Do your relationships limit your innovation?

Is there a short list of people that you turn to when you need to get something done?  After 15+ years in the nonprofit world I’ve built relationships that I depend on. We all have go to people who can help us quickly. But, to foster innovation, we need fresh and diverse perspectives.

Neil Perkin’s blog post “Why Don’t Big Companies Innovate More” struck a chord.  He notes that organizations work on “a well-trodden path to actors already known to each other” to get stuff done. In association’s we are guilty of this. It is easier to work in the system with people who understand what we are doing and our members, and in some cases are already in our financial system.

But, using the same old process will typically get you the same old thing. You need fresh perspectives to create something new. This doesn’t mean you start from scratch each time, you can start with small steps.

Here are four steps that can help you infuse fresh perspectives into your project:

  • Invite someone from outside your organization/market to participate in the planning or at least share feedback
  • Connect with someone doing a similar project in a different field and learn from their experience
  • Ask a colleague who you have not worked with to participate in the project
  • Engage a member(s) and listen to their insights

Infusing your work with fresh perspectives will start you on the path to creating innovation.

One thought on “Do your relationships limit your innovation?

  1. This is so true! Inviting new people to attend your meetings or to provide some input to a project is a way of formalizing that “water cooler talk” that breeds such great connections and new ideas. Plus, people generally appreciate being needed and involved.

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