I am proud to share that I am joining Alcatel-Lucent’s TLC (Technology Leadership Council). This is an initiative spearheaded by our technical leaders in the Midwest. TLC members are asked to cross organizational boundaries for the purpose of:
- sensing early game changers and the paradigm shifts shaping the industry
- exposing impactful concepts whether prompted by research, entrepreneurship, emerging as well as evolving techs
- inspiring inventiveness focusing on incremental and disruptive innovations
- encouraging collaboration taking advantage of proven and unconventional know-how, tools, practices and workstyles
- experiencing an enthusiastic environment where peers and communities can do and achieve more
TLC is set to initiate and coordinate knowledge sharing activities for our technical community. This effort leverages ALTA’s (Alcatel-Lucent Technical Academy) heritage given the Midwest’s chapter’s impressive track and participation record.
Interestingly enough, I was jotting an outline for a manifesto on innovativeness, when I received the news on my membership. This early draft version lists my thoughts under not yet labeled buckets to begin with and I will welcome feedback:
- Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum” has been replaced by “I share, therefore I am” which is defining a new generation’s culture and workstyle. In an increasingly connected world, the seed for a good idea can come from interacting with anyone’s thinking and experiences, anywhere and at unsuspected times. Inspiration and networking coupled with serendipity are worth fostering as they can lead to fortunate events and sudden discoveries. Though, serial innovation and repeated success usually take the purposeful work of open, curious and trained minds that scout and create value.
- Creativity’s workflow can alternate cycles of unconstrained thinking uncovering new opportunities, followed by applied constrains which make problem solving a more tangible and manageable task. Both unconstrained and constrained thinking allow for innovativeness to flourish. This thought process also calls for zooming out and diving in as needed, broadening and contracting an ideation and prototyping project’s scale and scope in the process.
- Elegant sophistication beats complexity, distracting clutter as well as the kind of self-defeating oversimplication that undermines value. Simplicity is an abstraction and, as such, it is a function of essence, clarity and beauty where “less is more.”
- An individual’s vision, intellect and tenacity makes a decisive difference. But it takes partnering, teamwork and leadership to make things actually happen. Defining success and plotting a course conveys a vision that is attainable in the mixt of challenges. The journey shifts course and speed as targets move and success looks different from what was assumed at the start point.
- “Do it once, do it right” is a must in certain and controllable environments, where automation and operational efficiencies are key. Exploration, prototyping and iterative development entail room for experimentation and, therefore, a calculated tolerance for risk and failed attempts. Continuous improvement learns from failure, delivers early success stories that build momentum, and pivots to quickly adapt.
- Synergies are worth pursuing only if common platforms and/or blending resources result in leaner and faster, rather than bloated and slower, systems. Reaping the benefits from cross-pollination, adjacent opportunities and accidental innovation do not need to be left to chance.
For simplicity sake, I started this outline thinking that just framing 3-5 leading behaviors would do the job to being with. But, interestingly enough, late last night I ended up listing 10 concepts as part of this first version of my model, which I will further develop in subsequent writings.
Vision – outlines far-reaching and game-changing insights; defines new value shaping future opportunities; clarity gives the project a purpose and a given sense of direction.
Motivation – envisions rewards and provides the inner drive coupled with the force to get the project off the ground.
Habit – consistent practice; endurance gives our habits staying power and momentum without involving further thoughts and decisions.
Discipline – it takes willpower to make progress in the face of setbacks, occasional negative self-talk and emotional rollercoasters.
Passion – focuses on compelling convictions framing positive outlooks; a believe system injecting enthusiasm and the kind of intensity that is needed in defining moments.
Creativeness – leverages analytical skills that connect dots unveiling new unconventional solutions; some entail simplicity while other yield elegant sophistication.
Resourcefulness – helps assemble what’s needed to get the job done; specially in crunch time, under pressure and when operating under hardship.
Collaboration – all individuals should feel and be empowered to make a difference, while understanding that it often takes teamwork and partnerships to make things happen.
Agility – this is about staying nimble all the way while setting the pace, striking trade-offs, course correcting, adapting and morphing as needed.
Entrepreneurship – risk taking spirit behind exploring and venturing on new journeys, often going well beyond one’s comfort zone in the mix of uncertainty.
While these 10 terms are set in some logical order, the fact is that innovating is a dynamic endeavor, one that can be highly volatile. The implication is that different stages and situations require different mixes and dosages of these attributes. What makes us smarter is (1) our ability to figure out what actually applies best in a given context as well as (2) engaging in a continuous improvement mindset.
If interested in the this topic, chances are you might already be thinking of stuff that seems to be missing. There are more key items that matter such as leadership. As an example, this topic can be addressed in terms of resourcefulness and collaboration just to begin with. This type of frameworks are reference models designed to structure the start of a meaningful discussion. That leaves you in charge of what the actual thought process and conversation should be about, and how deep one must think thru and go into any given subject.