Innovation Perspectives – Connect and Reward

This is the tenth of several ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles we will publish this week from multiple authors to get different perspectives on ‘What are three specific actions that a non-innovative company can take to become more innovative?’. Here is the next perspective in the series:

by Meri Gruber

Innovation Perspectives - Connect and RewardNo company is completely non-innovative – all companies innovate, they just don’t know where and how. Companies should look to the advice of authors Chip and Dan Heath in “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” to build on small successes and become more innovative. Look for bright spots, where innovation is happening:

1. Find the bright spots.

Ask the bright-spot question: “Where are we innovating today and how can we do more of it?” Too often our focus is on what isn’t working, what the Heath’s call “archaeological problem solving.” Switch instead to “bright-spot evangelizing.”

2. Connect your people

Employees are innovating all the time. They find creative ways to get their work done, to meet a deadline, to help a customer. But these innovations seldom travel beyond the individual employee or department. Connecting your employees and your customers with a social business network spreads the influence of your bright spots.

3. Reward Collaboration

Reward collaboration not competition. Innovation happens through an exchange of ideas. Bright spots will hide if employees perceive they are competing in a zero sum game. Make sure your reward system recognizes the value of collaboration.

To be more innovative, just look for the bright spots of innovation and take concrete steps to do more.

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You can check out all of the ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles from the different contributing authors on ‘What are three specific actions that a non-innovative company can take to become more innovative?’ by clicking the link in this sentence.

Meri GruberMeri Gruber is a leading expert on business execution. She blogs on the intersection of innovation and business execution at

Meri Gruber




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  1. K. Stark on July 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Meri- Great article! One thing that I find vital to drive innovation and collaboration is to first define and communicate the core expertise that an organization already has mastered, and has a commitment to continue to support. This doesn’t have to include only technical areas of expertise, it could also include other functions, such as strength in consumer insights, and a position as a “partner of choice” for vendors and customers. Then, rewarding collaboration can be focused to enhance, augment, and identify adjacencies to this core expertise. The emphsis can also lead to honest communication to the organization on those areas where they not only don’t have core expertise, but where collaboration is highly desired (and will be rewarded).

    Thanks, Kevin Stark, NineSigma

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