A Path to Innovation
Our company promotes a worldview that includes an "open universe". This means that we are given the opportunity as humans to be creative as God is creative, but He also may intervene as it pleases Him.
In a "closed universe" worldview there is no God. Man is an evolutionary product limited to cause and effect, building on the foundations of the beings that came before and on the limited intellect passed to him or her.
In an open universe we have a path and purpose to innovation and are encouraged to be creative for the good of others and to the pleasure of our creator. And, while looking for opportunity, trusting and asking God for direction and vision.
I share this to convey innovation not as just an organizational priority, but a great opportunity and calling. Innovation is in our DNA as well as a gift. Innovation should be a part of the culture we promote to those with whom we serve.
Innovation is a very vague term, and if we are to encourage and measure it we must be more concrete about what it means.
We can identify three different types of innovation: incremental, evolutionary, and disruptive.
Incremental is small tweaks that help advance our business. We hope for this type of innovation from a customer service representative to a field sales person.
A recommendation to move a button position on a web page or the change of a phone prompt can quickly improve results. We must foster an environment of listening in order to get our teams to communicate incremental innovation ideas, and we must respond to good ideas by executing them quickly so employees know we appreciate and deliver on their input.
Evolutionary is different. This is large leaps in how a process or program operates. Our move from agency sales, to on-line sales, to aggregator sales is an example of evolutionary innovation. It also means an organization is able to change with the market or technology.
Disruptive is the most illusive of the types. Creating a new way of processing, reaching a market, or for example creating a new type of insurance coverage not known or offered as of now. If you enact a disruptive innovation, then your competition is forced into a position of having to evolve.
I looked to an example by CSAA Insurance Group with over 4,000 employees that is infusing innovation into their culture.
CSAA is holding innovation meetings within each of their departments and then within smaller teams. Problems or concerns that the team are facing are identified and then sharing ideas promoted. The best ideas are quickly implemented. This stems beyond just software needs, but into all processes and procedures. As we move to becoming an Agile company, we'll be able to move on great ideas.
In 2018 each of you will be responsible for integrating this into your department as a regular practice. Every member of the organization will participate in your "High Velocity Innovation" workshops. You'll be encouraging innovation that is incremental, evolutionary, and disruptive, and we will reward those who help us think creatively.
One of the reasons we are pushing to be a High Velocity Organization is to provide an opportunity for greater innovation.
Source Used: Harvard Business Review - Organization Culture August 15, 2017