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Crossing the Innovation Delaware
Gregg Fraley -- Best Keynotes on Creativity & Innovation Gregg Fraley -- Best Keynotes on Creativity & Innovation
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Chicago , IL
Monday, June 03, 2019


Hope is a Four Letter Word in Innovation

Hope — the cornerstone of innovation culture

Hope is inspired by successful projects; the lesson of Washington at Trenton

In the innovation space there is a great deal of discussion about mindset. Rightfully so, attitude and thinking patterns have everything to do with setting the table for a productive innovation culture. Leaders and followers with the right mindset have a chance to create and succeed with innovation. There’s a lot to learn about inspiring hope from American history, but before we look at that George Washington “crossing the Delaware” example, let’s examine what mindset means, and let’s see what is systematically left out (hint: it’s hope).
When people talk about mindset, they are usually referring to these items in the Innovation Mindset List:
  • positivism
  • creativity
  • flexibility
  • open-mindedness
  • collaboration
  • thoughtfulness
  • ideas
  • curiosity
  • inventiveness
  • persistence
You need all the attributes on this list to innovate. Absolutely need them all.
But there’s another factor in mindset that is rarely spoken of directly, because it’s assumed. That attitude, that orientation, is hope. Hope. It’s the four letter word that means belief itself.
Hope is unspoken, and yet, if you don’t have it, the Mindset list above becomes moot or impossible to develop. Hope is the first and foremost attribute of an innovation mindset.

How does one inspire hope?

Well, hope is a belief. It’s a feeling of possibility, that, somehow, challenges will be successfully met. When you have hope you believe things will get better and there is a future to look forward to ahead. Inspiring hope is a challenge, and, it can be done.

Inspiring hope is a key role of innovation leadership

Leaders must communicate hope, should take actions that give hope to their followers, and they need to take whatever steps are possible to demonstrate a positive vision for the future. But it can’t be just words.
People are inspired by bold directives, assertions, communications, and by confidence. But the confidence can’t be just bluster, it has to be supported by honesty and authentic vulnerability. If you haven’t checked into Brene Brown and her thinking on vulnerability, you’ve missed a bet as an innovation leader. Vulnerability can inspire hope, but, it can’t be just vulnerability.

Hope is inspired, by leaders who mandate, foster, and support Projects

I’ve said this many times before, but I’ll say it again: Projects are the vehicle to change innovation culture.
Project wins create Hope — and Momentum
If your organization has lost hope with regard to innovation, and you wouldn’t be alone, you can push the reset button by getting a new project started. My advice is to make it small and discreet, but, just big enough to have a measurable impact. As a leader, to inspire hope, you have to get a win under your belt. Even a small win is enough to get people thinking positively and turn around a culture of cynicism.
An example from Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 13.33.20history: George Washington actually lost more battles than he ever won (and in innovation, you’ll also fail, fail, fail).  At a point in the Revolutionary War when morale was quite low and hope was slipping away, Washington made a bold move. He took his army, crossed the Delaware River in dangerously icy conditions, and marched the army 9 miles to Trenton, NJ. There, on December 26th, he surprised an isolated garrison of German mercenaries (Hessians) fighting for the British. The Continental Army won a decisive victory with low casualties. An army on the verge of collapse, and a revolution about to fail, was suddenly turned around.
Washington found a project — and then was tactically brilliant in making it a success. That kind of leadership inspires hope. The impact of this small victory, the Battle of Trenton, was disproportionate — soldiers stayed on longer, new recruits were inspired to join– what was now viewed as a winning effort. The psychological impact was huge — the British were no longer viewed as unbeatable. That’s called hope.

So innovation leaders, how do you cross the Delaware?

What’s the discreet project that creates that disproportionate impact? It’s there in front of you. Make a list of candidates, and select a project. Then, cross that icy river with all the courage you can muster.
Inspiring  hope and innovation is aided and abetted by innovation training. Training is the tactic that supports your projects and eventual success.
Consider a Brown Bag lunch workshop with Gregg Fraley and have operational employees and managers learn more about innovation mindset and specifically how to contribute to innovation. Or consider more extensive innovation training
For assistance with selecting and managing innovation projects, contact Gregg Fraley
Founding Partner
KILN Ideas, Ltd.
Three Oaks, MI