The Realities of Implementing Innovation and Reshaping our Skill Sets


March has certainly started out with a bang! There has been a lot going on, so I would like to share some personal news along with a new content journey and experience that I hope you will find useful.

I recently joined the Innovation Excellence team as their “Integrator 3.0” (more on that role in a separate post) where I have been involved with the launch of a new program called Books as Tools.  It has been an incredible experience so far. Much of what we have been working on is relevant to what is written about on this site, so I thought I would share it with you here.

Implementing Innovation & The Need to Reshape our Skill Sets

Professionals at all stages of their careers can relate to complexities of reshaping their (our) skill sets as we explore different ways to meet the demands of today, while building bridges for the future.

This includes expanding our view, learning new things, connecting the old to the new, leveraging past experience, and equally as important – doing some “unlearning” along the way as well. This all seems necessary if we are to become more innovative at a time that requires us to enter into a world filled with new dynamics and a certain level of uncertainty.

For many of us, the last few years have required a different kind of exploration in order to identify the multiple forces at work, while gaining a better understanding of their implications. And with that, generating new ways to apply different approaches to learning, collaboration and innovation through experimentation.

As exciting as this may be to many of us in discussion, there is a reality when you roll up your sleeves and get right in there to do it. “It,“ being considering an idea and then making the movements toward, and in, execution.  

And, as we implement innovation and experiment in a “live” environment, we need to be prepared for a new level of vulnerability, humility and tension that gets introduced – especially when things don’t go as planned or when a mistake is made.

I wrote about this in an article published by Innovation Excellence titled, Innovation Community with Books as Tools.

New Read & Experience: How Stella Saved The Farm

Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble speak to all of this and much more in their new book How Stella Saved the Farm. It is a short, yet powerful parable which is based on another book they wrote titled, The Other Side of Innovation, which I have featured in the past.

Joshua Kim says it best in  Higher Ed, Innovation, and "How Stella Saved the Farm" where he writes,  

How Stella Saved the Farm is a beautifully illustrated and fast paced narrative on how to make innovation actually happen. A book that can be read and enjoyed in the time it takes most people to watch a rerun of Law and Order.

In addition to reinforcing the importance of creating a special kind of team for implementing innovation, they provide a unique approach to learning, through leveraging their book, hands-on group work, training and community. They have also developed study guides to assist in introducing this to an organization – take a look at one example below (you can also download it here).

How Stella Saved the Farm is a tool to be shared and worked on together if you are to realize its full potential.

Leveraging Today’s New Learning Tools

There are so many ways to reshape our skill sets during this time that is requiring us to make some adjustments. Working on this program has been a serendipitous opportunity to say the least. This entire blog has been about leveraging different forms of "content" as tools, while applying hands-on learning and processing it all through logging these experiences along the way.

Now, I have additional tools and a community that fully embraces this. One that is also willing to have some honest, and at times, tough conversations around what it takes to implement innovation. You are definitely invited to join us.

Here is just one example of a Web Chat that we had this past Tuesday with Chris Trimble. He talks about the book, myths around innovation, organizational structures, "special kinds of teams" and answers questions from the audience.  

If you are interested in learning more and want to join some upcoming Web Chats, I encourage you to stop over for a visit and register here.  We would love to have you!