I have been compiling some notes on ways to foster innovation and help turn around the lack of innovation in companies I have seen first-hand. This is a working copy basically that I will add to and tweak as needed:
Have no more than 3 governing rules for a team
Follow the Lean Startup ideas of Build -> Measure -> Learn and repeat
Create an environment of experimentation
6 people tops per team
Do not keep teams in a vacuum
Promote cross-pollination between teams (openly share ideas free of fear)
Customers decide on what the MVP is not the stake holders. Double down on what the customer wants and uses. Drop the rest.
Ask the right questions (don’t put the answer before the question)
NEVER allow process over innovation!
Remove barriers to teams getting new products/features
I have worked for over 15 years in the technology sector and consider myself a student of idea maturation and innovation. Mainly in terms of fostering teams to create innovative approaches to problem solving. While creating a company culture that is conducive to improving upon and generating new ideas.
Some of my more recent experiences in the last few years have encouraged me to sit down and write this post regarding the things I have seen that “management” does to hinder innovation and adversely impact company moral unintentionally (of course).
Negative traditional management actions:
Lack of communication
Leaving the “troops” out of decision making
Creating a wall between management and workers
Walling off project by stake holder (producer/manager)
One of the main things I have noticed is the lack of general communication with the teams that actually do the work. You have management communicating with other management. But at the same time leaving the developers or other workers in the dark as to even the most simple knowledge in regards to the business and how well (or poorly) it is doing. I have spoken with many people who have no clue how a product is doing because they are not told. So they may make the wrong assumption and be looking for another gig when where they are is actually doing well.