Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Networks Fuel "Minn-ovation"

"To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need. Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination, and initiative in deriving greater or different value from resources, and encompasses all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products."
                                                  - "Innovation." 2012. Web. 15 November 2012

Innovation should not always be equated to a grandiose product or service that takes a business to the next level. Rather innovation is more often in the form of micro bursts (which never get the press they deserve) that bring value in even the smallest of situations.

The need for speed

The real winners in the 21st century will be those who can navigate the chaotic and complex quickly. To do this, people must be problem solvers and critical /creative thinkers. Euan Semple (@Euan) in his book Organizations Don't Tweet, People Do made a strong point that an entrepreneur within an organization (Intrapreneur) should work to release Trojan mice - or small uses of social media to garner interest and results. These tools, by expanding connections and collaboration, help to solve problems faster. Furthermore, when people reach outside of their org using social tools to find solutions, they can share their results and the approach helping propel tool adoption; making a stronger case for support of deeper, external networks.


Earlier this year a key director sought my assistance in a presentation she was planning.  With only 2 days to go she lacked sound equipment to project her voice to over 40 people and thought I had a quick solution.  I did not.  Rather than pay (a highly inflated) price to rent equipment at the venue she simply wanted to plug a mic into her laptop and project out a set of auxiliary speakers.  The problem was - its not that easy. But could it be done? I set out and took the natural course of action - I dialed up the IT department and discovered that they hadn't a clue.

I then Tweeted the request to my PLN and in about 18 minutes Dave Havis (@dochavis) in the UK replied with a series of tweets on how it could be done as he, using Audacity, had a misstep once and discovered his voice coming through the speakers.   About 20 minutes later he had produced the following for me:

I sent a link to the Director and boxed up a wireless mic and receiver. She set it up, executed the meeting, and it went off perfectly.

The effort was small in a business sense, but innovative none-the-less as it saved time, money, and frustration. And the participants experienced a more effective event. Win-win.  My immediate response for this success was to credit the social tools and the network it fostered as the solution is terminal but the ability to generate solutions in the future - perpetual.

Networks drive continuous minn-ovation and minn-ovation matters. This is how work gets done.

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