De-innovation, declutter and do your thing.

14 Mar

Post by Expedite

Posted in: Business Development Consulting, Human Resource

De-innovation, declutter and do your thing.


By Stephen Pobjoy, Head of Content, Expedite Consulting

Lots going on in the background at Expedite towers at the moment, I’m looking forward to both Working Futures on March 23rd and planning out the November edition. In researching the November meeting we’ll be looking at how companies need to collaborate across functions, with technology as the glue. More on this to be announced very soon. But this moves on the need for HR to transform itself considerably. And for the HRD to be the innovator.

To enable innovation you always needs the idea, and generally for me this comes from bringing together lots of different bits of information. Through researching and speaking to lots of different people and businesses I pick up lots of snippets of information. But how these fit together into something cohesive, interesting and applicable for businesses in different industries is always the challenging part. In designing conference content and the agenda the innovation part is really down to all of those conversations – and a few curveball ideas added in as well.

Innovation in all areas presents opportunities – but what else you have going on is just as important. We ran an excellent event with our partners Tao Leadership this week on using sprint methodology to improve coaching and performance within a contact centre environment. One of the speakers’ comments really stuck out. Prof. Merlin Stone from Queen Mary’s University spoke on the idea of de-innovation. “What’s that?” I hear you cry from the back.

“de-innovate,” means to give up old practices, when new evidence reveals that those practices offer little value.

It’s an interesting concept and it makes perfect sense. If you want to focus on something new, you create the opportunity to remove all the old stuff that no longer fits. And then you remove the old broken bits. But mostly in business we keep going with the original format and try to innovate at the same time. Then it’s no wonder that stuff fails maybe 50%, 60%, 70% of the time? Then we run out of energy and resources. Sound familiar?

There’s also the organisational clutter which gets in the way, which reminded me of this Economist article from a couple of years back:

Decluttering the company

Businesses must fight a relentless battle against bureaucracy, Aug 2nd 2014

‘Clutter is taking a toll on both morale and productivity. Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School studied the daily routines of more than 230 people who work on projects that require creativity. As might have been expected, she found that their ability to think creatively fell markedly if their working days were punctuated with meetings. They did far better if left to focus on their projects without interruption for a large chunk of the day, and had to collaborate with no more than one colleague.’

So turn off your email for an hour, say no to that meeting and see how you can de-innovate to come up with some new ways of doing your thing.

Coming up in the next few weeks:

OC Excellence Showcase – 23rd March, Business Design Centre, Islington

Working Futures event – also held on 23rd March, Business Design Centre, Islington

HR Taskforce – ‘Rethinking performance management – Liberated from reward, focussed and fair.’ 26th April, Furniture Makers Hall