Innovation is a team sport

Walter Isaac’s book “The Innovators” delivers fascinating insight into technological breakthroughs of the digital era.

In the book he states,

“Most of the great innovations of the digital age sprang from an interplay of creative individuals with teams that knew how to implement their ideas.”

Whether the development of the first computer, subroutines, video games, graphical user interface, the internet, Google search or iPhones - his findings show that great ideas were just the first step.Team collaboration (fostering incremental improvements over time) is the key to successful innovation.

“The sparks come from ideas rubbing against each other, rather than bolts from the blue.”

For these reasons, smart organisations are investing heavily in cloud based collaboration tools to stimulate innovation at all levels within their business.

However, we see many organisations approach the implementation of collaboration tools as just another Technology Upgrade. Their goal being to minimise user impact or disruption to the business and establish normal BAU operation.

Business Benefits

Not surprisingly, Fronde finds that organisations who take this approach find their business experiences very little benefit. In fact, about as much business benefit as the previous three MS Office upgrades they’ve been through!

The reason for this failure is that team collaboration requires a change in individuals’ thinking, behaviours and work patterns. This demands business change management.

“Don't miss the single biggest opportunity this decade to accelerate innovation within your business”

If you take a Technology Upgrade approach to Cloud Based Collaboration Tools, you'll probably miss the single biggest opportunity this decade to accelerate innovation within your business.

What can innovation achieve?

If you want teams of individuals to innovate by creating and updating documents in real-time, resulting in shorter meetings and faster results - just giving them a software version upgrade is not going to inspire organisational change.

It is best to broaden the scope of your Implementation. Plan to include people, process, partners as well as technology in the process.  And, more importantly, plan and lead this as a business change project.

If you want to get your business into the innovation game, take a close look at the changes in staff behaviours that you want to see. Don't be afraid of disrupting users with a new tool set, because presenting them with more of the same will be unlikely to result in collaboration or innovation.