers for innovation research.
  • • In 20 years by 2035 or so, there will be new perspectives on how we can more effectively study creativity and innovation using a solid scientific and multidisciplinary approach.
  • • At that point, there will be a sophisticated community of scholars and practitioners communicating with one another regularly about this research.

Today is the starting point for this journey and the pathways are sure to be filled with excitement, along with some dead ends, and perhaps many unpredictable breakthroughs.

Overall, the approach for collaboration is to focus on design thinking as the common context to more clearly highlight the actual phases of the creative process. It is clear that at this time a multidisciplinary approach is expected to make significant progress because design thinking involves issues of motivation, problem formulation, evaluation, and phenomenology. Moreover, psychologists tend to focus on the process of working toward a given end state or goal while engineers tend to focus more on the outcome - the creation of end states.

There are rich areas of collaboration among the three disciplines as pairs or as a whole. Between engineering and cognition research areas include: effective strategies for goal-directed search, the importance of representations and how they change over time, cognitive mechanisms of creativity (including impasses and fixation), understanding analogy, understanding and development of methods and tools to enhance creativity, and ontologies (e.g., for functional reasoning) to enable better communication and simulation. (See Figure BB9.6.)

Shah and Smith propose a basic model, shown in Figure BB9.7.

In the above model, the goal is to combine the strength of the disciplines in laboratory experiments versus design engineering experiments. Fundamental innovation components and interactions are hypothesized, or observed, and tested within the separate disciplinary approaches, and are then correlated to form working models.


Shah, J., Smith, S., Vargas, N., Gerkens, D., & Muqi, W. (2003). Empricial studies of design ideation: Alignment of design experiments with lab experiments. ASME Design Theory & Methods Conference.



Collaboration between engineering and social science research. Some areas include studies of engineering teams, ways to build design teams that work more effectively, the creation of new ethnographic techniques, and the impact of disciplinary cultures on creative design.



Design experiments vs. lab experiments.

Initial results of this model are promising yet challenging. Great potential exists to identify the fundamental components and interactions, where the alignment and collaborative spirit of the disciplines are the catalysts. Historically, the study of groups has been the domain of social rather than cognitive psychologists. Recently, progress has been made to show that many of the basic theoretical pieces of individual cognition can be applied to complex group setting. But there remains emergent processes by which the group is more than just the sum of the parts, and these emergent processes involve a rich interplay of cognitive and social/motivational factors.


Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the Wild. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity,” Drucker wrote. “Efficiency is doing things right, and effectiveness is doing the right things.” What’s true for individual managers is also true for organizations, which often squander time and resources trying to improve processes for products not worth producing. The solution? It was Drucker who first suggested that choosing what not to do was a decision as strategic as its opposite. Drucker’s theory of “purposeful abandonment” exhorted business leaders to quickly sever projects, policies, and processes that had outlived their usefulness.

The first step in a growth policy is not to decide where and how to grow, it is to decide what to abandon. In order to grow, a business must have a systematic policy to get rid of the outgrown, the obsolete, the unproductive.


The Wisdom of Peter Drucker from A to Z. Known widely as the father of management, Peter Drucker formulated many concepts about business that we now take for granted. In honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth, we take a look at Drucker’s contributions, from A to Z. By Leigh Buchanan, Editor-at-large, Inc. magazine. Source:

  • [1] JSTOR. According to the Amsterdam University Press, Chapter Title: Innovation and creativity in organisations: individual and work team research findings and implications for government policy Chapter Author(s): Neil R. Anderson and Rosina M. Gasteiger Book Title: Micro-foundations for Innovation Policy Book Editor(s): B. Nooteboom, E. Stam Published by: Amsterdam University Press. (2008) Stable URL:
  • [2] Innovate or Evaporate: Test and Improve Your Organization’s I.Q., Its Innovation Quotient by lames M. Higgins. Used as the criteria for selection for the Global Innovation Award, this book features questionnaires that allow firms to test their current levels of innovation in the areas of product, process, marketing, and management. It includes lengthy and numerous descriptions of the 49 characteristics of innovative organizations. 2 One essential point needs to be made at this introductory stage. Most of the research efforts by work psychologists referred to in the present chapter have focused upon larger organizations, usually on the basis of attempting to maximize sample size once access has been negotiated. Many of the studies cited in our chapter concern individual and team-level innovation in larger, often multinational organizations. The generalization of these findings to smaller organizations, family businesses, and the like can be open to question.
  • [3] Knowledge Management Excellence. Firms contend with increasingly knowledge-driven competition. Many attempt to meet the challenge by investing in expensive knowledge management systems. However, these are useless for making strategic decisions because they don’t distinguish between what’s strategically relevant and what isn’t. This book focuses on identifying and managing the specific, critical knowledge assets that your firm needs to disrupt your competitors, including tacit experience of key employees deep understanding of customers’ needs, valuable patents and copyrights, shared industry practices, and customer- and supplier-generated innovations. Knowledge Management Excellence (by Harrington & Voehl, 2005), contains world-renowned experts, cutting-edge research, and practical tools to help you identify and manage the many kinds of knowledge you and your firm can use to innovate. Other outcomes can be accelerated-organic growth, reconfigure your competitive approach to new and existing markets, target power-producing acquisitions, and forge powerful alliances. And, because an estimated 80 percent of competitive knowledge is not numeric, you will explore new strategies for identifying, developing, and managing talent.
  • [4] Engineering in the K-12 Classroom. An Analysis of Current Practices & Guidelines for the Future [|. 2 Within that scope, the so-called “big five’’ or the "Five-Factor Model” (see Figure BB9.1) of human personality plays an important role. In terms of individual personality types found in the applied research to be likely to be more innovative, the profile is not particularly surprising. Individuals with distinct self-confidence, tolerance of ambiguity, unconventionality, and independence were shown to be more likely to be innovative than individuals showing these attributes to a moderate extent. 3 Fagerberg, J., Mowery, D., & Nelson, R. (2004). The Oxford Handbook of Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 4 Shavinina, L. V. ed. (2003). The International Handbook of Innovation. Elsevier Science. 5 Ozgur, E. (2004). Effective Inquiry for Innovative Engineering. Academic Press. 6 Ulrich, K. T., & Eppinger, S. D. (2004-2014). Product Design and Development (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • [5] National Research Council. (1991-2011). Improving Engineering Design: Competitive Advantage. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. 2 Bilen, S. G., Devon, R., & Okudan, G. E. (2002). Forecast of core methods in teaching global product development. ICEE 2002, Manchester, 22 August. 3 JSTOR. According to the Amsterdam University Press, Chapter Title: Innovation and creativity in organisations: individual and work team research findings and implications for government policy, Chapter Author(s): Neil R. Anderson and Rosina M. Gasteiger Book Title: Micro-foundations for Innovation Policy Book Editor(s): B. Nooteboom, E. Stam Published by: Amsterdam University Press. (2008) Stable URL: www.jstor.Org/stable/j.ctt46mwvr.14. We are indebted to JSTOR, a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. JSTOR uses information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it Our use of the JSTOR archive indicates our acceptance of the Terms 8c Conditions of Use, available at
  • [6] “Companies that set up effective suggestion systems are finding that employees have great ideas that can lower costs, increase revenues, improve efficiency, or innovate for greater quality," said Charles Martin, author of Employee Suggestion Systems: Boosting Productivity and Profits. “Employees work both individually and together as a team, and often submit ideas both individually and as a team. And they begin to think more like managers, looking beyond the scope of their own jobs.”
  • [7] Managing the Exploitation/Exploration Paradox: The Role of a Learning Capability and Innovation Ambidexterity, Hsing-Er Lin, Edward F. McDonough HI, Shu-Jou Lin. Carol Yeh-Yun Lin. First published: 25 October 2012, https://doi.Org/10.llll/j.1540-5885.2012.00998.x. In this study, learning capability is defined as the combination of practices that promote bonding via intraorganizational learning among employees, partnerships with other organizations that enable the spread of learning, and an open culture within the organization that promotes and maintains sharing of knowledge among all levels with bosses. 2 If you believe the premise that creativity is separate from innovation, and you take personal creativity as a stand-alone topic, then you can begin to sort out creativity from the process of innovating. Creativity is another of those topics where there is much agreement but subtle differences in that agreement. The fact is that there is no universal way to define creativity that makes sense for all of us trying to understand it in the context of our own lives. A standard definition the creativity might look something like this, "creativity is the ability to create original ideas, connections, alternatives, or possibilities for effective in solving problems, communicating with others, and inspiring new and useful ideas and others.”
  • [8] Maximizing organizational leadership capacity for the future: Toward a model of self-leadership, innovation and creativity, Trudy C. DiLiello (Defense Acquisition University, Port Hueneme, California, USA), Jeffery D. Houghton (Department of Management, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, USA). The purpose of this paper is to develop and present a model of selfleadership, innovation and creativity. Drawing upon existing theoretical and empirical evidence, the paper develops and presents a conceptual model of the relationships between self-leadership, innovation, creativity, and organizational support. The paper also presents research propositions based upon the relationships suggested by the model. 2 See Agile Innovation references and book profile at end of this chapter. 3 Kuhn challenged the then prevailing view of progress in "normal science.” Normal scientific progress was viewed as “development-by-accumulation” of accepted facts and theories. Kuhn argued for an episodic model in which periods of such conceptual continuity in normal science were interrupted by periods of revolutionary science. The discovery of "anomalies” during revolutions in science leads to new paradigms. These new paradigms then ask new questions of
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