Make ideas part of your DNA

Creating an ideas-rich culture to fuel innovation doesn’t require a leader with all the answers. Far from it, say Brigham Young University’s Jeff Dyer and the co-authors of The Innovator’s DNA, to be released this month. Genuinely innovative leaders are associative thinkers who come at the challenge from a range of different angles and manage to embed such flexible thinking in the organisational DNA. “These are behaviours that trigger creative ideas, and we found that those behaviours, if mastered, can help anyone to improve their creativity and their ability to be innovative,” Dyer says. Re-setting the cultural pulse to reward questioning and tolerate failure is like re-wiring the brain, adds creativity expert Matthew May, quoting new thinking in neuroplasticity: “The issue all of us grapple with is change. Whether it’s kicking a bad habit, coming up with new and original ideas, shifting a business focus (or) changing company culture. At the heart of the issue is changing minds and mindsets…unlocking the brain.” Driving that change – re-wiring the culture – is a pressing leadership challenge, say The Innovator’s DNA authors. “Let’s face it,” Dyer says, “If your company doesn’t do anything new or different in the next ten years from now, you’ll be way behind… You’ve got to create a culture and a set of processes that encourage people to question…to challenge the status quo.”


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