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Friday, January 19, 2018

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Innovation in a tough time
Jacqueline Beretta

November, 2009

Change – innovation - progress - advancement. It is happening all around us at warp speed.Even though the economy is slow, remember it's always darkest before the dawn.  As big business already knows, for nonprofits and foundations, tough times can also be exciting, time consuming, daunting, challenging, and yet fascinating.

Change can be important….or maybe not.

Change can throw you into triumphant bliss, or it could get you into big trouble.

Whatever the case – it is time for change in Texas – big time change – walking the talk change.

Those who have the resources and imagination to see the beauty and magnificence of what Texas can be, and should be in the next 40 years, need to step up to the plate now, before it is too late. Our children and grandchildren are at stake.

When Change and Innovation Can Happen

In a great book, The Medici Effect, author Frans Johansson maintains that there is a great need for innovation in our society today, but not change that just enables you to keep up with the others in order to maintain the status quo, but rather change that is fueled from groundbreaking originality that can teach you to “leapfrog competitors, or even better, create a new playing field entirely.”

Johansson has studied the Renaissance and come up with the idea that “the best chance of developing groundbreaking innovations lies at the intersection of different cultures, fields or discipline. Diversity, in other words, drives innovation.” Change is tantamount to being in the right place at the right time with the right knowledge, mix of people, imagination and skills to create that spark that ignites ground-breaking change in society. And he maintains that we are in the middle such a time right now, similar to the Renaissance and the great Medici family who brought color, expression and great innovation into the darkness of the medieval ages.

Scientist Richard Dawkins wrote in 1976 that all ideas, which are the bricks and mortar of our society, propagate just like genes. Creative ideas can spread like a virus when all the right ingredients have come together into the intersection at the right time and place.

Intersectional Ideas

According to Johansson, intersectional innovations share the following characteristics:

  • They are surprising and fascinating
  • They take leaps in new directions
  • They open up entirely new fields
  • They provide space for a person, team, or company to call its own
  • They generate followers, which means the creators can become leaders
  • They provide a source of directional innovation for years and decades to come
  • They can affect the world in unprecedented ways

Where Do Ideas Come From?

The interesting fact is that ideas come from some form of what already is. Innovation comes from the basis of an existing idea combined with something completely unexpected to produce an intriguing fresh idea. Today intersectional innovation is at an all time high as the world is so connected – so change is inevitable.

All around you, you are seeing the groundbreaking individuals who create – the true connectors who build opportunities. These people, who have little expertise or not are stimulated by that moment within that intersection to visualize the possibilities of what might be with the right components.

Double Edged Sword?

While change is great and innovation is all about our future, you might ask does the 3rd sector need change. And can it change?

On one hand, if you try to change from what you are supposed to be, then you could end up in trouble, because you have diverted from what you are supposed to be.

And yet on the other hand, if you create and make change and are really successful creating the right recipe to carry out your mission more efficiently, you could be a hero.

It’s like flipping a coin – hit or miss – you never know until you try.

6 Big Questions

Take some time to write the answers to these questions. Then think about it.

- What is the mission statement of your organization?
- What was your original intent?
- What did you tell the Attorney General you were going to accomplish with your 501c3?
- Are you on track and are you doing what you said you would do?
- What changes are you considering for your organization? Are they a good fit with what you are doing now or can they improve efficiency?
- What exactly are you trying to achieve?
- Will it serve the best interests of your constituency?

Big Dreams and Unmet Goals – the Wild Goose Chase

Change can be good, or it can devastate and organization. Today there is more pressure and less time.

The need for change in nonprofits is just as necessary as it is in the for profit world. Organizations must continue to change or they will not continue to meet the needs of their constituency, become stale and out of date. Needs change – the world is moving fast – so we must too. But you must take your original mission and make sure that you are matching your mission to the new direction mapped out by your innovation.

Follow your intended path; make sure your ideas do not lead you down a dead end. A wild goose chase is something you want to avoid, as it will lead to mistrust, create future resistance, and lose your committed followers.

Listen to those innovative creative people who are studying the facts to have a grasp on the direction we are heading if we keep doing the same thing we have always been doing. Careful and calculated change is a must if we are to be a viable and successful Texas in the future. And everything is in perfect alignment to execute change right now.


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