I have not one, but two guests to discuss product innovation for this episode. The first is Kimberly Johnson, who I met through the Global PMI Innovation Practice Area. I learned that Kim had recently co-authored a chapter for an upcoming book, and the chapter is titled “Triggering Innovation Through Organizational Development.” Her co-author is my second guest, AB Reynolds.
Kimberly Johnson is NPDP certified, with the majority of her experience formed during more than 20 years with 3M. While at 3M she was the Co-Founder with 3M Corporate Scientist, Dave Braun, of a creativity and innovation network called the GRIT (Grass Roots Innovation Team). In addition she is the Community Leader for the Global PMI Innovation and New Product Development Community of Practice. She most recently has joined the Hamline University Innovations Program Curriculum team.
A.B. Reynolds has helped more than 40 major corporations in the areas of leader and manager training and coaching, business team planning and organization development projects including 3M, Imation, Prudential, Honeywell, EXCOM, and Xerox. She authored Effective Organizational Development: A Guide to Implementation for Management, Consultants and Trainers and co-authored The Business Leadership Program Source Book and What Works! To Build Your Business.
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers, Developers, and Innovators
Highlights from the discussion include:
- “Practicing Organization Development: Leading Change and Transformation,” 4th ed, published by Wiley is the book where “Triggering Innovation Through Organizational Development” will appear, expected later 2015.
- The material is practitioner-oriented, providing specifics you can implement in an organization.
- The concepts are synthesized from a powerhouse of interviews with 3M innovators, organized around 3 themes that foster organizational innovation:
- Conditions must exist to allow individuals and teams to create innovative products.
- Leaders must spot, support, and invest in valuable innovations.
- As the product matures, leaders must optimize the innovation and eventually harvest the business or choose to renew the organization with a new set of products.
- To overcome resistance to incorporating innovation into the culture, create an organizational conversation about the future to engage people – get people excited about trends taking place and how the organization should participate. A simple tool is to put a question in a shared area to begin discussions, such as, “How can we …”
- If you are an innovator, team up with others that can influence the right people to make change occur. In organizations, innovation requires teams to make things happen.
- The business alignment framework is an integrated model that deals with the concepts of: what your job is as a leader, understanding the environment, setting direction, building strategy, developing a planning process, communicating, designing processes, structuring the organization, and working with employees to promote and encourage the behaviors needed. It supports innovation by understanding how innovation fits within the organizational context and the strategy of the business.
- Kim and AB developed 25 Organizational Development principles that foster innovation.
- Match the goals of the company with the strengths and interest of employees.
- If you want an innovative company, hire into innovators.
- Train the leaders at all levels in innovation processes.
- Set and share innovation goals.
- See the book for the full description of the 25 principles which are a blueprint for creating an innovative organization.
- Innovation White-Paper that provides practical steps for any leader to create a culture of innovation.
- HBR Article: When You’re Innovating, Think Inside the Box
- HBR Article: Breaking Out of the Innovation Box
- From AB… “Your organization is structured perfectly for what you are getting now.”
- From Kim… “You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince.” -Art Fry of 3M, Post-it Notes creator
Listen Now to the Interview
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.