Organizations have traditionally seen innovation as a process, not the result of healthy collaboration networks. Agile practices scale when people intentionally build human networks across internal and external boundaries. The result is an organization that is infinitely more flexible and responsive to opportunities, challenges and changes. In this state, the organization is positioned to take advantage of opportunities to birth innovation.
A breeding ground for innovation
Agility utilizes the ability of networks to combine and recombine into ever-adapting patterns of efficiency, productivity and performance. In this way, dynamic connections and interpersonal relationships across teams and departments generate network ecosystems that drive innovation while maintaining operational excellence. Instead of sacrificing efficiency and productivity, networks that employ agility help drive a spirit of innovation.
Dynamic connections and interpersonal relationships between people from different teams and departments generate ecosystems that drive sustainable innovation. These networks create agility at the program and portfolio levels. Creating an environment conducive to dynamic relationships should be the goal of the organization.
Executives should seek solutions that design, nourish, and connect existing networks and intentionally encourage new networks. Leaders who can bridge boundaries and build these networks are essential to the agile enterprise. Just as the network approach can repurpose middle managers whose role is otherwise redundant into useful connectors, information brokers and boundary spanners, executives with the skillset to encourage networks are invaluable to the organization.
Optimal organizational culture
Networks change the corporate environment and culture – for the better. When teams of committed people are linked together, the resulting enterprise is resilient, tolerant of experimentation, and able to use creative destruction and creative reassembly to generate a vibrant, inclusive culture. These are qualities that are crucial for organizations that truly seek an innovative foundation upon which to build and scale.
An equal opportunity structure
Creating destruction and reassembly is a new recipe for transformation to agility that amplifies innovation and maintains operational excellence. This recipe is available to all organizations regardless of how they currently operate. Organizations need only to resolve to build an enterprise on the foundation of human networks, whose value is untold, and employ a commitment to harness the potential for innovation.
Key factors driving creative reassembly and leading to agility are:
Organizational networks that intentionally surge leverage these four drivers to transform themselves. With much at stake, and with the realization that agile alone can only take an organization so far, innovation is within the grasp of those willing to unleash the innovative power that human networks hold. Adopting a mindset that runs counter to the traditional theory of innovation as a process, organizations have the opportunity to tap the power of healthy collaboration networks to drive leading edge performance.