Top Tips: Organising for innovation
1. Leadership (at all levels) plays a crucial role in enabling innovation
Find great sponsors who are in the right places to champion growth. Sponsors are generally senior decision-makers with the authority to be able to make top-level decisions on implementation or allocation of resources. If you’re at a stage where you’re seeking to grow and scale up, then you’ve likely already gone through the process of building advocacy, perhaps finding sponsors for a specific project. But when it comes to growing your capacity, you now need to identify sponsors at a higher level, or even beyond to your organisation or team, who have the power to enable the scale of change you want.
2. Demonstrate success with real outcomes and impact
Use the evidence that you’ve gathered over the course of the projects you’ve already worked on to build a case for design. Show the outcomes and the real value that they represent, both in terms of value for money and value for citizens. How do these outcomes improve on what was happening before? How are the benefits transferable to other areas or projects across the organisation?
3. Take every opportunity you have to embed design
Small projects can have a big impact. Be on the lookout for opportunities to demonstrate what you can do and how things can be improved. Smaller opportunities are a good chance to show how differently things can be done. For example, if there was a project to engage citizens on a particular topic, you could offer to share some design tools around user interviews or observations, and suggest that the department could let you partner with them in this process. Some leaders will walk away with their eyes opened to a different way of engaging. Others may want to move on to a bigger project.
4. Aim to change people’s mindsets
Remember that one of the of the outcomes you are looking for is cultural change as you spread a design approach. This means encouraging people to think differently and changing their frame of reference, rather than just the tools they use. Talk about the design process in terms of outcomes. Try to change people’s habits when talking about their programme, and even the language that they use.
5. Create ‘change agents’ to spread new thinking
You don’t need to pitch your idea to everyone. Create change agents – people who understand what you are doing with design thinking and can formally or informally introduce this practice where they work. Peer-to-peer communication can have a strong impact because it builds on existing levels of mutual trust and respect. Change agents can also translate new thinking into language and examples that resonate with their particular context.