To truly innovate, you need a certain kind of leadership in your organization. I always look for and hire people who have an insatiable curiosity and who become bored easily. I truly believe if you have the desire to constantly look toward the unknown you are a person who does not like executing the existing.
In John Sculley’s book Moonshot he speaks about how the traditional education system harms our ability to innovate. By making students remember and recite, we reward children by giving As for the right answer versus asking the right question. We reward people at work for executing according to plans, not for taking risks and for having a futurist mindset. Instead of thinking about how to do something better, we need to start with “do we even need to do it at all?”
Leaders need to lead by example; they must have insatiable curiosity and the desire to protect those who go “rogue” to come up with new ideas—not punish them for going off course. We all have to learn to live with ambiguity and not seek to know 100% about our future lives, just accept it’s going to change at an ever increasing rate. Embrace the upside of the change, not the doom and gloom. Take for example robots…do you see them as job killers that will eventually result in our unemployment? Or do you see them as enablers, helping us to do more with our lives and freeing up time? Do you support the idea of Universal Basic Income? There are some really smart people, companies and even countries studying Universal Basic Income, where every person—regardless of age, marital status, family size, location, etc.—gets a paycheck, whether or not they have a job? Some cities and countries are already experimenting with it, and the idea of taxing a robot who works in lieu of a person can be the way some of this revenue is created.
Lisa Kay Solomon, who I had the pleasure of getting to know at Singularity University, recently wrote: “True innovation requires deep persistence and fierce resolve, a willingness to move forward when you’re not quite sure you will be successful, rapid adaptive cycles of learning, and the ability to connect and galvanize networks of diverse and committed talent to work together towards a larger goal.”
At SIG we started our innovation thought process by first reading the book, Demand: Creating What People Love Before They Know They Want It and learning to look at SIG through the eyes of our members, to think of ways to reduce friction points and engage with members in a more thoughtful manner. From there we look to one another for support, to experiment and to fail quickly when we fail. As we continue to experiment we only need to answer one question—will this enhance a person’s ability to become more strategic or does it improve a member’s ROI? If the answer is yes to either, you have permission to experiment. Innovation is a key theme at SIG, and it’s one of the reasons people keep coming back…if you haven’t been around in awhile, maybe it’s time!
Dawn Tiura, CEO and President of SIG, SIG University and Outsource, has over 26 years leadership experience, with the past 22 years focused on the sourcing and outsourcing industry. In 2007, Dawn joined SIG as CEO, but has been active in SIG as a speaker and trusted advisor since 1999, bringing the latest developments in sourcing and outsourcing to SIG members. Prior to joining SIG, Dawn held leadership positions as CEO of Denali Group and before that as a partner in a CPA firm. Dawn is actively involved on a number of boards promoting civic, health and children's issues in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Dawn is a licensed CPA and has a BA from the University of Michigan and an MS in taxation from Golden Gate University. Dawn brings to SIG a culture of brainstorming and internal innovation.