Want Innovation? Think House Renovation!

We all want innovation in our organization.  But how to start?  For a clear path, compare your organization’s innovation to a house renovation.

How Did We Get Here?
Think of where you live.  It’s comfortable.  You know what to expect.  You may not notice that the walls could use some fresh paint and the light fixtures are a bit out of date.  But you can live with it.

The same holds for our organizations.   Some processes take longer than they should.  Our recruitment process has become too complicated.  Or our focus on great customer service is slowly fading. 

But we accept it.  We are comfortable with how our organization works and we know what to expect.

To stimulate change, we need a fresh set of eyes.

Fresh Set of Eyes.

When we move into a new house, or condo, we always want to change the look and feel of the new place.  We paint, replace the carpet, and update the kitchen.   We are the fresh set of eyes.

To stimulate organizational change, we need that fresh set of eyes.  We can’t accept the status quo and need to take a deliberate look at how complicated our processes have become.  And these processes can be external, meaning that they serve the end customer, or they could be internal, meaning that they serve our co-workers.

Process mapping is a great method to bring a fresh set of eyes to our organization.  Mapping breaks down a process into finite steps.  Once identified, look for waste steps that add time or complexity.  When the process is redesigned, it will be streamlined and fit your customer’s needs.

Create a Visual Goal

In a house renovation, we create a mental image of how we want the new kitchen to look.  We can see in our mind the new cabinetry, the new appliances, and the fresh start.

Do that with your organizational change.  Form a mental image of how your organization should look, feel, and act when your innovation project is complete.

Trouble Along the Way

As with any renovation, there will be trouble along the way.  Pulling away the old sheet rock will reveal out-of-date wiring.  Or maybe some termite damage.  What to do?  You don’t abandon the project.  You just modify your path to get to your desired goal.

The same is true with our organizational transformation.  Obstacles will appear.  Co-workers will resist change.  You may have to spend more time on an aspect of the change.  Don’t abandon the transformation.  Just modify your course with the end goal still in mind.

Enjoy and Continue to Renovate (Innovate)

Corporate innovation and house renovation are never ending.  When a project is complete – celebrate the success.  But then turn your focus to the next project. 

Our homes will always need maintenance.  Things break down or become out-of-date.  Continue to renovate and update.

Organizational change is never ending as well.  This is where the term “continuous improvement” comes from.  It is a never-ending task, but your customers and co-workers will thank you for it.


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