Nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation
For creative, innovative thinking and application of resources in novel ways
Being Resourceful is the complementary capability to Being Action-Oriented. It is not enough just to act quickly and appropriately; the challenge is to do it in creative, innovative ways that generate best thinking and the novel application of resources, including finding new resources fast if needed. It means individuals and teams thinking and acting like entrepreneurs, and organizations building the capacity for sustained innovation into their core functions. No small tasks! High AR organizations create a culture that supports such thinking and action.
It isn’t alchemy or fortune that generates High AR resourcefulness, but persistent, systematic and focused steps and processes across all four levels. Major companies that consistently generate new products and services work hard at developing the capabilities needed – they develop and nurture good science, great talent management, and solid operations, marketing and support functions. All the pieces are focused on being and staying creative and innovative.
There is too little attention given to a great related concept that describes an important aspect of resourcefulness – bricolage. This refers to the novel use of resources in unexpected ways. It captures the essence of resourcefulness, since severely disruptive change can sometimes force you to react before you can think through the situation fully and marshal the needed resources in a systematic way. Being able to use what you have at hand in novel ways to buy sufficient time may be the best possible way to proceed under such conditions, and fostering those competencies and skills is what this capability is all about.
Approaching rapidly evolving, disruptive events creatively requires building capabilities around a fundamental axiom: diverse and complex environments require equally diverse and complex responses – this has been called the “law of requisite variety”. It is critical that your company develops more than one way of being creative and innovative. That may sound contradictory and obvious, but we have found many companies develop a limited response repertoire – the “one best way” syndrome – which works most of the time in less turbulent environments but may not work very well as the firm confronts more surprises and shocks. We advocate developing multiple response paths or “scripts” that fit different kinds of situations. Most companies have more than one, but they tend to emphasize one. We advocate that you systematically invest in and refine at least four, summarized in Table 7.1 of Mastering Turbulence.