Four Tools to Support Creativity and Innovation

There are four different types of innovation tools that we’ll describe here, including the design of the work place itself, practices that encourage and even enable effective collaboration, open innovation approach to connect inside innovation teams with outside partners and experts, and online learning tools that constitute the virtual work place. Separately and especially together, these can make a tremendous enhancement in the performance and the satisfaction of individuals, teams, and your entire organization.

The last element of the innovation formula is the tools that enable you, or support you, to produce better innovation outcomes more quickly. This is often a sensitive topic for small businesses, which generally don’t have the resources to provide innovation teams with big work spaces, generous travel budgets, and fancy prototyping tools.

As we were wrapping up the tour, however, one of the facilities leaders who had been our tour guide, and who had been with the company for decades, mentioned that while the new labs were certainly lovely, he noticed that something had been lost over the years. He remembered the early days of the company, which was started in left over Quonset huts from World War II.

The work place

The qualities and characteristics that make Quonset huts and skunkworks so useful is that they’re open, flexible, and no one is inhibited about messing around in them and trying something new.

Unfortunately, the architecture profession and office furniture manufacturers have standardized on this utterly drab and uninspiring concept of what “the physical space” ought to be.

Tom Allen and Gunter Henn address this issue in their lively book about the design of offices: “Most managers will likely acknowledge the critical role played by organizational structure in the innovation process, but few understand that physical space is equally important. It has tremendous influence on how and where communication takes place, on the quality of that communication, and on the movements – and hence, all interactions – of people within an organization. In fact, some of the most prevalent design elements of buildings nearly shut down the opportunities for the organizations that work within their walls to thrive and innovate.

Effective collaboration

To create innovation requires that people engage in exploring new topics, understanding, diagnosing, analyzing, modeling, creating, inventing, solving, communicating, and implementing concepts, ideas, insights, and projects. These attributes are all facets of “learning,” and any organization that thrives in a rapidly changing environment has surely encouraged its members to learn and to apply active learning results to keep up with external changes. Read more at >>

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