I have always had a passion, no make that a fanatical compulsion, to innovate. To some this spirit is inspiring. To others it’s their worst nightmare.
After graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maine I went to work for Procter & Gamble in their Brand Management department in Cincinnati. My first boss, Barb Thomas said of me, “Were there times I wanted to strangle Doug? Absolutely. He was what I call a high-maintenance subordinate. You had to watch him like crazy. He’d be nodding at what I was saying, but his mind would be somewhere else. Linear he’s not. He sees the same thing you see, but from a different perspective.”
My passion to do things differently, smarter, faster, more creatively was the key to my success at P&G. It was how my small team created and shipped 9 innovations in 12 months. What I didn’t know until recently was that to many leaders of P&G, Passion was the key to making really big ideas happen. During my tenure I had many mentors. One of them was John Pepper who had a 39-year career at Procter & Gamble and served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman from 1986-2003. John recently posted a story on his blog that explained in an indirect way – why he and the company were so supportive of non-traditional ways…John wrote…
I have often told the story of how I responded to a young P&G employee’s question of how she could make a difference in such a big company, filled with so many smart people. I told her:
Find an idea which you believe can make a big difference.
Learn all you can about it, get help from other experts, seek evidence it will work,.
Go to whomever has to approve it and present it WITH ALL OF YOUR MIND AND ALL OF YOUR HEART.
Be prepared even having done that extremely well for the first answer to be, “but we tried that before”, or “we can’t afford this right now”.
This is the “moment of truth”. You need to listen carefully. Maybe the idea isn’t as good as you thought, or maybe you’ve heard something that can make it better, but also MAYBE THIS IS A BIG IDEA YOU JUST NEED TO KEEP COMING BACK WITH MORE EVIDENCE AND MORE HEART. For I told the young woman, this is the only way I have seen really big ideas happen.
Reading John’s story – I suddenly realized how much his support and that of other P&G Mentors had impacted me. Without realizing it I had built it into the DNA of the INNOVATION ENGINEERING field of academic study and innovation leadership science..
I was blessed with visionary mentors – who “got it.” However, sadly, not everyone is so lucky. With Innovation Engineering we provide education and systems that enable innovation by everyone, everywhere, every day – we make it possible to activate passions!
NEW NEWS: In discussions with company leaders we find that no one – and I mean no one – disagrees with the need to find ways to work faster, smarter and more creatively. However, at least 85% of executives are stressed with short term pressures. As one senior leader said “Doug, I just can’t afford to disrupt the business at this time.”
In response to these very real short term pressures that they feel the Innovation Engineering community have identified 5 ways to ignite innovation without causing DISRUPTION TO THE ORGANIZATION! – YES – now it’s possible to do the right thing for both the short term and long term RIGHT NOW!
This Wednesday I’m doing a webinar at 12:00 NOON EST to explain how you can get your organization started with igniting innovation WITHOUT CAUSING DISRUPTION!
To register click on the link below
Importantly – register even if you can’t attend – as we’ll send you a link following the webinar so you can watch when you have time.
Have fun this week. Remember – life is too short to be miserable – do cool SH#$ that matters!