Innovation is an Attitude, Not Something on a “To-Do” List

Innovation is not just talking about a single planning meeting or a strategic plan to execute for your company, it's about an approach to work and management that will be woven into your everyday practice and throughout the fabric of your organization.

by Team Tipton

We love the book Reinventing Organizations. If you’ve worked with someone from our team recently, you’ve likely heard us excitedly quoting it or sending you the link to get your copy right now. We use it and refer to it because it details approaches to transformational change in organizations that we believe is possible and that we strive to help you embody – that is to move to a moredynamic, sensing model of management that is able to embrace and respond to what is happening in the world and in your organization in order to get to a better destination.

As we sat down this week to write our blog about Belief Four of our Seven Core Beliefs of a Transformational Change Leader, we thought about the book’s author, Frederic Laloux. Belief Four is: Believe that Innovation is an Attitude, and Not Just Something on a “To-Do” List. This belief is explicit throughout Laloux’s book – he’s not just talking about a single planning meeting or a strategic plan to execute for your company, he describes an approach to work and management that will be woven into your everyday practice and throughout the fabric of your organization.

In the book’s introduction, Laloux frames the heart of his research as a series of questions: “Many of us don’t need convincing that new types of companies, schools, and hospitals are called for. What we need is faith that it can be done and answers to some very concrete questions. The hierarchical pyramid feels outdated, but what other structure could replace it? How about decision-making? Everybody should make meaningful decisions, not just a few higher-ups, but isn’t that just a recipe for chaos? … What we need is not merely some grand vision of a new type of organization. We need concrete answers to dozens of practical questions like these.”

The book outlines how at its heart, the answers to those practical questions come from a habit of innovative thinking. If everything we are doing is sucking away our energy and creativity, how do we reinvent everything we are doing? Thankfully, rather than a giant, overwhelming rhetorical question, the book breaks it down into bite-size actionable approaches and exercises.

Laloux’s commitment to innovation is also implicit throughout the book and on his website and other communication channels. Even the way his book will make it into your hands is innovative – it is self-published and distributed with a pay-what-feels-right model that asks you to read and consider, and then decide what it’s worth. And there is even an illustrated version available for us visual learners.

After publishing Reinventing Organizations, which has sold more than 350,000 copies, he continued to learn from people using his work and from his ongoing research. Rather than publishing another book, however, he is sharing his further learning in a series of five to ten minute videos he believes will be easier to use and easier to share.

In the introductory video, he says,“The insights I share in the videos emerged for me after the book came out, through conversations I’ve had with a number of leaders who are on such a bold journey of reinvention. In these conversations, certain patterns showed up: things that work and things that don’t, typical pitfalls many organizations discover, things we are called to unlearn and relearn.” 

So, Laloux is leading by example here, understanding there is not one single answer to the questions he’s posed and staying open to new ways to learn and new ways to share what he’s learned. And, it’s the new-ness and innovation that excites his passion. Give yourself a little gift and spend some time poking around the videos. In the “Evolutionary Purpose” section Laloux reimagines strategic planning as an ongoing organization-wide “sensing and responding” function that will get even the most cynical among us excited about the endless possibilities.

Frederic Laloux’s book and video series are for leaders who are ready to get creative about how they lead and how their organization works. And Frederic Laloux is a shining example of innovation as an ongoing journey, not as a single waystation on a path to your next rut. From his approach, to his writing, to how he publishes and communicates, Laloux is showing us how innovation can be baked into every aspect of our work to energize us, spark our creativity, and ensure our growth.

Until next time!

All our best,

Team Tipton


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