What do you do to promote an innovation culture?

Organisations need to innovate, or die. Even more so in today’s climate of continuous technological development. Human performance development is also catching up with the technology boom now. Many organisations are realising that the people within them are the greatest asset they have, and through their collective minds will create the future for the organisation.

So, where do you look to innovate within your organisation or team? More often than not, organisations like to create a neat little department and call it an “Innovation Hub” or some other ghastly modern equivalent in order to appear innovative. The problem with this method is that often, the people in that department are compartmented away from the remainder of the organisation so that they can let their creative juices flow. This usually has the opposite effect.. If people are penned in and encouraged to be creative, then it often becomes significantly harder to actually do the only thing that they are required to.

Instead of creating a singular department for innovation, why not allow the entire organisation the freedom to innovate? Encouraging all members of your team to be creative and take ownership for the future of the organisation can lead to astounding breakthroughs and perhaps the next big thing for your team to be successful.

Let me tell you a story;

Deep within the Amazon rainforest, there lives a small group of monkeys. The local tribe called them the “Macadamia monkeys” because of their love of the macadamia nut. The monkeys apparently go wild for the nuts and will do anything to get their hands on them.

The local tribe like to hunt the monkeys. They say their meat is the most succulent and full of flavour because of the nuts that they eat. The monkeys are clever little souls though and often hide in the tall trees within the forest to increase their chances of survival. The only problem with this is that the macadamia nuts fall to the floor of the forest and they have to go down to gather them all up so that they can feast on them. In doing so, they risk capture from the tribe and therefore have started to only go down to the forest floor during the hours of darkness.

Increasingly frustrated by the monkey’s ingenuity to evade them, the local tribe formulated their own special plan in order to capture the monkeys. They use the golden coloured mud from around their camp to mould special pots. They shaped the pots specifically and secured a link chain to the bottom of them. The tribe then went out into the forest, where they knew the monkeys were, drove a stake through one end of the chain link to secure the pots to the ground before placing a handful of macadamia nuts inside and walking away from the area.

The trap was set. The monkeys, their senses far superior, could smell the nuts from a mile away. The smell was so strong it took all of their collective discipline to wait for nightfall before they descended the trees and went to harvest their food.

The tribe had laid in wait, far enough away as not to spook the monkeys but close enough to react to the inevitable. As the monkeys approached cautiously, the smell of the nuts became stringed, as did their desire for them. The monkeys slowly placed their hands inside the pots, collected the nuts in their hands and tried to pull them out. The problem was that the pots were not big enough for a fist to be removed. In an attempt to pull their closed fist out containing the nuts, the pots were raised off of the ground and yanked on the chains that were securing them to the floor. This noise alerted the waiting tribe that their traps had worked and they all started to close in on the trapped monkeys.

The monkeys were faced with a choice. The harder they pull, the more noise they made, but they could almost taste the nuts they were that close to getting what they wanted. They could see the safety of their homes high up in the trees and were aware of their enemy moving faster and faster towards them.

Their dilemma; to hold on to what they desire most at that time, or to let go and live to see another day.

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