Fairmount InSights
Adela Smith

There’s no easy recipe for innovation, but I’m pretty sure it starts with a big idea. Here are five ingredients for creating an environment where big ideas thrive.

  1. Fearlessness. Make it OK to share any idea. You gotta get through a lot of stinkers to get to the gems. (And to know the difference between the two.)
  2. Critical debate. Encourage open discussion, evaluation and (gasp!) even criticism of ideas.
  3. Diversity of opinions and approaches. Bring newcomers, veterans and unusual suspects together for fresh perspectives.
  4. Experimentation. If you don’t pursue the good ideas, there’s no converting them to impact.
  5. Celebration. Because everyone needs an ‘Attaboy! every once in a while.
Chances are you have a staff member who’s dying to share a big idea or two-elve and maybe even become your CIO—chief innovation officer. With the right mix of these ingredients, you might make a whole team of innovators.