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Our Holiday Recipe for Doing Great Things

Posted by on December 18, 2015 8:17 am
The inVision Elves get ready for their big day (l to r: Rhonda, Robin, Sharon, Ryan, Jody, Ashley)

Back in November, John and Wendy issued a challenge to the inVision team – find a way to do Great Things in our community to celebrate and share the Christmas spirit. Here is the recipe we followed on December 3rd to meet the challenge!

Ingredients:
2 inVision leaders with servants’ hearts and a Christmas challenge
6 inVision elves with warm hearts and busy hands
1 community service scavenger hunt worksheet containing 12 ways to help
1 work day
A pinch of cash
Energy, zaniness, laughter, and tears to taste

Method:
1. Have the elves review the scavenger hunt worksheet and establish a plan on how to maximize their impact in the community in 1 day.
2. Assign tasks to each elf in preparation for the ‘Big Day’.
3. On the ‘Big Day’, cram all elves into one Dodge Grand Caravan for Operation ‘Do Great Things’.
4. Run around town delivering gifts for seniors, egg mc muffins to the hungry, toques/mitts to those less fortunate, candy canes to random folk, a gift to a child in care, coffee to people who work in difficult circumstances, inspiring quotes to those who need inspiration, and kitty litter to no kill shelters. Oh yeah! Don’t forget about cleaning out 26 cat kennels!
5. Reflect on not only the gifts given, but those received by providing random acts of kindness.

Kidding aside, we are all grateful to have had an opportunity to give back to our community over the holiday season. Here are just a few reflections from the inVision elves about our experience:

Sharon – The sincere gratitude for a small gift like a toque or a pair of socks gives a much bigger gift to the giver than the gift itself. Paying for drive through orders can be ridiculously uplifting!
Giving as part of a team, and sharing the experiences of the day was much more fun than, say, cleaning cat cages on one’s own!

Ashley – I learned that in order to make a difference in the community, you have to DO something. Taking action is so important — and it goes beyond a tweet, a “like”, or a favoriting a post. It’s about getting out there and getting involved in order to have an impact.

It was a challenge for us to narrow our list when we were putting together our game plan for the day because of all of the worthy organizations out there that we’d like to support. Lastly, our DGT day reinforced to me what a great group of people I get to work with day in and day out — thanks, team :)

The inVision Elves get ready for the big day (l to r: Rhonda, Robin, Sharon, Ryan, Jody, Ashley)
The inVision Elves get ready for their big day (l to r: Rhonda, Robin, Sharon, Ryan, Jody, Ashley)

Ryan – The Do Great Things Day always reminds me of how easy it is to spark a positive change in this world. Change doesn’t have to be a big action, it can be a collection of smaller actions that brighten someone’s day, inspires hope, and shows that someone cares. And by doing this every year it’s our hope that others will do the same to continue driving positive change in our community with random acts of kindness!

Jody – This was my first “Do Great Things Day” with the team and it was so great! Although our goal was to impact as many people in one day as we could, the impact has extended way beyond that one day and way beyond the people we set out to reach. Watching everyone get excited to complete our list of “great things” and feel the support of John & Wendy, I’m more excited than ever to keep doing great things for people all year!

Rhonda – What an incredible way to kick off the holiday season. We touched the lives of over 140 people (from children to seniors) and 30 cats in the course of 1 day! My heart is full yet I am humbled by how little it takes to make a difference in someone’s day or week; I look forward to doing more great things days in the next year.

Robin – The great things day was not about sales or business development or recognition of any kind. We went out to spread Christmas cheer with no expectation of anything in return. The amazing thing about this is we got the biggest return of all. The feeling of joy that we get from giving a gift to an elderly person (who would not otherwise receive a Christmas gift), a homeless person, a child without a family, a worker in a mall who rarely gets noticed, the unsuspecting person behind us in the drive through…that is a great thing!!

Wendy and John – This week WestJet released their annual holiday video where their employees made ‘12,000 Mini-Miracles’ happen for folks around the world. While inVision Edge may not have the reach, scope or budget of WestJet, the sentiment of the ‘inVision Do Great Things Day’ is the same.

Every year we are reminded that no matter how much or how little we have to give, it is enough to make an impact. It is not about the amount of resources we have – it’s about the amount of spirit and resourcefulness we bring to the task!

The inVision elves managed to make 140 mini-miracles happen in Winnipeg in one day and came back filled with the joy of a team who went out and made someone else’s day a little brighter….but they received so much more in return.

Outside of Do Great Things Day, we look for ways throughout the year to show gratitude for what we have. We give back through our work by running workshops with business students at the Universities, assisting entrepreneurs at the Eureka Project, working with non profits, and donating a portion of our earnings from Strategy Navigation projects to entrepreneurs in developing countries through KIVA… there is something special about ensuring our focus is on others during a busy holiday season that just kicks it up to another level for all of us.

There is always someone out there who needs a miracle. So for 2016, we invite you to join inVision in finding your own way to make a difference throughout the year.

It’s a no-fail recipe.

Happy Holidays from the inVision Edge team!

 

Back in November, John and Wendy issued a challenge to the inVision team – find a way to do Great Things in our community to celebrate and share the Christmas spirit. Here is the recipe we followed on December 3rd to meet the challenge!

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What has a greater impact on organizational growth? Strategy or leadership?

Posted by on November 30, 2015 10:39 am
Strategic-Leadership

“Strategy will not succeed in a void, and leadership often makes the difference between merely reaching for great opportunities and actually realizing their potential.”  – McKinsey Report, Tsun-yan Hsieh and Sara Yik.

I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago with a senior leader in a successful manufacturing organization. He proudly spoke about the company’s products and employees and beamed as he walked me through the facility, pointing out visual systems, key performance indicators, and lean improvements they have made over the years. He talked of mentoring his next level leaders to improve their confidence and decision making abilities; so much so that his job was a bit ‘boring’ now.

Contrast this with another senior leader in a different organization, different industry, but equally successful. While he also spoke proudly about his organization, customers and employees, he had difficulty identifying what contributed to the organization’s success to date. While the Board and select senior leaders participated in a strategic planning exercise each year, the plan was not shared openly with others in the organization.Strategic-Leadership

Of the two organizations, which is poised for more growth? I would bet my next pay cheque on the first organization over the second — and I’ll tell you why.

In the absence of good leadership, a strategy document becomes an oversized paper weight. Poor leaders don’t understand the value of a strategy. They create one-day strategy workshops so they can say they’ve gone through the planning process. The result is a plan that sits in a binder on the shelf until the next year. The plan quality is generally poor and there is no focus on execution.

In the absence of good strategy, a good leader can build solid relationships with staff. Good leaders recognize that their ability to achieve results rests with the team they are entrusted to lead. They communicate, and more importantly, listen. They set operational goals, measure progress, and hold people accountable to create a foundation of execution. They ask for strategic direction so they can ensure they are working on the right things.

When a good leader is provided a solid strategy, he or she leverages the relationships and the foundation of execution they’ve already established within their team to deliver results. Give that same strategy to a poor leader and he or she will not understand why it exists, how to make it real, or even where to start.

So, how do we build leaders and leadership teams that are ready to get on board with strategy? We select them carefully and then we invest in them – we give them the tools, support, education, and learning opportunities to grow. At inVision we assess senior leadership teams using our Activation Edge products, provide team exercises and, at times, one-on-one coaching, to help leaders develop their potential.

So what has a greater impact on organizational growth? While developing a solid strategic plan is necessary and important, a plan without leadership nets you nothing. I bet on leadership every time.

 

I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago with a senior leader in a successful manufacturing organization. He proudly spoke about the company’s products and employees and beamed as he walked me through the facility, pointing out visual systems, key performance indicators, and lean improvements they have made over the years. He talked of mentoring his next level leaders to improve their confidence and decision making abilities; so much so that his job was a bit ‘boring’ now.

Contrast this with another senior leader in a different organization, different industry, but equally successful. While he also spoke proudly about his organization, customers and employees, he had difficulty identifying what contributed to the organization’s success to date. While the Board and select senior leaders participated in a strategic planning exercise each year, the plan was not shared openly with others in the organization.

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Be the spark that enables your team

Posted by on November 23, 2015 8:32 am
match 2

“I’ve always thought it was my job to be the spark and the gasoline for my team, but now I realize that it’s actually not.”

A really great leader said this to me during a conversation last week. It’s been bouncing around in my head ever since. A simple concept at first, but stop and think about it: How many leaders feel the pressure of being both the “spark” and the “gasoline” in their organizations?

The original focus of our conversation was around getting a sales team pumped up to face another quarter after a particularly difficult month. My leader-friend was talking about the need to spark some energy in his team at their monthly meeting. He had a plan for the spark, but he felt a weight around how to be the fuel to keep that fire burning in them.match 2

This is common among leaders. Bearing the weight of determining and communicating WHAT is important (the spark) and also HOW it will be accomplished (the gasoline) quickly becomes overwhelming for any leader. If projects stall when the leader isn’t around to constantly fuel them, enablement (or the lack thereof) is often the cause.

inVision CEO John Ferris has taught me that it’s the leader’s job to determine WHAT is important; it’s the team’s job to determine HOW to achieve it. In the past I would have thought this to be one of those great quotes that sounds like a solid philosophy but nearly impossible to implement in reality. This is where Innovation Engineering comes into play for me.

After attending Innovation Engineering College at the end of October, on my way to becoming a certified Innovation Engineering Black Belt, I realized that I had finally found a system that would allow leaders a process to gain radical clarity on what was important and enable their people to successfully come up with and deliver the results. IE provides a freedom within the framework, enabling leaders to set the spark and step back as the team’s fuel of innovation, creativity, and commercialization transforms the organization.

To truly enable our teams to be their own source of energy, innovation, and action, we have to draw them into the process of determining the HOW. Through the process of Innovation Engineering, the leader can focus on being the spark that ignites the team, while the team becomes responsible for keeping that momentum going. The energy is shared between the leader and their team, and real growth is the result.

 

 

“I’ve always thought it was my job to be the spark and the gasoline for my team, but now I realize that it’s actually not.”

A really great leader said this to me during a conversation last week. It’s been bouncing around in my head ever since. A simple concept at first, but stop and think about it: How many leaders feel the pressure of being both the “spark” and the “gasoline” in their organizations?

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Innovation is not about a job title

Posted by on November 16, 2015 11:18 am
teamwork image

When most people think of innovation, they think of Steve Jobs. They are right to do so. He was absolutely an innovator who changed the world with the work that he did. (Can you imagine carrying a camera, iPod, books and a cell phone separately now? The man saved me several pounds of luggage weight for my vacations with his inventions!)

Given that Steve Jobs is an icon, he sets the bar really high for the average person to think that they have anything innovative to offer. And although the average person innovates all the time in their personal lives tinkering in their garages, kitchens, workshops, basements… we are afraid to define ourselves as innovative at work. Instead, we leave it to the engineers and product development people.

I recently worked with an innovation team at a local well-respected company. The team was diverse and included employees from a variety of areas — IT, Sales, HR, Manufacturing, Administration, and Finance. This dedicated group of employees (not an engineer or product development specialist among them) was the team who accepted the challenge to innovate.teamwork image

At the start of the project, 5 out of the 8 participants admitted to being afraid of what was ahead, feeling that they lacked confidence in their ability to contribute. No one had ever asked them to innovate before, and they weren’t even sure they knew how. But they trusted us to take them through a system designed to enable everyone, everywhere, every day to innovate. Our twelve-week innovation journey began that day.

Our journey was filled with great moments that made me proud: the receptionist on the innovation team was part of the presentation to the executive team,sharing a supporting business case for the team’s idea; I listened to the finance person start to get creative and excited during the idea generating process; I watched the IT people answer product development questions. My point in all this? Job title is just that — a title. It doesn’t speak to one’s passion, interests, or imagination.

In my career, I have rarely experienced prejudice because of my gender. I have, however, experienced prejudice because of my previous job titles. Just recently, I heard of an executive who wrote off my ability to partner with them because they felt an ‘HR person’ had no business helping them with innovation.

This is the limited mindset that holds companies back. We focus on titles, and not ability, experience, knowledge and passion. Let’s take those special ingredients and combine them with a system that is designed to leverage diversity. Then, let’s use it all to drive innovation and real, tangible business results.

Just ask the employees who have their names on a patent for a product that their company is taking to market.

That’s the kind of ‘great thing’ I want to be a part of. I don’t care what your title is.

 

 

When most people think of innovation, they think of Steve Jobs. They are right to do so. He was absolutely an innovator who changed the world with the work that he did. (Can you imagine carrying a camera, iPod, books and a cell phone separately now? The man saved me several pounds of luggage weight for my vacations with his inventions!)

Given that Steve Jobs is an icon, he sets the bar really high for the average person to think that they have anything innovative to offer. And although the average person innovates all the time in their personal lives tinkering in their garages, kitchens, workshops, basements… we are afraid to define ourselves as innovative at work. Instead, we leave it to the engineers and product development people.

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Innovation Engineering College: What did I learn?

Posted by on November 9, 2015 11:43 am
The very first class of 2015 Innovation College students.

More than I thought possible.

If you’ve been following us on LinkedIn or Twitter, you know that inVision Edge was the proud host of the very first Canadian Innovation Engineering College held here in Winnipeg, MB at the end of October. I was fortunate enough to attend as a student, on a mission to get my Innovation Engineering Blue Belt. Doug Hall, the founder of Innovation Engineering asks participants a question each day: “What did you learn?” My answer has as much to do with how I learn as it does with what I learned.

inVision Partner Wendy Ferris, herself an Innovation Engineering Black Belt, cautioned me about the learning process in College beforehand: “Embrace the X,” she said. “You’ll have to forget about perfection, about getting it right the first time. Focus on learning.” Hmmmm… she must know me well. I like to get things right – the first time. I’m not a perfectionist, but I do get satisfaction from a job well done.

The last time I was in an intense educational environment, I was a university student. When I think back to those days, there was a lot of memorization involved. There had to be: the prof was looking for the “right” answer during the grading process; my logic, reasoning, and assumptions simply had no place in my exam answer. At the end of the day, what was really being tested? For someone whose memory isn’t the strongest, I often felt that my grades were based on the strength of my memory instead of my understanding of the material.

The very first class of 2015 Innovation College students.
Me and my fellow students at the very first Canadian Innovation College.

On the other hand, Innovation Engineering College is focused on learning and collaboration. Multiple assignments each day (usually under strict time constraints and working with a group) help participants to apply their learnings immediately.  The assignments are graded quickly, with feedback received within a couple of hours of submitting the assignment. An “X” on the assignment with the words “Needs more work” appeared on the first several assignments my group submitted. I was startled and frustrated: these were the first assignments, the “easy” ones. If I couldn’t succeed with these, what would the rest of my week look like?

As the week went on, there were more Xs (and some checkmarks too!). The Xs came with feedback — comments designed to make me evaluate my answer and formulate a new response to submit. And submit I did — sometimes it takes a few tries to get the answer right. But with the Cycles to Mastery approach, that’s OK. Submitting and re-submitting assignments (multiple times) is encouraged and expected – all in the name of getting smarter, learning, and eventually mastering the material.

So, what did I learn? That it’s OK not to get it right the first time. In fact, it’s actually better not to get it right the first time. When my assignments come back for re-work, I view it as an opportunity to learn and improve. Instead of trying to memorize the material, this is a chance for me to actually LEARN and UNDERSTAND the material. My Innovation Engineering Blue Belt is within reach — I just have to get a few Xs out of the way first.

 

 

More than I thought possible.

If you’ve been following us on LinkedIn or Twitter, you know that inVision Edge was the proud host of the very first Canadian Innovation Engineering College held here in Winnipeg, MB at the end of October. I was fortunate enough to attend as a student, on a mission to get my Innovation Engineering Blue Belt. Doug Hall, the founder of Innovation Engineering asks participants a question each day: “What did you learn?” My answer has as much to do with how I learn as it does with what I learned.

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Strategy Navigation (Part 3): I fought the law and the law won

Posted by on October 23, 2015 1:30 am
Police-Badge

In the previous two posts in my Strategy Navigation series, I talked about the need to keep your strategic planning process as simple as possible and secondly to develop the rhythm of accountability – a regular groove for the execution of your plan. Now, we focus on the nuts and bolts of developing a strategic plan.

I’ve participated in countless strategy sessions and experienced many different systems; I have found that by far, the simplest and most effective model is the Law of 3s plan design.

Three overarching goals set the course for the organization over the next three years; under each goal, three objectives chart the course for the year. Team members create actions to achieve each objective, which in turn are aligned with the plan’s goals. Here’s the simple Law of 3’s design:

Law of 3s

The foundation of the model is the acknowledgement that at the end of the day organization, teams, and employees can’t do it all. We work best when we have an intense focus on a few things versus a watered down focus on many things. The Law of 3s structure forces an element of simplicity into the strategic planning process: if you break the Law of 3s, you’ll have too much on your plate and things just won’t get done.

It’s about clarity. The Law of 3s structure focuses and organizes the path to clarify what needs to get done and how it will get done. At a glance, the organization’s top priorities are clear. It’s simple yet effective, and we’ve applied it to corporate plans, team or departmental plans, and even personal planning with great success.

Remember: done is better than perfect. It won’t be perfect the first time you use the Law of 3s, but the more you use it, the better you get. It works. Combine the Law of 3s with a regular rhythm of accountability to bring your plan to life.

 

In the previous two posts in my Strategy Navigation series, I talked about the need to keep your strategic planning process as simple as possible and secondly to develop the rhythm of accountability – a regular groove for the execution of your plan. Now, we focus on the nuts and bolts of developing a strategic plan.

I’ve participated in countless strategy sessions and experienced many different systems; I have found that by far, the simplest and most effective model is the Law of 3s plan design.

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Strategy Navigation (Part 2): Find the groove

Posted by on September 15, 2015 8:23 am
Sound Bar Graphic

Playing for years in a blues band has taught me that the rhythm is what holds it all together. It doesn’t matter how well we’re playing; if the rhythm is off, it all falls apart. Musicians will tell you that when they hit that “groove”, when they find that rhythm, magic happens.

Just like the band that needs to find that repeatable rhythm to put on a great show, an organization’s strategic plan needs a repeatable rhythm to drive execution. In business, a leader’s job is to create and sustain the beat that drives the plan forward.

Sound Bar Graphic
I believe this fully: a strategic plan without an execution plan is pointless. Don’t waste your time. We call this the rhythm of accountability, and it truly is the steady beat that drives execution. Think of the typical strategic planning process: it’s not uncommon for an executive team to spend 80% of its time on the creation of the plan and 20% on the execution of the plan. We reverse that: 80% of our focus is on establishing the rhythm of accountability that’s going to help leaders hold themselves accountable for the execution of the plan. That’s how important the rhythm of accountability is.

I know from experience, at least at the beginning, that it’s not easy to keep a steady focus on execution. Leaders constantly get sucked into the whirlwind of daily activity, and it gets tough to pull away to focus on the strategy that will drive the company forward.

We recommend the leaders determine what their rhythm will be to pull themselves from the whirlwind. There needs to be devoted time set aside specifically to focus on the execution of the plan. For example, establish a simple rhythm of a monthly one hour update of plan progress (no operational talk aloud) and a quarterly half day review about what’s working, what’s not, and where there needs to be course correction. Simple visual reporting is best. Remember, “done is better than perfect”.

You can determine you own rhythm, but better yet, empower your leadership team to determine the schedule that’s going to drive execution forward. Once this rhythm is established, you’ll see the “band’ come together and the magic happen.

This is a series of blog posts I’m writing about the important of strategy to business. My next post: The Law of 3’s.

Playing for years in a blues band has taught me that the rhythm is what holds it all together. It doesn’t matter how well we’re playing; if the rhythm is off, it all falls apart. Musicians will tell you that when they hit that “groove”, when they find that rhythm, magic happens.

Just like the band that needs to find that repeatable rhythm to put on a great show, an organization’s strategic plan needs a repeatable rhythm to drive execution. In business, a leader’s job is to create and sustain the beat that drives the plan forward.

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Strategy Navigation (Part 1): Strategic planning? Keep it simple.

Posted by on August 14, 2015 8:26 am
Keep It Simple - Business Strategy Execution - Innovation Engineering - Winnipeg MB Canada

How many times have you taken part in a “strategic planning” session? You know what I mean: off-sites, on-sites, change-the-world sessions, driven by hype, energy, and hard work. The development of the big, master plan that’s going to change the company and maybe the world. Then, the predictable happens. It sits on a shelf, or on your computer, and it’s never looked at again. Well that was productive. Sound familiar? Keep It Simple - Business Strategy Execution - Innovation Engineering - Winnipeg MB Canada

Throughout my career, I’ve been involved in more of these sessions than I can count, and all with the same result… pretty much nothing to show for it.

This is why we created Navigation Edge.
Don’t get me wrong: a strategic plan is absolutely critical in setting the course of your company. The problem is that most of the time and energy is put into the development of the plan instead of the execution of the plan. Contrary to popular notion, a cohesive, focused, goal-driven strategic plan can be developed quickly (think a day). Once that plan is in place, it becomes all about execution and accountability — and that’s where the real magic happens.

Organizations need a simple framework to drive the planning process forward. The simpler the planning process, the faster you’ll be working on the plan, and the more effective it will be. It’s about taking the momentum created in the strategic planning process and maintaining it, using it to drive actions forward. Navigation Edge distills the process to five steps:

Step I: Determine your purpose. Your “Why.” – Why does your organization exist? Does your whole organization have a similar answer to this question or are they all different? Without this shared vision, competing ideas, goals, and objectives spread through an organization and stifles growth and innovation. Sharing a similar “Why” statement creates a shared vision of the organization’s goals and objectives and provides a strong foundation to build on.

Navigation Edge TM - Business Strategy Execution - Innovation Engineering - Winnipeg MB CanadaStep II – Current State. Using a number of inVision’s Navigation Tools, organizations will have a clear understanding of the challenges they face, the opportunities ahead, and a clear process for how to drive ahead.

Step III – Law of 3’s Plan Design. inVision’s Strategy Design Process drives organizations to create their top three goals and objectives and then develop a set of actions that will drive change.

Step IV – Determine “Death Threats.” Identifying potential barriers that threaten the plan are what we call “Death Threats.” Recognizing and removing these barriers not only helps build confidence throughout the team but also gives the team greater chances of success.

Step V – Execution. Everyone who has a hand in executing the plan will be enabled using inVision’s Rhythm of Accountability Process. Using this process makes sure execution is consistent and doesn’t “fall off” due to competing priorities or fires of the week.

Keep your planning system simple and hit repeat annually. You’ll get smarter every time you complete a planning cycle, increasing your ability to execute. With that, success and results becomes predictable – and who wouldn’t get excited about that?

This is a series of blog posts I’m writing about the important of strategy to business. My next post: Find the Groove.

How many times have you taken part in a “strategic planning” session? You know what I mean: off-sites, on-sites, change-the-world sessions, driven by hype, energy, and hard work. The development of the big, master plan that’s going to change the company and maybe the world. Then, the predictable happens. It sits on a shelf, or on your computer, and it’s never looked at again. Well that was productive. Sound familiar?

Throughout my career, I’ve been involved in more of these sessions than I can count, and all with the same result… pretty much nothing to show for it.

This is why we created Navigation Edge.

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Success is optional

Posted by on July 23, 2015 8:30 am
Business Life Cycle Curve - Business Strategy Execution - Innovation Engineering - Winnipeg MB Canada

When we first start working with clients, we explore the ‘Business Life Cycle Curve’ (see image below). The business curve is composed on five phases: start up, growth, maturity, decline, and death. It’s an effective tool for quickly assessing where an organization is in its life cycle, and it, along with other tools, often forms the basis for the work we do with clients.Business Life Cycle Curve - Business Strategy Execution - Innovation Engineering - Winnipeg MB Canada

Not long ago, we met with a CEO and executive team and asked them to place their organization on the business curve. They placed themselves solidly in the ‘decline’ portion of the curve, and sadly joked that they had ‘near death’ experiences as a company every day. While they joked, I could tell that they weren’t really laughing and hadn’t laughed at work in a very long time. Unfortunately, I could relate.

Having worked as an executive in a cost-cutting environment, I have seen and experienced the stress and anxiety of working in a company on the downward slide of the curve. I could relate to the heavy feeling of responsibility in the room that day. I could also relate to their depleting energy as they worked longer and harder to turn their company around, and the feeling of getting hit with ‘hard knocks’ at every turn.

Looking back on my experience, no matter how hard I tried, I really had no clue how to turn things around.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was living the Deming ‘Red Bead Experiment’. Dr W. Edwards Deming, the great systems thinker that changed manufacturing in the 60’s and 70’s, ran a simple experiment with red and white beads to illustrate that within a broken system, it doesn’t matter how hard employees work, try, or care….their efforts are lost. Dr Deming stated that 94% of issues are due to a broken system; a mere 6% is due to the employees’ efforts, skills, or talents.

Canada’s challenge

You can’t turn around without reading or hearing about the need for innovation in today’s companies. Recent studies indicate that despite the government’s commitment and support with funding for companies to drive innovation, Canada’s business community isn’t listening. In fact, we’re currently ranked 24th in the world for innovation despite our access to resources, support, and talent.

After I read the study, the words of Doug Hall, CEO and founder of Innovation Engineering and Eureka! Ranch International echoed in my mind: “Success is optional,” Doug says. Because, truly, there can’t be a connected and well-read CEO in the country who isn’t aware of the necessity and impact of innovation, but yet the report indicates they aren’t listening or don’t know how to make it happen.

Life lessons

What I have discovered since my time in that cost-cutting environment is that while drastic measures may be necessary in a challenging market, it isn’t sufficient. To truly restart that business curve and remain competitive in tough times, companies need to reinvent themselves using innovation to drive new products, services, or markets to stay meaningfully unique to their customers.

I’m proud to say I’ve become a zealot for innovation. And even deeper than that, a zealot for systematizing innovation to enable everyone, everywhere, every day to innovate. Now that I have a proven innovation system that shows me how to innovate, I get to enjoy meaningful work that makes a difference and gets tangible results for the companies I work with.

I’ll pick that option any day.

When we first start working with clients, we explore the ‘Business Life Cycle Curve’ (see image below). The business curve is composed on five phases: start up, growth, maturity, decline, and death. It’s an effective tool for quickly assessing where an organization is in its life cycle, and it, along with other tools, often forms the basis for the work we do with clients.

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The game of innovation

Posted by on June 22, 2015 10:45 am
Boardgame - Business Strategy Execution - Innovation Engineering - Winnipeg MB Canada

This past weekend, Dan Torbiak, Executive-in-Residence at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba invited inVision Edge to judge a competition that had MBA students creating a board game that would facilitate innovation in a local utility company here in Winnipeg.

Boardgame - Business Strategy Execution - Innovation Engineering - Winnipeg MB Canada
Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Nathan Greidanus set the stage for the judges, telling us to evaluate each game based on a number of factors: Would the game enhance innovation? Is the game creative and interesting to play? Does the game incorporate core fundamentals of innovation? And lastly, is the game relevant to the company?
Each of the five judges were given 20 minutes to sit with each team and play the board game (tough gig – I know), while we evaluated it based on the criteria presented. There were four games, all of which used existing games as stimulus – Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, and Cards Against Humanity.

After having a chance to play each board game, the judges were split between both board games that borrowed from Cards Against Humanity. Both games featured a number of participants that were forced to come up with ideas to a problem the organization was having. By generating ideas around different challenges and and leveraging diversity on the group, it allowed for some very good discussion about those challenges.

Boardgame - Business Strategy Execution - Innovation Engineering - Winnipeg MB Canada
Congratulations to all the MBA students who participated and a big thank you to Dan Torbiak for inviting inVision Edge to participate as a judge in the competition!

This past weekend, Dan Torbiak, Executive-in-Residence at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba invited inVision Edge to judge a competition that had MBA students creating a board game that would facilitate innovation in a local utility company here in Winnipeg.

Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Nathan Greidanus set the stage for the judges, telling us to evaluate each game based on a number of factors: Would the game enhance innovation? Is the game creative and interesting to play? Does the game incorporate core fundamentals of innovation? And lastly, is the game relevant to the company?

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