Susan Boyle’s video on YouTube is now officially the most frequently viewed video of 2009, as reported by BBC News. Clearly she grabbed a great deal of attention with her stunning rendition of the song “I Dreamed a Dream.” Why? On one hand, many of us were mesmerized by her lovely voice. But on another hand, she also struck a cord with so many people who have viewpoints, talents and perspectives that yearn to be heard but have not yet garnered attention.
There is a strong correlation with her story and the stories of successful innovation I hear from clients – incredible value comes from unexpected sources. As we talk with clients who derive significant benefit from their innovation programs, they invariably comment on the quality and novelty of input from unexpected sources of insight.
Initially this search for new perspectives – is this insight really ‘fresh’? – threatens people in roles expected to come up with the best ideas for new products, or better ways to perform some business task, or new ways to generate revenue, or . . . well the list goes on. But those organizations that plow past that NIH perspective emerge to find new sources of intelligence. Sometimes it is resident in their organizations. That’s a great place to look – for starters. The bravest companies also look outside for even more diverse opinions.
So the critical question is: What is your organization doing to engage people who have passion, experience and knowledge about problems that vex your organization?
They are there. They have ideas they talk about in the company. They collaborate with friends in the organization and in professional associations outside of ‘the four walls.’ They spend time on social media contributing their ideas to any number of topics that strike their fancy and ignite the imagination.
As we plan for 2010, it’s a good time for senior managers to ask, “What are we doing to harness that enthusiasm to profit our bottom line?”
Best wishes to you as we gear up for another exciting year.