Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks?

What do you do when your company has all of the right components and yet some major part of its infrastructure is falling behind?  Everything is as it should be, “InfoMe” is a company with stellar competencies, world-class research, development and marketing and a team of leaders deeply devoted to the growth of the company. Yet, the company is still plagued by some prior organizational problems and an inability to come up with new products.

Like teaching an old dog new tricks, innovation can not be a one time change because the patterns, habits and structures that are in place have already existed long before. In this situation a company with all of the great components was stuck in its old ways and teaching “new tricks” was going to be difficult. Corporate-wide innovation was needed but to start the innovation implementation, key challenges needed to be identified. With Jeff’s help, “InfoMe” was able to analyze its major factors for improvement by identifying the three organizational key facets-purposes, practices and people.

The first change in the old way was creating a pro-innovation culture, this included experimentation and leadership that would help facilitate these processes. Once the framework started to take place the company saw deep pockets of innovation and creativity. However, some of the old habits of organization still remained. The problem was finding a way to integrate innovation into the fabric of the firm without trying to recreate every aspect of the business. Or as I like to put it, being able to teach an old dog a new trick instead of buying a puppy and starting from scratch.

In order to make this happen Jeff outlined a series of steps that needed to take place. Some steps are sequential, others simultaneous, but selecting and developing key leaders who could handle such a process became the most important factor to making innovation happen. When we go back to the analogy, it is less about the dog in this situation and more about the trainer’s ability to innovative and find new ways to teach the animal.

After some time the different components of “InfoMe” began to develop a comprehensive vision that would be implemented into the companies overall strategy. This of course was not without its own challenges, but through Jeff’s guidance, the company was able to creativize itself in all new ways.

But before this could ultimately happen Jeff expressed the importance of stopping after each step and evaluating what was happening, where the company was headed and what worked best. Through Jeff’s help “InfoMe” was able to realize the necessity of learning as you progress and developing an approach in real time as you go along.

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