How to Create Innovative Strategies for the Time-Strapped Manager

Nov 22, 2010

The OnStrategy Team had the privilege of hearing Terry Jones, the founder of Travelocity and Kayak.com, speak last week in Reno.  With such great insight and knowledge to share, we will be blogging on what we learned from him over the next few weeks, specifically with an eye to how you can apply his lessons to your business and strategy formulation.

The need to create innovative strategies and processes always seems like such an undertaking for so many organizations (including ours). Add on to that drum beat the reality that  we have less resources to  accomplish the same amount of work (or more) as we did two years ago. So what is the solution? Leaders and managers can create an environment of innovation that results incremental to transformative change without creating a committee and having more meetings. Here are some practical tips from Terry Jones that are very doable and proven to create organic innovation:

  • We experiment: As simple and obvious as this sounds, be intentional about allowing for experimentation. Google’s 10% rule (10% of every employee’s time can be spent on out of the box development) has worked over the years and it can work for you. It frees people up to succeed as well as fail. But you need to back up experimentation with measurement.
  • Measure, Measure, Measure: Back up your experimentation with measurement so you can learn fast and fail fast, if need be. Experimentation without measurement is just guessing not innovation
  • Harvest Learning: Companies can harvest learning from the top to the bottom of the organizational chart as well as through existing processes. Ask for and seek out learning through your regular meetings, customer feedback processes and at the end of experiments.
  • Two Pizza Teams: Keep teams small because you want debate, decision making and action. When teams get to big, they stall or buckle under their own weight.

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