Ellie’s message that taking care of small insects in your garden attracts bigger animals, made me think how companies nurture small and big ideas.
9 out of 10 of the CEOs interviewed in a recent report published by KPMG see disruption as an opportunity, and 96% say their business is aiming to be the disruptor in their sector.
But, I wonder if businesses are thinking about big ideas in the wrong way?
Having worked for twenty-five years in innovation across a vast range of industries, I can tell you first-hand the more a company encourages small innovative ideas, the better it becomes at nurturing big breakthrough ideas.
Small ideas are not insignificant. They shape the conditions for an innovative culture to thrive, and help organise the structures and processes for growth to occur. By creating the right conditions for small ideas to emerge, we automatically increase the likelihood of attracting big ideas. Another good analogy here is that of a parent with a teenage daughter/son. Parents know that small talks keep the channels of communication open, and the more small talks you have, the easier it is to have the big talks.
Some established businesses will disagree, saying that small ideas are not going to save them from the threat of disruption, and without a game-changing strategy or new business model, their business will shrink or disappear completely. I agree, there are times when you need all hands on deck protecting your business, however, those businesses facing difficulties from disruption would be wise to acknowledge the real issue stems from an ‘internal’ problem in how they manage innovation and growth. Don’t make the same mistake twice - nurture an innovative culture where small and big ideas thrive. Both types of ideas are needed. Get that right, and it all goes well!
Does your organisation have enough creepy crawly size ideas?
Thank you to Ellie and Monty for the inspiration behind this article. You can view their full interview here until 25th June on BBC iPlayer - fast forward to around the 14 minute mark.
You can find a selection of useful articles on the 3inno website which explain how to go about encouraging innovation in an organisation. Alternatively, email me and I’ll forward them to you.
By the way, gardening is a real passion of mine. As a young lad, I worked the summer holidays in a horticultural nursery, and was probably the only child in Ireland to get a soil testing kit for their 11th birthday! I nearly went on to study agricultural science at university but switched to engineering at the last moment. I find there are so many similarities between tending to growth in a garden and helping organisations innovate and grow!
Director of 3inno
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