June 26

Why do great ideas die in the boardroom?


💡 Have you ever wondered why great ideas often die in the boardroom (or in any team for that matter)? I often marvel at how brilliantly creative and innovative people actually are, and yet, very few good ideas go beyond discussion.

Interestingly enough, this is the question the Kuwaiti Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) asked Lumina Learning to look into in 2019 for a cohort of directors and board members across the sectors. It piqued our interest – it’s a really good question. (FYI, I’m a Lumina Practitioner).

Lumina engaged a team including a few Phd.’s, heads of innovation and organisational psychologists to not only dig into the challenge but to design a new type of programme based on behavioural science.

They started with a beautifully simple formula: ideation + implementation = innovation. In other words, any innovation is simply a byproduct of great ideas put into action.

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” Theodore Levitt

They also confirmed their research over the years: creativity and agile, innovative thought and action need the right environment and culture to thrive. And most importantly, we need people with diverse thinking, disciplines and backgrounds to collaborate and work together in a new way to arrive at innovation.

Failure to do this is one of the primary reasons why great ideas often die in the boardroom.

It’s interesting to note that when surveyed at the end of 2020, 70% of leaders reported that they believe they are innovative.

The reality is, we’ve all had to shift, change and pivot our way through 2020, one of the most disruptive years of our lifetimes. We’ve resorted to short-term tactical thinking and crisis management, which may feel like innovation, however, they are not necessarily one and the same.

True innovation requires a very different type of creative collaboration. Your team’s diverse skills, experience and perspectives need to work together to build the confidence to tackle complex challenges.

Today, as leaders at all levels we’re increasingly aware of the urgent need to build vibrant, sustainable cultures of innovation. To shift our mindsets from that of short-term tactical thinking and survival to thriving through collaborative, creative thought and action. So the big Q as ever is “how do we do this”?

Q: How many great ideas have you or someone in your team or organisation had, that you haven’t actioned, only to see them successfully built and launched by someone else?

Q: Has anyone you’ve worked with ever left to start a new company or join another based on an idea they had whilst working with you/in your company?

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this. I’ve seen this time and time again – the best ideas often come from people who are doing the job. More often than not, they receive little support in bringing their ideas to life and will either leave to start a new company or join a company where their ideas are aligned.

Innovation: Mindset & Toolset

I’m really excited to share the result of Lumina’s work around this. Innovation: Mindset & Toolset is a culmination of the work done for KFAS on Innovation and Agile Thinking. Why is it groundbreaking? Because it’s based on Lumina’s award-winning integrated suite of digital psychometrics, models and tools (behavioural science), designed to help teams go beyond ideas and into action.

Innovation: Mindset & Toolset starts off with a suite of integrated diagnostics, giving you a clear understanding of your team’s inherent strengths and potential blind spots across the innovation cycle – so that you don’t have to guess. 

Innovation that impacts the market and creates value for your stakeholders only occurs when you adopt a human-centric, open approach to creative collaboration.

There are a number of key factors across the innovation cycle that are vital to bringing great ideas to fruition. Each member of your team will have qualities and strengths across some of these factors, however, no one individual encompasses them all. 

When you understand where you fit into the innovation cycle and the vital aspects each and every member of your team brings to the table, you enable and unleash the powerful diversity your team offers.

You’ll also create a fertile environment for ideas to land and grow and foster sustainable growth and development across your organisation.

If this has piqued your interest, get in touch and let’s explore whether this engagement is suitable for your team and organisation. You can learn more here: Innovation: Mindset & Toolset.

If you enjoyed this edition of LIFT, why not share it?

Until next time, take good care of yourself.

Best, Louise



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