Top Tips: Skills for innovation
1. Set clear goals and let these inform what sort of profiles are needed within the team
Setting the goals and purpose of your team clearly will enable you to better understand what sort of profiles are needed to achieve your objectives. What kind of projects are you going to work on? What kind of achievements are you aiming for? For example, on a project where you are looking to develop new ways of working with a range of departments or organisations, you may be looking for somebody very connected with the system, who already has experience and valuable networks. Or those people who have the entrepreneurial skills needed to bring new people on board. The profiles you are looking for need to be connected with what you are trying to achieve.
2. Stay committed to a belief in the idea that things can be better
Successful innovators are able to inspire others with a vision of a better future – which also sustains their own belief in the value of what they are doing. Maintaining focus and a positive commitment will inspire others to join in with your mission and create positive change together. Designers are naturally optimistic and always keen to find new ways around old problems.Your ability to create change will be affected by your attitude to it. Be resilient and remain undeterred by the scepticism of others.
3. Value knowledge of current systems and the ability to navigate them
Being able to navigate existing systems within the public sector is enormously valuable. Knowing how bureaucracy works is an important skill when it comes to understanding how the public sector can develop its capacity to innovate and do new things. Appreciating and building on the enormous expertise and background knowledge in the public sector can help you to make the most of it. Identify the key people who can help you fill in gaps in your knowledge.
4. Nurture self-motivation and emotional resilience
Emotional resilience and the ability to motivate yourself are skills (or perhaps attitudes) that are often mentioned by innovators in the public sector. Emotional resilience helps you to keep going in the face of challenges or delays. And being able to take ownership and stay self-motivated in driving forward your project also encourages others to develop the same attitude.
5. Broaden skillsets by working collaboratively and building communities of practice
Working collaboratively with others, and building communities of practice that broaden your horizon beyond your own team and organisation, is one of the most important ways to broaden your skillset and evolve your practice.
Communities of practice are groups of people who share a common passion and gather together (sometimes in real life, but often virtually) to engage in a process of collective learning. By sharing your experiences and reflections as part of a group, everyone can benefit. Consider starting a community of practice for your sector, region or area of interest if one doesn’t already exist. Experiment with the format and function, giving the group a chance to explore what works best.