Innovation and Rewarding Learning
Over on the Lean Blog Mark Graban wrote a post titled Innovation Is as Innovation Does? Besides channeling Forrest Gump, this makes a great point. Innovation is an outcome, but without a process we won’t get it. And that process includes culture, skill, systems, methods, and so on.
Mark makes a point about what behavior we reward and punish.
Does your organization, regardless of what the top leaders say, reward people for coloring in between the lines?…Too many organizations say they want â€œexperimentationâ€ but then people, because of fear, do everything they can to rationalize or justify the experiment as a success, no matter what.
I often say the same thing, that we have to create a culture that doesn’t punish failure in experimentation. However, the more I coach executives on how to do this, what I realize is that it is very difficult to create a culture of a negative, meaning “don’t do this” and “don’t do that.” It is much easier to create a culture that encourages a certain behavior. Therefore, instead of trying to build a culture that doesn’t punish failure in experimentation, I have found it is more practical to create a culture that rewards learning.
What have you found? Can you create a culture that doesn’t punish failure? What’s worked, and what hasn’t?