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But I’m not creative, how can I innovate?

This is something I hear a lot. Along with other excuses for not being able to innovate. “I don’t have the resources.” “I have never done this before.” “I don’t know how.” “Will this work?” And perhaps the most honestly, “what happens to me if it doesn’t work?”

I know. I have been there before. I was tasked with establishing a function within a large corporate. A CI function that had not existed before.

When I began, I was so excited, I was eager to get started. I was confident that whatever I didn’t know, I would soon figure out. I had been hand selected for that role.

That was until I realised the culture in that business (at the time) was not equipped with tolerating failure. Witnessing another promising project take a bad turn, signaled the end of the team in one fell swoop.

The closer I got to proving my concept (4 months in) the more nervous I became. Doubts began to creep in. Judgements from others, rattled me. Suddenly I felt that the decision was out of my control. To challenge me further, resources were whisked away from my team (first headcount, followed by budget – it was post-GFC).

“How can I make this function a success given what is happening?” I remembered asking myself.

I felt at a loss to know how to be innovative. How to keep this function viable, relevant and providing value to key stakeholders. I was servicing everyone from the Senior Leadership, Marketing, HR, Product and Segment Executives to Finance, Sales teams and Operations. It was a large remit to serve. Until my resources were cut, it was one that my team and I served enthusiastically. To remain feasible, I had to get creative.

With the help of my remaining team, we developed a way to continue to provide immense value and support to many with the limited resources we had. I drew on my inner strength and extensive experience.

Given the exciting nature of what I did, it wasn’t too difficult to find champions in key places across the organisation. This networked system I created was leveraged (using existing technology) to provide just the momentum that was needed.

Utilising this valuable network, I chose to focus on two strategies that would service our internal customers and achieve maximum impact. This focus was the difference between cementing the function beyond a proof of concept versus winding it up altogether.

The first strategy was to provide as many staff with the awareness and benefits of our service. Through a scalable solution with great flexibility, I was able to disseminate key information and insights to the broad network. Covering thousands of staff, salient content in an easy to digest format. Enabling people throughout the business to activate insights effortlessly into their work.

The second, was to explore key strategic issues for the executive team, informing key decision makers on the direction the company needed to take to make the most of market opportunities as they emerged. Having a seat at the table, engendered massive impact.

It worked! The function was approved to continue. Value for the common good had been provided to many and impact achieved!

In my business, I work with executives in organisations needing to transform as the market, customers and even the competitive landscape changes. Enabling teams to provide creative workable solutions is key to sustaining organisations. Especially under situations of uncertainty.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 at 3:23 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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