CEOs and conscious innovation

CEOs and conscious innovation

In October 2016, 200 business leaders met in Austin, Texas, at the tenth “CEO Summit” of the Conscious Capitalism movement, to reflect on and talk about the search for self-confidence and humility as fundamental characteristics of a leader. We had the privilege to give a presentation on Conscious Innovation at this meeting.

We know that in the ever more complex and volatile contest in which we live, innovation has become the principal path for companies to grow and be successful on the market. And more innovative companies receive a “premium” from the market: their brands are more recognized, they attract the best talents and business partners and receive more money from their investors.

Innovation is a natural expression of human consciousness. We are all born creative, but as we grow, we hide this capacity and mold ourselves according to the education system, and later the professional world. We often stop being authentic and expressing our best ideas. The question is how to recover this original creativity that we all have, and create products and services that generate value on the market.

So, how can we create an innovative organization? How can we create an environment in which people are motivated to do their best, and collectively create new things?

Conscious innovation emerges from the combination of a co-creative frequency and a method that generates insights (see graph below).

The way we think, relate to others, learn and organize ourselves in a company creates, or pushes us away from, a creative frequency. When people feel that a company has a daring purpose, their ideas are welcome, there is an environment of collaboration and trust, and they can experiment (and even make mistakes), then they are willing to contribute and to build something different together. It is as if there were a special energy in the air, a frequency that favors innovation.

At the same time, using a structured method to generate insight is fundamental. This method, inspired by Professor Claus Otto Scharmer’s Theory U, begins with a critical question for the business. Next, it moves on to a journey to see and feel, with open eyes and hearts, the broader context of the question, identifying market signs and patterns. An in-depth dialogue (with moments of silence) favors the birth of collective insights. The next step is to transform these insights into prototypes and to experiment, without the fear of failure, until the best solution is found for making innovation a reality on the market.

You can also consciously design your company for innovation: tune your organization into this frequency and use the method proposed to transform the human creativity that is already there, dormant, into value for the market.