At the core of Nottingham Spirk’s business is a culture rooted in innovation. After 42 years in business, countless product launches, and nearly a thousand patents, John Nottingham and John Spirk’s expertise on this topic has been captured in “Quick and Nimble: Lessons From Leading CEOs On How To Create A Culture Of Innovation” by Adam Bryant. Along with 200+ CEOs, Nottingham & Spirk provide practical advice on how companies can foster creative environments focused on innovation that both engage employees and deliver compelling results.
One example is the index card trick used to avoid the “boss is always right” mentality that occurs when an executive is in attendance in a meeting. Participants are given three, 3″x5″ cards printed with the words “Wow,” “Like,” and “Who Cares.”
“Now you have somebody champion one of the ideas on the wall and talk about why it’s a good idea. When that is done, everybody – at the same time – has to hold up a card, and then you look around the room. Now if after the presentation everybody says, ‘Wow’ well, wow is an emotional word, and you’re going to keep that idea,” said Nottingham. “In these meetings, it’s very important that everybody shows a card at the same time so nobody influences anybody else.”
Another insight into innovation is the need to identify the people who own the project and understand its details from the big picture to the intricate details. “I’ll tell you there’s nothing more frustrating than to sit in on a conference call, and we’ll maybe have three people on our side, and there will be fifteen or sixteen people on the other side of the call…once we kind of figure that out, we have a talk with the company because that is no way to innovate,” said Spirk.
He continues, “We’ll tell them that we need to narrow the team down, and get the key people involved, the ones who own the project. Not just the people who are watching it, but the one who own it. And there’s usually only two or three who truly own it.”
For more insights on innovation techniques, purchase the book here.