Monday, October 7, 2013

Innovation Framework

A colleague in HR-IT shared this item with me, and I wanted to share it here. I've often discussed the importance of innovation in technology. Even as far back as 2009, "Innovation" was a major priority in IT. On the small scale, IT managers and directors must provide time for their staff to generate new ideas, to think outside the box, to play with new concepts. Organizations can provide a "framework" or "opportunity" for this exploration. Look at technology giants Google and 3M: through their "20% time" model, staff are granted "free" time during their work week to explore new possibilities.

The University of Minnesota provides a "toolkit" for encouraging innovation: the Innovation Framework. From the website:
This innovation framework provides a way for organizations to identify and advance ideas with the most potential to make an impact. It was developed with particular attention to the University of Minnesota community and with value on transparency and inclusiveness. The framework invites partnership, supports learning and strategic risk-taking, expects ideas to be organic and evolving, and requires intentional evaluation and decision making so that innovative ideas lead to powerful and effective change. 
Does your organization want to cast a wide net for innovative ideas, but aren't sure how to make this happen in an effective manner? The innovation framework can help. It doesn't have all the answers, but it's a great tool for getting the conversation started.

The website is extensive, but consider these starting points:

Start a conversation.
How do ideas get generated, evaluated, and implemented in our organization now? What are some of the strengths and some of the challenges in our current system? What do we see in this model that could help with that? Where does it make sense to bring this model next?
Share with colleagues.
Find out what other people are doing with this framework and share what you are considering. The end result will be different for each unit, but by sharing what we each try and learning from it, we’ll all end up with better innovation processes.
Apply the framework.
Identify who can help make this framework most relevant for your organization. Ground yourself in the four key principles of the model: learning, sharing, supporting, and celebrating.

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