The concept of innovation is often overwhelming and organizations struggle with finding a way to start it. Research suggests you should start with creating a compelling vision (Anderson, N., West, M. A. (1998)).
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Jack Welch
A vision will:
- guide and inspire commitment and provide direction
- show potential innovation opportunities
- inspire change and transcend the status quo
- create meaning in workers’ lives
- engage and energize people in the change
“To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.” — Seneca
Creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of society and business. Most organizations are aware of this, but few effectively put it into practice.
Innovation implies change which people, teams and organizations can sometimes find uncomfortable. That’s why vision and leadership are so important, to inspire people to embrace change and work with the challenges coming out of a compelling vision.
Effective innovative leaders create a shared vision and enable their teams to build the vision into reality. A shared vision can start from a clear, personal vision of a leader, but commitment to change ignites when a vision is developed collaboratively.
Developing a shared vision means listening very deeply to your people and stakeholders, understand their hopes and address their needs.
“Vision comes alive only when it is shared” (Westley & Mintzberg, 1989).
Apart from creating a shared vision for your organization, it’s important to design a vision on the process of change itself. How will you bring the vision into reality? What means do you need to reach this? What choices will you make? Thinking this through with the people driving the change is a prerequisite for succesfull implementation.
Visioning often doesn’t get the attention it needs. It asks for sufficient time and reflection. The goal of such an exercise is not to have a nice slogan to publish on your website, the goal is a deep understanding and dialogue about your company’s and people’s future and to ignite change and action.
Visioning is a part of box 1 in the framework for a Design Thinking Culture.