Month: August 2006

ASAE Annual Meeting: Excellent First Year

Well as we have said before, this was our first year and we are happy to tell ASAE and everybody we personally met that it will not be our last. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to talk to everyone, bounce ideas around, meet new people and experience all the wonderful speakers (which by the way we had the pleasure of travelling back to Chicago with my favorite speaker, Doris Kearns Goodwin). Thanks again to everybody who helped make all this happen and thanks to everyone who made everything so easy!

Innovation learning lab at ASAE 2006

Live blogging here. Excuse the typos and poor grammar.

CEO innovation. “What are you doing to support innovation in your organization?”

– use tools like blogs, wikis to improve information flow.
– looser structure to meetings, open things up to everyone.

Jeff De Cagna:
– CEO is the only person who can make the case for innovation for the org.
– create new things/growth by innovating
– create big goals
– must come from a process
– make it a culture

There are a lot of ideas. how do you foster innovation and filter the important ones:

  1. Imagine – we have to seek out opportunities. have to be looking for ideas.
  2. Ideate – Brainstorming.
  3. Inquire – Get information to make a decision. “99% of information is enough to refer it to a commitee.” <= a joke.
  4. Implement – Doesn’t have to cost alot. And even a 33% success rate is great. Trial and error, etc.
  5. Impact – Measure successes. Innovating is about iteration, evolving.

Using rewards to encourage ideas and innovation is a double-edged sword. Shouldn’t be punishment for ideas. Employees shouldn’t be hindered from or feel afraid to offer suggestions or ideas. Allow people to make mistakes. But make sure they learn from them.

It’s harder to get it right the first time. Plan for failure. Be willing to go into the marketplace with imperfect products – let customers help you improve.

How do you get your CEO on the innovation bus? CEO makes the case to the board, they must value innovation. You have to take it upon yourself to help create a culture of innovation – “be the irresistable force pushing back against the immovable object.” Find people to help your cause – members, staff, whoever. Build a grassroots movement, a network of allies who believe what you believe.

Get funding. 1-3% would be great. There’s room in the budget. Your association won’t fail without even 5%. And might produce much more that than 5%.

Case Study: A distance learning plan at a large org failed. Big time. $250,000 down the toilet.

Make small bets. Invest $1000 here, $500 there. Take small chances. See what works. Even half that $250,000 in small bets probably would have produced at least one or two successful products/services.

Take job descriptions and redesign them to include innovation time; your job is not just what you currently do, but what you will need to do in the future. Innovation doesn’t just include new stuff, but iterations of old products/services. And that can create excitement. Employees don’t necessarily want more work, but if they can use great ideas to improve their work or even simplify it, they’ll sign up.

Must take something off the plate to help create future growth. Get rid of stuff that doesn’t do anything for members. Work on the stuff that matters. Especially for the future.

Process determines what ideas should be implemented. Draw from strategy. Agenda establishes innovation priorities. Turns spending into “investments”. Turns into a system of innovation.

Complaining members get heard from by the staff. Staff are on the ground. Take complaints, make them into new services/improved services.

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