Innovation and Transformation through Co-Creation

iStock_000076336005_LargeCompetition, disruptive technologies, rising consumer expectations and regulatory pressures all drive change and create opportunities and challenges for businesses. As a result, executives are prioritizing transformation and innovation initiatives at the top of their corporate agendas as a means for competitive advantage.

Unfortunately, despite an organization’s willingness to succeed at business transformation most don’t. Similarly, the same statistics ring true to change initiatives. So what are the key priorities of executives today?

In the 2016 CEO Challenge Report, the Conference Board highlights the growing concern around innovation, process improvement, cost containment and quality as key priorities to drive business outcomes.

One of the key concerns and challenges for CEOs, is human capital management and the growing concerns and issues with recruitment and retention to build organizational resilience. The report highlights an emphasis that needs to be placed on top management accountability to drive performance through all levels of the organization, as a high-performing culture will enable an agile and innovative environment in which to thrive and strive in today’s rapidly changing world. The focus will be on sustainability as a corporate strategic objective that will be ingrained through team and individual performance goals.

In the 19th Annual Global CEO Survey / January 2016 by PWC, CEOs reported “that customers will increasingly judge companies based on how they help greater society and how they live up to their own values.” It was also noted that, “nearly a quarter of CEOs said their company has changed its sense of purpose in the last three years to take into account the broader impact it has on society.”

The question is “Do you have the right leader at the helm?”

In the 83rd Issue of strategy+business, titled From the Outside In, the insights from the CEO Success Study tell us companies are beginning to look beyond their own ranks to find new leadership to transform the organization. Why?

In the rapidly changing world in which we live and work companies often need leaders with experiences and skill sets that are different from the ones found within the company’s current organizational structure. The company may have been successful in the past but that does not necessarily mean it will be successful in the future. There are certain skills required to promote and build sustainability and companies are starting to realize that some leaders may be too steeped in the company’s past practices to envision new approaches.

What does this mean and where does the transformation journey begin?

It starts with changing culture and shifting mindsets into the new era of the digital economy through connection, collaboration and communication. It is those organizations that embrace and engage with their culture that will gain a competitive advantage for the future.

To do so it is important to continuously monitor the pulse of the organization. It must be done collectively, both internally and externally. Those who work for the company have changing perceptions, and they too are consumers of the products and services of the companies in which they work and other companies. But to truly listen and take action on these insights and to create a paradigm shift to provide value, the key is understanding generational differences and values both individually and culturally. It is the events that have transpired over the ages that have impacted the values, opinions and what is important to the Matures, the Boomers, Gen X and the Millennials.

The transformation journey first starts with a leader or individual transforming themselves, changing their mindset and influencing those around them with a new way of thinking. They seek to gain the trust of others, are not afraid to fail or speak up, know they can’t go it alone and inspire others through passion and purpose. It is with this sense of passion and purpose a culture of alliance is built.

It is this environment through cultural transformation that creates an “Innovation Think Tank,” a new eco-system of innovation, promoting co-creation through a hotbed of discussion, continuous learning, sharing and new ideas.

In IBMs 2015 C-Suite Study David Mills, CEO, Ricoh Europe, United Kingdom states “We anticipate relying more heavily on partnerships and adjacencies, and on innovating by listening to clients and developing solutions together.”

Co-creation requires looking outside the traditional boundaries of the organization and looking at innovation from outside sources.

A great example of this in the public sector is with Mayor, John Tory, of the City of Toronto, who is leading the charge to understand citizen needs, seek opportunities to better society, empower people to have a voice and promote an environment of communication, collaboration and co-creation and learning. This effort is all part of a strategy to influence the creation of a hotbed of innovation for people to make a positive difference in the world and transform the way in which we live, work and play. Follow @StartUpHereTO.

The age old saying “you don’t know what you don’t know” still holds true. Although we are connected 24/7 and information is available to us, to gather and surround ourselves with like minded people and truly understand what is important to us requires us to undertake introspection and make an effort to integrate, assimilate and participate. It is through these channels and this environment we connect and find the passion and purpose to collectively make a positive difference in our work environments, in our neighbourhoods, our cities, our countries and our personal lives.

Since the beginning of mankind, we thrive to connect with others and culture evolves as a powerful collective combination of Purpose, Values and Behaviours. When individuals are given or find the opportunity to innovate in an environment in which they feel comfortable, strengths, talents and insights are harvested to bring about change and transformation.

The concept of the Pygmalion Effect / Rosenthal Effect otherwise referred to as the Positive Self-fulfilling Prophecy still holds true. It is based on the theory and phenomenon by which people’s expectations about future events and what is possible lead them to behave in particular ways that, on occasion, can cause the expected event to occur or not occur.

The opposite of this is the Golem Effect, the negative self-fulfilling prophecy. So if a shift in mindset and expectations occurs there will be an increase in performance.

So what is the relationship to transformation and innovation? People tend to find what they are looking for. More than that, they may even tend, unwillingly, without knowing it to create what they seek.

Change is about using internal and external influences to modify actions and behaviours to achieve desired results. Transformation is more a self-driven process and is about modifying beliefs and behaviours to make it the core of everything we do and inspire others through a “can do environment” to generate a positive impact. For transformation programs to be sustainable and successful, the CEO and the Executive Team need to role model any desired change in behaviour first.

So today and in the future it’s about evolving, adapting, continuously improving and working together to make change and transformation happen one step at a time.

Ask yourself this: Are you developing the innovation eco-system, participating in it or sitting on the by-lines?

Contact us and learn more about building a high performing team and implementing a leadership paradigm shift to start your transformation journey

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For more than 20 years Dana Saltern has helped companies lead change and transformation initiatives in both the public and private sector to increase performance results. She is certified in a number of designations and certifications including the Prosci ADKAR® Model, a goal-oriented change management model to guide individual and organizational change and Barrett Values Cultural Transformation Tools®.

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