11: Everyone needs time to innovate

Given all the challenges we face in the world, we need to everyone to innovate.  Everyone is potentially
creative and able to bring something new in to the world.  The idea that there two types of people: "creatives" and
everyone else, is but a myth, albeit a damaging one at that.  Up and down an organization, everyone needs time to innovate.

If you're sitting at the top of an organization, or in a position with a high degree of gravitational pull, you need time to innovate.  To get the most out of it, your time spent innovating should take the form of helping other people grow and setting things up to be successful.  Your innovations will deal with setting the stage in the right way for the right things to happen, and with architecting systems, teams, and structures so that appropriate behaviors emerge given the innovation challenge at hand.

If you're working on the front lines of an organization (where some might describe you as being at the "bottom"), you need time to innovate.  Because you are doing the critical work of the organization, you're the most in touch with the people who benefit from its offerings.  You can use the tools of design thinking to start making a difference today in how you make those people feel.  Figure out what they need that you're giving them, make some prototypes, and start testing them.  Cycle though that and improve the way things get done.  It takes time, but the potential benefits are enormous.

Note well that I'm not saying that everyone should be creative all the time.  Far from it: we need people to be executing when they should be executing.  Land that 747 safely, mend that broken leg, receive that shipment of returned goods, and file that tax return.  But for the critical questions of how, let's give everyone more time to make it all better.

This is the eleventh of 21 principles.  I really do appreciate your feedback and ideas.