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Many people and organizations turn to innovation when their current methods of problem solving go stale. Frequently, that is too late. What if you could incorporate innovative tactics and ideas from the start instead of waiting for a compelling event to inspire change?
Scrapping the familiar way you always do something can be scary and time consuming. Many times we are faced with answering questions such as “How do you know if the outcome will be any different after innovation?” or “Why bother taking a risk in doing something new?”
My response to both of these questions is that you are going to be left behind if you don’t take a careful look at innovation opportunities today.
Many Government agencies do not have the luxury of deciding which problems they will address versus ignore. Approaching new problems with an innovation lens advances our customers towards new levels of success. Here are two strategies we’ve learned from our customers to create a more innovative approach to decision-making:
Avoid distractions and get the best people involved from the start. They should be invigorated by a challenge andwilling to collaborate when needed. Lean on experts to fill in any gaps and develop a workable solution for your problem. Perhaps there are adjacent industries or peers that have experience with the problem you need to solve. Seek them out and challenge your assumptions regularly.
When you push the limits on potential outcomes, the possibilities become endless, and complexity multiplies. Greg Thomas, Chief of Staff, Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems, U.S. Navy, and one of our most innovative customers, manages to thrive in the face of complexity. Mr. Thomas and his team are responsible for 450 employees across 60 programs and 12 lines of business including radar, combat systems, and navigation. Workforce optimization decisions are messy, but through powerful analytics and software accelerators, Mr. Thomas is able to recommend a plan that endures and is easily adapted as expectations change.
Avoid becoming overwhelmed or complacent with your yearly planning process. Inject innovation into the plan. Read more, talk to colleagues in different departments, or take some time to think without distractions.
We are big fans of networking and storytelling to spark innovation. It is also a way to explore the best way to strategically balance resources while enduring program scrutiny, hiring freezes, and reduction in resources.
We never miss the chance to learn about innovation from our customers and neither should you.