When it comes to innovation, do you take the stairs or the elevator?

When you’re looking at introducing new initiatives into your business, what approach do you use?  Do you keep new projects under wraps, creating a sense of mystery while a carefully picked group of people busily work away getting ready for the big reveal; or do you implement small bite sized updates so regularly that your team just see it as situation normal.

We’ve always tried to take the second approach at Epic whenever possible.  Most people are hard wired to resist change where possible, preferring to stay with the comfort of the status quo even when we know that the current way of doing things isn’t optimal.  In busy, task orientated work places, the thought of having to stop for long enough to learn a new way of doing things, even when  in theory the new way is going to make life easier,often isn’t enough to engage.

So how do you create an environment where people not only embrace new initiatives, but actively seek them out and become the source of ideas and inspiration that drives the next round of innovation?

It all comes down to trust. When people start from a position of belief that new products or processes are going to make their life easier they are much more willing to adopt them.

How do you create that trust?  By working with people to identify the things that cause the most frustration, and delivering simple, easy to use solutions that remove or minimise the frustration.  Once you do this, you start to build a relationship of trust where people become more accepting of the next suggested solution, and ultimately you reach a point where not only is change welcomed, but people actively suggest where it can next be delivered.

Not every project can be delivered in bite sized chunks, sometimes there’s no option other than to make a big, significant shift and turn one system on while simultaneously retiring the old.  But if you’ve kept people engaged and informed along the way, and created that environment of trust via the ongoing delivery of other positive solutions, they’re far more likely to embrace the change and make the new system work because there is faith & confidence in the teams’ ability to deliver a good outcome.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator can be viewed as the slow route to the top, but when it comes to making innovation a long term, sustainable part of your business DNA, we’ve found that getting everyone to climb the steps together is the best way to make sure we all make it to the next level.

stairs or elevator

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