14th February 2020

Innovation does not have to be terrifying

Simon Wakeman
Chief Executive Officer
Post it note with lightbulb innovation

Innovation sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Some utopian concept where game-changing ideas grow on trees and are ripe for the picking any time you like, successfully rolled out to wild applause from board members and a telegram from the Queen. But of course, that’s not reality.

The reality is that innovation is hard. It’s 90% failure and 5% worry, and those applauding board members are going to take some convincing that your new idea is worth the risk of changing the status quo.

And I get it - change is daunting, especially to organisations for whom every member is precious. So join me as I explore the best ways to foster innovation in your organisation, starting - as we do - at the very beginning.

What’s the issue?

Members are people, right? And like lots of people in the UK, they live in a world with smartphones and instant-access-everything at their fingertips, from Amazon to Siri and back again. Their interactions with brands and organisations are seamless and rapid, their expectations are high. And those expectations are making it more important than ever to innovate.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. Like trying to do a tight U-turn in a submarine, a large organisation can feel unwieldy, the chain of sign-off command tricky; the sheer number of stakeholders involved like a small festival nobody wants to go to.

But, there is a better way. Many better ways, in fact.

At Deeson, we’re all about finding the best ones for you, helping to close the gap between a member’s expectations and their reality, increasing retention and sign-up as we go.

Make the culture

When I think of innovation, I used to see somebody in expensive glasses on a big stage, unveiling some impossibly shiny bit of tech the world never knew it needed. But that moment - that unveiling - isn’t the innovation we’re talking about it’s the product of an environment where innovation was encouraged and allowed.

Creating a culture where innovation feels tangible and doable is the starting point for any great change. Every single person in your organisation has to be empowered to try new things, make outlandish suggestions and learn from the outcomes.

And when I say they should be empowered, I’m talking about more than a company-wide email telling them it’s ok to speak up in meetings. It’s about creating a space where risk is encouraged. Because on the other side of risk could be something mind-blowingly good.

Manage it

Traditional top-down management styles are fading and the days of whatever-the-boss-says-goes are all but over. Successful organisations collaborate. With each other, with their partners, with their members - they know that a network is better than a lone ranger, and they put theirs to good use.

Here at Deeson, for example, we’ve given every single team member, from our intern to our CEO, the Andon Cord power of control to call halt when they see an issue with a project. And the same principle applies across much larger organisations. It’s about creating a non-scary culture in which innovation will thrive.

Fund it

Look, innovation sounds massive, but it really doesn’t have to be. It’s about scaling it down so that failure - the positive kind - is manageable.

Rather than rolling out a two-year project with the budget to match and no way of testing before go-live, we favour smaller projects - mini-vations, if you will.

Funding these little ideas with time and money already built into your team’s day is much less terrifying and can lead to those big, flagship moments.

It begins with a workshop

When you work with Deeson, we’ll kick things off with a workshop to find out how you could spark and nurture innovation in your organisation.

It could be a series of workshops and lectures designed to inspire creative thought. It could be identifying your organisation’s early-adopters and natural problem-solvers. It could even be something like crowdsourcing quick-win solutions across certain projects - the point is to keep it all manageable.

Small moments of innovation and increments of empowerment that contribute to a much bigger, healthier and more agile picture.

Get in touch to find out how we can help your organisation move fast and work for your members - it’s probably easier than you think.