Vincent Chan has long been fascinated by the extraordinary achievements of the ex-Paypal team and wondered about the reasons behind their success. David Sacks, former COO of Paypal, told him that the secret is that PayPal built a 'scrappy' culture: no matter what problems they faced, they would find a way to solve them. In this article, Vincent explores further answers from past Paypal employees.
In the animated version of ‘Changing paradigms’, creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson defines divergent thinking as the ability to interpret questions in different ways and to see lots of possible answers. However, he observes, the current education system trains children to think in convergent ways: to find one, correct, answer. As a result, the innate capacity that all children have for divergent thinking deteriorates as they become educated.
'Unless the individuals within an organization have a genuine sense of urgency, personal ownership, and an authentic passion for innovation, nothing much will happen,' says Mitch Ditkoff in his blog The heart of innovation. He believes that most organizations squash passion, however, which is why start-ups have a much easier time of innovating.
When your company lacks experience in tools and techniques that can make it more productive, your company has knowledge debt, says Nathan Marz. He believes that companies tend to operate in ways that exacerbate their knowledge debt, by, for example, hiring people with the same skill set as the existing team. Instead, companies should be recruiting for problem-solving skills, programming ability and cultural fit.
In one of a series of articles on 'What are three specific actions that a non-innovative company can take to become more innovative', Mark Pus recommends applying the three I's - introspection, immersion and ideation - to your business. This should give you a 'renewed understanding of your business, its place in the category, your customer, and potential avenues for innovation.