Following coffee and a discussion today with Tim Malone on the issue of Innovation and innovative thinking it occurred to me that we are about 25 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to innovation and innovative thinking. In considering this I began to ask the question why?
Why are we, as South Africans not higher in world rankings when it comes to innovation?
Why are managers in South Africa so afraid of allowing their subordinates to be innovative and to express their innovative ideas?
Why do many of the CEO’s and GM’s of companies frown upon innovative thinking and stifle anything to do with creative thinking and innovation?
Why do we persist with the thinking that – this is how it has always been done and how we will continue to do it?
Why do employees shy away from putting new and innovative ideas forward?
The legacy of the past rears its ugly head again and we (managers) fail to realise that we suppressed innovative thinking in the past and made people feel they were not entitled to express opinions or to put ideas forward.
By the same token the feeling still exists that we are not permitted to go against management or to propose new and innovative ideas or solutions to problems because no one has told us it’s ok to do so. Many employees still live with the mentality of “suppression” – not out of respect but out of fear. No one has enlightened many employees to the fact that we live and work in the “New South Africa” and yes, it is ok to speak you mind and to propose ideas and solutions.
Innovation is intended to grow the seed of a new idea and allow for solutions to be developed and to grow. The culture in which you operate and from which you have emerged will play a most important role in the development of innovative thinking.
Innovation in the business world and by the same token in our daily lives plays a most important role in assisting us deal with Diversity, Change and Team building. Unless we all change our thinking we will not bring about any other form of change.
Opportunity does not just "come along" - it is there all the time - we just have to see it. Success is all around us - what is lacking is the ability to recognise and acknowledge innovation and innovative thinking. We live in the past and fear the future. It’s time to change our thinking, to develop and encourage innovative thinking.
Have you the ability to be innovative – are you innovative – are your managers and supervisors innovative? WHY NOT TAKE THE TEST
Des Squire (Managing Member) AMSI and ASSOCIATES cc