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Whole system whole person innovation


So, how do you develop innovation capability?
When many people think about innovation they think about a process when it is in fact a whole system. We also tend to grab at 'tools' to get the quick fix answer rather than do the groundwork necessary to establish robustness and creativity.
Within the innovation system people have a part to play and so do other processes, tools and techniques which all take place within a context.   Systems cannot be separated into separate parts but they do have unusual, often illogical and unintended consequences. Some of these consequences can be put to commercial benefit and become innovations. They are emergent properties of the innovation system.
People themselves also are whole and cannot be separated into smaller parts. They too are not logical and do unusual things in odd ways. these differences are the breeding ground for new ideas, if we can work with the whole person and not manage them as if they are machines, which is essentially what has been happening since the industrial revolution. Even leadership development is often reduced to competencies, assessments, measures and values.
People need to have the right frameworks for thinking and acting and have a context that supports them to do the right thing in the right way - or one that at least accepts that non-rational stuff happens and needs to happen. We are not taught to think in terms of systems or design of processes for purposeful human interaction. Most of our learning and development focuses on critical thinking, not creative and on reduction of problems rather than wider appreciation. both are needed but its the way you harness that which matters.
The key strategic leadership role is to create the right climate and provide a facilitative (or if you prefer a servant-based) leadership paradigm.
The beauty of such an approach is that it is totally scalable and avoids the need for complex processes and frameworks. Instead it focuses on what can be changed and improved. Its about releasing the potential of all that you have and in fact its a lot simpler than many people suggest BUT it does take some determination and work to establish.
The Advanced Problem Solving Partnership is a social enterprise dedicated to releasing advanced problem solving capability to the benefit of all society. We are part of the Creative Problem Solving Group, Buffalo and The Systems Centre, Bristol University.

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