Often there is no budget for innovation so it can be difficult to make innovation part of everyday life when the bean counters demand that everything is charged to a cost centre.
This is the big dilemma, the trade-off between money and the time that we need to ‘steal’.
As CEO, if you want people to be creative, you must be prepared to implement their viable ideas. Employees will soon work out that your support of creativity is a sham and will hold back on the creativity. After all, what’s the point in making the effort to develop and promote ideas if they just get ignored?
Surely not, I hear you cry, we must get everything nailed down or it will be chaos here! I wouldn’t go as far as chaos but things might be a little different.
Can I suggest that it is not actually ambiguity that is the issue here but you, or perhaps your workforce. Imagine that you have two or maybe three potential courses of action to follow. Normally as a business you might say ‘lets get our strategy sorted and follow it’. You then follow a particular course of action which turns out to be less than fruitful because of some changes in external circumstances.
Let us suppose that your strategy was to keep open several potential options and to keep evaluating them until it was time to make a definite decision. During this period there was a change in circumstances and you selected an appropriate strategy and make a huge profit!
This is not difficult as an organisation but there will be individuals who do have issues with this. Sponsors of innovation projects might be breathing down your neck asking for status reports and they are not keen on your reply of ‘we are just sitting here watching and waiting’.
When asked about financial targets, your reply might be ‘well we are not really sure’.
So you can see that individuals might need some help in living with ambiguity or as I like to call it ‘living with looseness’ but ambiguity can be used to your advantage. Go on give it a try across your business.