Photo by www.PhotographybyDov.com
Seth Godin presented to a highly-focused audience at the World Innovation Forum this morning. The audience primarily consisted of business men and women looking to take innovation themes and trends back to their corporations.
Godin's advice for corporate innovation is not directed towards corporations, but to the corporate employee:
- Don't be a "factory worker". Be an artist.
- Don't follow the instructions meant for the masses at your organization.
- Your job should be to do something that hasn't been done before.
- Don't be "a bowler" (who can never score higher than 300).
- Job descriptions can always be done by somebody else.
- Obedience is bogus. Companies that prize obedience will fail.
- Competence is no longer a scarce commodity.
- Pay will be based on "insights" as opposed to "ability to follow instructions".
- Give gifts as part of your job (instead of doing favors).
Godin argued that in the past, successful business owners owned "machines" (factories), and thousands of employees worked at them. Godin's claim is that these machines are now laptops. Using laptops to innovate artistically and connect with others is the equivalent of owning your own business.
If Godin's theory can unlock innovation in corporations, what holds employees back from changing their behavior to help their corporations with artistic contributions? Godin's answer: the lizard takes over.
Lizard brains are built to do three things: (1) keep safe, (2) use anger, and (3) reproduce. Humans have a lizard-like part of their brain which continually offers up "resistance" to contributing in the way that Godin suggests. Traditional lizard-like behaviors include keeping the status quo, forming committees and councils, and avoiding any sort of embarrassing situation. Godin admits that doing new, innovative work that matters can be difficult, but not doing anything at all is just an excuse.
Godin was hesitant to offer up "innovation formulas" to bring back to corporations. He stated that there is no map to show people how to get there (because a map is a set of instructions to be followed), but he did say that the "general direction" is to "Create & Invent".
Finally, he left the audience with seven pieces of advice for innovation:
- make art
- give gifts
- do work that matters
- ship something
- make a difference