Hello, Esteemed Colleagues and CEdMA
Happy New Year and welcome to more
challenges and opportunities in our businesses!
I hope you all had restful and happy times with your families and friends
over the past holiday season, whether for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, or
however you celebrated.
I spent a good deal of time over the past
weeks thinking about innovation – not what or how I would innovate, but what
"innovation” as a concept means and implies.
What does innovation require of us?
The dictionary very simply defines
innovation as: "1) the process of making
changes; 2) a new method, custom, device, etc.”
Working for technology companies, we certainly expect definition "2)” to
be prevalent, and we know that it comes from the actions in definition
"1).” The innovations may be new to the
industry, or might be new only within our own company or sphere of
influence. However, what do we really
need to expect will happen during innovation?
I believe there are four key components to
- An environment fostering
thought – the freedom to analyze and criticize the present state, to think
aloud about the possibilities, and to put forward solutions that may be argued
- A stimulating idea – perhaps
mediocre, good, great, or superb, it’s something that rallies the troops, gets
execution under way, and fosters teamed collaboration;
- Repetition – multiple attempts,
trials, measurements, opinions, adjustments, etc. to move continuous
improvement toward a definitive resolution of the idea (go with it or abandon
- The freedom to fail –
perfection comes from finding the flaws, many times over via the attempts, and
then correcting or re-designing again and again, without disgrace or consternation.
These four things must occur for innovation
to be possible and are the necessary by-products of innovation. Do we as leaders provide these four
components to our teams? Do we have them
around us from our management as professionals?
Do you, my colleagues, think I have missed the mark or left something
out? When we think about the Wright
Brothers, Thomas Edison, Grace Hopper, Steve Jobs, and many others influencing
our times, did they have all of these in their world?
I am highly focused going into 2014 on what
I need in order to innovate and to ensure innovation in our business. I view it
as critical to moving success across my customers and my team. Would welcome
your comments and thoughts!
Jesse Finn, CEdMA President