Have you ever wondered who first connected peanut butter with chocolate? Perhaps it was the other way around chocolate with peanut butter? How does this connect to workplace innovation?
You must wonder sometimes, how does real innovation occur? Is it by luck, by chance, or perhaps an accidental connection?
Who decided to put ketchup on potatoes, cheese with eggs, or little tiny marshmallows in cereal? Was it all intentional, or was it an accident?
When someone takes the chance, takes a risk, and is willing to explore it changes the norm. It creates the unexpected. Somewhere deep inside the unexpected exists the breakthrough.
When we want to make something different happen the belief is that we need a plan. People and companies develop a plan. They form a strategy, design tactics, or establish a new procedure.
Does that happen by chance?
Most of our plans develop through brainstorming. A strategy discussion, an idea dump, a throw things on the wall and see what sticks.
When you are looking for a breakthrough you can’t expect to color within the lines. You can’t expect a rigid system to have enough flexibility to allow for innovation.
A plan or a system strives to eliminate surprises. It is a rigid guideline for creating an anticipated result.
There isn’t much room in rigid systems for innovation.
We don’t get peanut butter with chocolate unless someone breaks the status quo. There isn’t an opportunity to spice up our potatoes, add a little cheese to an omelette, or find the marshmallow in a breakfast cereal.
If you’re looking for workplace innovation, seeking to find a breakthrough, or to change the results, you’re first going to have give up the rigidness of the current plan.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.