Increasingly, people with job functions that serve an enterprise but have no customer-facing roles are filling up our Innovation Bootcamps. They are being sent to learn new methods, mindsets, and approaches to problem solving. They don't know what to expect when they arrive, but have plans to apply what they learned to create value for their firms upon leaving.
Organizations have learned that when Microsoft's transformation CEO, Satya Nadella, says "innovation is the ultimate source of dramatic improvements in the human condition," it applies not only to products, services, and experiences in the world, but also to their internal systems, machines, and processes.
First, let's look at enterprise-level software and IT people. These days one can look at Microsoft as an example of how innovation can be applied to a large technology company culture as the primary catalyst for real change that creates new meaningful growth and value. Still, we have been flooded with IT professionals in innovation bootcamps who are ravenous for examples, case studies, and proof that change is possible.
After learning the methods, they connect the dots. They quickly calculate how many lost hours--sometimes years--and millions of dollars can be wasted on a software rollout that fails quickly. They understand that the software in question did not solve the needs of the enterprise in a holistic way. In some cases they notice that, while they followed orders, the software solved the wrong needs.
Then, they see that the issue was never properly defined. There was not enough empathy with the internal community who would be using the solution. This kind of waste adds up quickly and can be seen at most large organizations. Investing in a few days of discovery work using the methods of innovation can cure a majority of this waste.
Second, we are seeing more and more plant managers of manufacturing companies come to the bootcamps. On the surface their companies send them to be fair, build up multi-disciplinary teams, and even give them a break from the sameness of their jobs.
But what they learn is revolutionary. Think of it this way: two eras clash and look for ways to work in harmony--all in an instant. These people represent the realized dream of the Industrial Revolution and run best-in-class operations for leading brands already. Now, they learn post-Industrial methods for ensuring you know the people for whom you are creating stuff, so they get the boon of deep context and understanding.
Furthermore, they now feel empowered to invest a few days before building or retooling a multi-million dollar system to ask deeper questions that can positively impact the successful outcomes of the system. Lastly, they see the Innovation methods as a way to better manage the collaboration of their teams.
The take away: Innovation inside the enterprise can create as much or more value as external innovation.