Innovation in the workplace is something we all want to see more of – IF we even know what we’re talking about! Today’s guest Peter Mulford, Chief Innovation Officer at BTS, is an expert in both the understanding and practice of true innovation. On this episode of Leaders, Bosses and Bastards he busts the myths surrounding what innovation really is, why and where companies need it, and how leaders, in particular, can be notorious for killing it without even knowing it.
Most of what passes off as “innovation in the workplace” is nothing but warmed-over ideas from the past. True innovation has more to do with understanding your desired outcomes and working toward them without the boundaries typical of growing companies. In this conversation, Mickey chats with his friend and colleague, Peter Mulford about the role leaders play in fostering an innovative atmosphere in their team – and how many of them kill innovation when they’re actually trying to foster it. If you’ve ever felt like your team needs to be more creative but don’t know how to get there, this episode is for you.
Peter Mulford says there isn’t any mystery about what it means to be innovative. It’s not a quality one person is born with and others are never going to have. Innovation is nothing more than the habitual discipline of solving problems in new ways. Anyone can do it. Anyone can learn it. And it’s up to the leader to ensure that it’s possible even while the company continues to grow. You’ll get insights from Peter’s years of experience in the field on this episode.
It’s interesting to watch what happens to those flashy, “creative, innovative companies” once they start trying to scale. The creativity and innovation often taper off. Why is that? Because the founder who had the creative vision hands the company over to managers who install the systems and processes that enable the company to replicate its success and provide predictability – but those systems and processes often stifle the very creativity and innovation that made the company special in the first place. Peter Mulford has some suggestions regarding how a company can maintain the innovative aspects of their identity while growing, on this episode.
Many times leaders hear the word “innovation” and break out in a cold sweat. They don’t feel particularly creative and often assume that the job of coming up with the fresh ideas automatically falls on their shoulders. But Peter Mulford says that’s not the case at all. The leader’s job is to enable the culture of the company or organization to foster innovation, to allow the creatives to be creative. When that happens, the company thrives under good leadership and the success of the company increases. This episode of Leaders, Bosses, and Bastards emphasizes how leaders can make that possible.