If you were trying to learn to surf for example you might go to a surf school to start with.
Assuming you have a surfboard and can swim.
You would start on the beach practicing how to get up on the board.
You might also sit down with the instructor and look at the beach, the waves and places to avoid.
Then you venture forth just off shore to the small waves.
After many mishaps and accidents and a great deal of fun you might go out a little bit further.
My point is this — you are learning to surf by doing it!
Over time and with plenty of practice, most people can become reasonably proficient at it.
When this happens the bold surfer goes out the back and can catch bigger waves.
I wonder if this example also applies to innovation?
How do managers and leaders learn to innovate?
They learn best by actually doing it.
But there is a problem.
Most of the innovation that is talked about at the moment is the disruptive type.
It’s big, expensive and risky.
It also involves relatively few people.
In the surfing example we are assuming that everyone is a great surfer and can handle the big waves.
With innovation we are assuming that leaders are already excellent innovators and are ready to tackle disruptive innovation.
But this is clearly not the case.
We need to give greater opportunities for all current and future leaders opportunities to innovate.
They have to learn on bite-size projects.
This is why i am so excited about the Small Wins Way.
It provides a framework and tool kit for every manager and leader to try something new, make the odd mistake and learn to innovate.