Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Necessary Conditions for Innovation

There is little doubt that public service, whether statutory or voluntary has entered those ‘interesting times’!

Those at the higher end of the food chain now know their budget settlements for next year, those that are not, have or certainly should have, a pretty good understanding of where things are heading.

Whilst many settlements are not quite as scary as many had anticipated, there is little doubt that 2010/11 will be a year of preparing for unprecedented cuts to come.

So, how should organisations respond?

David Snowden, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge offers a useful perspective.

I find David’s argument about ‘The Necessary Conditions for Innovation’ is particularly interesting right now - because it seems to me that those conditions are arising in abundance in public services, in Wales, in the UK, in Europe and across much of the World.

Take a look at this You-Tube clip and decide for yourself:

In summary, the argument is that there are three necessary conditions which promote an innovative approach amongst individuals and groups:

Starvation, - a substantial reduction of resources,

Pressure of Time, - the realisation that we really can’t carry on like this much longer,

Perspective Shift, - the realisation that what was critical yesterday is incidental today, - and there’s a whole new order of Critical we’ve just discovered!

“Necessary, but not sufficient…..”

Just one thing, David’s word of warning:

These three conditions do not guarantee innovation – they just make it possible. If organisations are to benefit from a new appetite to innovate, just reminding people that “we’re broke, it’s going to get worse and the stuff we went on about last year has no bearing anymore,” is possibly not quite enough!