Innovating Through Artistry

Even the Fed is getting on the Innovation Train

In Author: Adam Shames on September 15, 2009 at 11:19 am

Recently I stirred up a little innovation at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, initially surprised to beAdam fed art hired by them and then even more surprised to learn of their ongoing focus for leaders: To stimulate their right, creative brains to keep them thinking differently and staying ahead of the curve. Here’s an artist’s rendering of me in action (right) during an evening program on collaboration and innovation.

Last year their officer retreat included a keynote by right-brain advocate Dan Pink. This year it was Roch Parayre, a Wharton professor and strategy consultant, whose focus was on peripheral vision, drawn from a book of that name written by his consulting colleagues, subtitled “Detecting the Weak Signals that will Make or Break your Company.”
Both Roch and I shared an emphasis on changing the cultural mindset to one that is more proactive rather than reactive, which for the Chicago Fed means to be able to see beyond their regular vision to anticipate change, notice red flags and react quickly to new trends.
The more instability and uncertainty in the outside world, Roch explained, the more right brain we need. He urged the Fed to develop a more experimental mindset of a learning organization, which means to be:
>more inquisitive and externally focused
>more experimental and innovative
>more able to share information and be fluid
>more rewarding of risk-taking
>more reliant on cross-functional teams
These are unquestionably the characteristics of more innovative organizations, and I was pleased to see the Fed heading in this direction. The train continues to move, so the more companies that can get aboard, the more equipped they–and all of us–will be to keep up with the speed of change.

For more from Adam, go to his Innovation on my Mind blog.

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