I know I felt that way at first as I argued with myself (my gator brain!) about the value in using illogical means to generate new and novel opportunities and ideas. I’m so over that feeling now because, well…frankly, I have experienced the value of doing so over and over again and have now gotten very comfortable ‘being out of my mind’. Hint: Training helps!
If you are responsible for building capacity for innovation at your organization, then the #1 challenge you face rests in the minds of your workforce. It’s no small feat getting people comfortable feeling uncomfortable with the temporary sense of being out of their mind. I’ve had many conversations with people over the past 15 years – from rocket scientists to engineers to CEO’s to Marketing VP’s being the most challenging to convince – that sometimes there is a need to suspend logic to get to a new / creative solution or opportunity. As Edward de Bono has proven, all valuable ideas are logical in hindsight but are undiscovered with normal logical thinking. People come around once they have a ‘safe’ process to use to think in unchartered ways, paired with a method to calm their ‘gator brain’. The ‘gator brain’ is biologically predisposed to attack anything new (hey, this gator brain kept us safe for a long long time, we trust this voice. Right?) Knowing when to suspend the gator and when to listen is more than insight – it’s a process.
So, what can you do? Start by assessing the people skills, innovation systems and current culture / environment at your organization. And, don’t sugarcoat the challenge, if you are really talking about building capacity for innovation, a 2 hour meeting or a 1-day training program for a handful of people is not capacity building. Look at the 3 year window and break-it-down into quarterly strategies that you can shift as the global landscape changes.
Remember, the gator brain is here...ready to attack the thinking at your organization. You may feel you are alone trying to direct the change that needs to happen to help your organization be more agile, innovative and successful into the future. You are not alone. Keep reading the Innovative Brain, dig into our archive of educational newsletters, and view our irreverent videos – click here for our latest. All great change requires tenacity.