4 key ideas to preserve innovation at the heart of the organization
Rémi Zunino
Rémi Zunino

4 key ideas to preserve innovation at the heart of the organization

Innovation is a buzzword. For five years. At first it was a word reserved for tech, startups and researchers. Now, everyone only thinks about staying innovative: innovating is a matter of survival now for all organizations regardless of their size.

Especially if they weigh a lot and young companies have started to take some market shares from them. Last Friday, we had the pleasure of speaking at the Café Connect from the BPI HUB organized approximately every two months.

Their aim? Treating a specific problem of informed open innovation by an expert and feedback from professionals. The expert this Friday was no less than Nick Leeder — a “leader” name cannot be invented — the CEO of Google France. The three invited professionals were Laurent Choain, Chief People and Communication Officer at Mazars, Philippe de Chanville, founder of the startup ManoMano and Valérie Rocoplan, director of Talentis.

And quite logically, it didn't take long to get to the heart of the matter: men. Here are the 4 key ideas we took away from this event.

1. Fail Faster

Today at Google, there are 65,000 employees, 3 algorithm changes and 25,000 video conferences per day. So they are no longer the startup they were eighteen years ago. However, according to Nick, staying innovative is vital: disruptive technologies emerge every 2 or 3 years, and even at Google, you can be quickly overwhelmed. Failure in tech is not inevitable, on the contrary. A very Anglo-Saxon concept that of failure turned into a learning opportunity.

As Henry Ford said so well

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

So at Google, we've made failure a skill: the ability to do it quickly.

Dr. Astro Teller — decidedly, they have predestined names at Google — the person in charge of the secret projects laboratory GoogleX says it very willingly: failure is rewarded, sometimes even by a promotion, as he considers it a source of learning (Do not hesitate to reread this excellent portrait of this gentleman written by Le Monde)

“One thing I always say to my teams: no matter what the difficulties of a project are, you won't be able to avoid them. But you will always have a solution to solve them, one way or another. And to choose the best path, you have to take the solution where the learning potential is greater.”

Yes but there is failure and failure. Anyone who calls his teams “Peter Pan with a doctorate” is also an innovative manager: allowing failure means accepting mistakes and being on the wrong track. It means opening up the fields of possibilities and then trimming down as you go. Being innovative is ultimately the one who will prune as quickly as possible, often by failing...

2. Innovation is therefore first and foremost a question of management (and not of resources)

As Nick Leeder explained to us, “googliness” is a skill identified at the time of recruitment: the ability to be in parity, to evolve with others and to demonstrate leadership. It is also for this reason that Google invests so much in the well-being of its employees and has imagined such open offices. Creating living spaces makes it possible to promote and develop a maximum of contacts between people, promoting the emergence of collective intelligence. Nick Leeder summarizes it very well: “the culture transmitted by managers is the first factor of innovation”. What Valérie Rocoplan is based on, in all the companies that Talentis supports, in all the companies that Talentis supports, the manager is often at the heart of innovation approaches that work because he is the bridge between the vision and the teams.

3. Sharing the power

The manager is therefore the first element of a culture of innovation in an organization, regardless of its size. Nick Leeder ends his talk with this sentence

The manager must accept that you cannot control everything and let ideas emerge.

This is just as much the point of view of Valérie Rocoplan, who bridges the gap with leaders who first agree to work on them, as that of Laurent Choain, HR Director of Mazars, who invite organizations to move from a leadership model that values the individual hero to that of “shared management”. As Valérie reminds us, it is now complicated to promote collaboration in companies and to continue to evaluate people only on the basis of individual objectives. A real revolution in assessment interviews must be carried out... It is difficult to talk about innovation and power sharing without talking about the famous Generation Y in a very simple way: “Generation Y must be allowed, not passed on”

4. Give regular feedback

Laurent Choain mentioned a concept that we really liked: OBSE, organization-based self esteem. Does the organization develop, destroy, or not influence your self-esteem in any way? Do the people who make up a team believe in their ability to succeed in what they do? Feedback is an important and powerful tool in a culture of innovation. Philippe de Chanville then gives us his point of view as a startup boss. According to him, we continue to engage people by constantly repeating the vision, the WHY and by leaving a top-down model in which we tell people what they should do and how. (Don't miss Simon Sinek's very famous TED Talk on this subject)

It was a great event and the place lends itself perfectly to this kind of thinking. You can find the summary of the tweets from the conference here. Feel free to stay up to date with the Hub's programming here.

Finally, our first Happy Morning of the year takes place on February 18 on the theme of HR transformation!

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