The world of business is increasingly becoming more VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). Leadership is now more of an adventure on the brink of uncertainty than a steady task of maintaining status quo. Surrounded by unprecedented levels of flux and change in the environment, managers who fail to innovate are finding themselves stuck and frustrated. Their brains are trapped in paradigms that keep them wedded to the past and unable to see or create future possibilities.
The ability to innovate is critical in all facets of business and this trend is only going to get stronger in the years to come. While innovation in technology is mostly at the frontiers of this change, the cascading effect of this is the need for innovations in business strategy, organizational structure, management styles and the nature and design of work itself.
A decade ago researchers were debating about whether innovators are born or made. Today however, research from neuroscience and positive psychology has proved beyond doubt that our brains are plastic, implying that mindsets and attitudes can be learnt, unlearnt, cultivated, and developed – but we need the right tools to do that.
Join me for an intensive power packed two day program where you will learn tools that will help you cultivate an innovation mindset. Tools that will enable your brain to think like an innovator so that you are no longer afraid of change, rather your brain is continuously on the lookout for how you can make things better – for yourself and for others.
Day 1 – Morning: Unleashing the Power of Questions
Asking questions is fundamental to innovative thinking and most of us are pros at asking questions as children. However many of us lose touch with our natural sense of curiosity as we grow older and we get socialized into a way of thinking where the ‘right answer’ becomes more important than questions. In this session we revisit the lost art of asking questions. Participants will learn a technique called Question Storming, which is a powerful way to consciously generate provocative questions in a given context. Not all categories of questions are the same when it comes to innovation and participants will learn to distinguish between ‘why’ questions and ‘how’ questions. We will also use a tool called the choice map to introduce participants to what is known in management as ‘question thinking’ and through that explore the differences between learner questions and judger questions.
Day 1 – Afternoon: Overcoming the Fear of Failure
The number one impediment that stops our brains from thinking innovatively is the fear of failure. Innovation involves change, involves risk, and demands a willingness to venture into the unknown and experiment with possibilities not tested before. Fear is a natural and evolutionary reaction in such situations but the good news is that it can be managed. In this session participants will learn about how fear influences the workings of our brain by distorting perception, information processing and sensemaking. However they will also learn practical tools from the field of positive psychology that can be used to offset the fear of failure so that perception can be broadened in order to access a wider range of possibilities than are otherwise inaccessible when under the grip of fear.
Day 1 – Evening: Networking Dinner
Day 2 – Morning: Leveraging Appreciative Inquiry
Appreciative Inquiry engages stakeholders in self-determined change through a practical process that combines the power of asking the right questions along with an attitude of appreciation. Participants will experience the power of discovery interviews and realize their potential to generate interesting, and often previously untold, stories related to the focal topic. They will learn how to leverage these stories so that they become a spring-board to creativity and innovation. Appreciative Inquiry revolutionized the field of positive organizational studies and through this session participants will learn how it can also be used to consciously foster innovation in themselves as well as for others – in both individual and team contexts.
Day 2 – Afternoon: Practising Integrative Thinking
Integrative thinking is the ability to constructively face the tension generated by opposing solutions and instead of compromising or choosing one at the expense of the other, generate a creative resolution through the creation of a brand new idea that is superior to either.
The capacity of holding two opposing ideas in fruitful tension, without panicking or simply settling for one alternative is fortunately a skill or mental discipline that can be learnt. In this session participants will learn tools and mental habits that they can use to cultivate an ‘opposable mind’ for themselves so that they can use an integrative thinking approach to come up with innovative solutions to seemingly wicked problems in their businesses and lives that appear to have no readily acceptable solution.
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