Fostering an open innovation culture

I’m currently facilitating an accelerator program. The main aim of this program is to spread open innovation culture within an organization, that is: to unlearn that the best ideas come from within your own org and to tap into the potential of the brightest minds and experts outside your bubble.

The product owner for the accelerator was adamant in who got to join the accelerator team, where drive & curiosity were his main selection criteria. Being an expert on the subject matter of the program was less or even not important. Now, a couple of months into the program and having faced & overcome several hurdles with these team members, got me thinking about what makes a high performing team.

Enabling a psychological safe environment for team members to share their ideas is often quoted as one the major factors for high performance. I agree and I’d say for an open innovation project it also boils down to how well team members are able to handle working in uncertainty. In an open innovation project like this accelerator program, you don’t know beforehand what the outcome is going to be exactly. And it takes a certain type of personality to persevere and thrive under this condition. This ability is called the negative capability: being comfortable with uncertainty. For a concise read on successfully innovating and their teams have a look at this HBR article.

Image Credit: Andy Roberts in HBR Article

And, if you’re ready to go all the way for a high performing organization, I recommend to check out ‘Courageous Cultures’ by Karin Hurt and David Dye on best practices to create strong cultures and enable employees to share their best thinking.

Curious to know, do you consider beforehand the nature of a specific project/program and what team to put together for optimal results?