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Your Performance Depends on Your Ability to Think

Innovation is a word I never really understood despite having that as one of our values for 16 years. Is it an idea, an invention, something costly, or just doing something differently?


Innovation is all of that and more. Once during a leadership conference, somebody explained it this way: Take two existing things and merge them. This is creativity and you have invented something hence you innovated. 


Despite singing Innovation from the rooftop, there is little to no sign of innovation in organisations because everyone thinks it is something big, costly or tech-related. Well, it turns out that if you study organisations you realise that innovation with remarkable results sometimes doesn't have to cost a penny and sometimes it requires only a little investment. All we need is for you to think!


FedEx: struggled to get their planes loaded with packages on time during the night shift. They tried everything but nothing worked. Finally, they started to pay per shift rather than per hour. The message was: "Finish loading and go home." Problem solved. This is so my way of managing people; Do the job and go home. What do I care about how you do it, when you do it as long as it is done? 


London Undergroundis excellent at experimenting and using psychological tricks. One of their most successful innovation was the time display on the platforms. It turns out that people are happy to wait as long as they know how long they have to. Instead of making the trains more frequent that meant buying new carriages and employing more staff displayed the time. Passenger satisfaction went up. 


Slow elevator problem: Why do you think we have mirrors in elevators? Take a company in the Midwest that complained about slow elevators. They had the option of upgrading the system for millions of £ which they didn't have. The management didn't stop and complain "You know, we don't get money to make the necessary change how do they want us to perform like this?" would say most managers and leaders. Instead, these guys put mirrors on both sides of the elevator to eliminate boredom during travel time. Problem solved. This trick has been around for a long long time so you can google relevant articles from New York to London. 


Lego: the famous toy company had a problem selling their product. Originally, Lego came in buckets and with no instructions. The kids just threw them on the floor and used their imagination to build things, whatever they wanted. Due to low sales, Lego had to change strategy and implement the Lego sets showing the picture on the front and providing instructions. Legos started selling crazy because parents loved that as it no longer required them to sit with the kids and play. Instructions were provided and kids had to follow them. Unfortunately, while it is good for Lego and the parents, it takes away the creativity element from kids further reinforcing the educational system's message: Just follow instructions! Read here.


Starbucks: Leverages their customers' ideas with great success without significant cost. If anything, they turned all ideas into profit. Read here. 


Brazilian prison swapped guard dogs to geese: The benefit? Lower maintenance, no training required, and geese cannot be bribed by food:-))) They just honk in case of a prison break! Read here. 


How I solved the cleaning issue in my hotel without moneyRead here.

Innovation is not always physical, you don't always have to change physical reality but what's in the head. Your performance depends on your ability to think!


Watch here "How to Design Employee Experiences with no cost!" and join me on YouTube:




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