Create A Wildfire

Create a wildfire of enthusiasm. This happens when everyone’s fingerprints are on the Strategic Plan. Turn spectators in your organization into genuine participants, willing to dive into action. HLL’s mission ‘Bushfire’ led by the MD and CEO Nitin Paranjpe inspired 4000 employees to go out into the market for 6 days. They went into 15,000 shops seeking to create perfect stores. The Idea Bank scheme at ICICI harvests the ideas of thousands of employees and provides built-in rewards, for teams that actually ‘tame the wild ideas’ and implement them.

The process over 90 days follows the path of:
1) Creating a wildfire of enthusiasm
2) Stating the problem
3) Generating ideas
4) Incubation
5) Taming wild ideas and Analysis
6) Implementation

Anyone undertaking an Innovation Initiative should be willing to dedicate his time, budget and other organization resources at least for a year.

Those companies, who over the last 20 years have practiced the 90 day plan for innovation have reaped its results. Such innovation stars have been found to have increased market share, higher levels of customer satisfaction and enhanced employee participation. The result is greater profitability. Research shows that most of the CEOs, pay lip service to innovation. A few focus on innovation by the top team. Very few Indian companies commit to a long term Innovation Initiative to build a systematic culture of innovation across the organization. A few trained fast trackers, like the 35 chosen at the Brakes India, Foundry Division, can ensure that innovation practices seep down to the shop floor, building a sustained culture of innovation. The 35 trained innovation leaders create commando action teams around them. All the teams track the core goals of the company. Feedback follow-up and rewards systems ensure the rest. Mr. Narasimhan, CEO, says “Innovation ensures fun in the workplace and excitement. Why should only the Top Management have the fun of “thinking”, while all others just do as they are told.”

“The world is just a gymnasium in which we play; our life is an eternal holiday’
-Swami Vivekananda

First install the positive field in your company, where everybody is full of a joyous, ‘Can do’ spirit. This is the ‘field’ in which creativity and innovation works best. Playfulness enhances great ideas.

The environment of creativity is a supportive and nurturing environment, where everyone feels free to play, to be intuitive and bold. It is the environment that encourages people to be creative, be silly even, to take risks, and to think outside the box. There is around every organization, a field, which is positive or negative. This field begins within the individual.

Each person has within him a field that is positive or negative. The development of an inner field, a mind space that is positive, is key to creativity. Continuously developing and pouring in positive emotions creates a positive field within which, a person interacts with others who bring in their own fields. Those who operate in positive fields suffused with love, compassion, laughter, courage and wonder, are likely to be more creative while supporting others to be at their innovative best. In order to present this concept more clearly. I have used the ancient Indian concept of the Navarasas – the nine emotions.

Learning to enhance the positive field and reducing the effect of the negative field is an important part of creativity and innovation. Thinking out of the box is possible only in a positive field. The positive field is sustained by certain tools and behavior: verbal, tonal and non- verbal. It is a win-win field. Within such a field, all who operate together are enabled and nurtured.

“The essence of creativity is a willingness to play the fool, to toy with the absurd, only later submitting the stream of ideas to harsh critical judgment. The application of the imagination to the future therefore requires an environment in which to safely reflect, in which novel juxtapositions of ideas can be freely expressed before being critically sifted. We need sanctuaries for the social imagination.”
– Alvin Toffler