There are plenty of educational theories as well as innovation’s frameworks. However it can be seen that something is not working well when new students and hires arrive full of ideas as well as highly motivated, but in a couple of years, sometimes months, they become automated and bored people who struggle whenever they have to “think out of the box”. In the middle, we have people’s standardization process where curiosity and creativity are discouraged within a rigid framework that disempowered people and led them into a self-preservation state of apathy. On one hand, this is Prussian educational system’s heritage which was born within Enlighted Despotism times. On the other, Taylor’s scientific management and Ford Productive System (FPS) are still big influencers of organizational design and operating models. Firstly, organizations need to understand how to develop the innovation mindset and skills in their people. Secondly, once the innovation capabilities are there it is important to put them in practice through problem solving. Thirdly, organizations must go beyond innovation driven by problem solving and must be committed to look for perfection to drive the continuous improvement process. Let’s review these three elements one by one in order to grasp some insights about how to develop the innovation mindset within organizations. Let’s review these three elements one by one in order to get some powerful insights about how to develop the innovation mindset within organizations.

Learning by discovering knowledge: Aha!

To begin with, innovation mindset and skills are not developed by teaching and imparting knowledge. Moreover, the main goal of the old educational paradigm whether in institutions or companies was not to develop innovative but obedient people. However, today is not enough for organizations that people only follow the rules because in this way they will have not only absolute control of people but also can be sure that innovation will never take place. Therefore, from the onboarding until having fully developed people, the learning curve must be journey not only for the new hire but also for the organization to learn about new possible ways in which activities could be perform. Moreover, instead of pushing knowledge to people, the organization should encourage people to discover by themselves how to do thinks and in the process a new way of working can be developed. Furthermore, it is through the learning process not to its contents that innovation mindset and skills are developed. What is more, the organization should help the new hires to get their “Aha Moments” and in the process the organization itself might have their own by keeping in mind the great quote from Galileo Galilei “Nothing can be taught to a man, only it’s possibly to help him to discover it inside”.

Solving problems on daily basis: Why?

Once organizations enhanced innovation mindset and skills through onboarding and talent development processes, they need to consider how people put in practice these mindset and skills through behaviours and actions within their daily professional routines. Moreover, it is of fundamental importance to create the space and time were people can display both curiosity and creativity to keep them engaged and motivated. Therefore, problem solving is an excellent opportunity to drive innovation within organizations by following Plato’s famous reflection that can be summarized as “Necessity…The mother of invention”. However, the problem-solving experience and outcomes will be heavily reliant on people’s mindset. Whenever there is a problem, something needs to be learnt but first it is necessary to accept the lack of that knowledge to be opened to learn a new thing. Moreover, to solve problems it is necessary to ask “Why?” but the same question can be said and received to attack or justify or in a complete different way like young children ask “Why?” with genuinely curiosity in which case become a powerful question which can help people to have insights and not only solving the problem but also learning something new.

In search of perfection: Why Not?

First and foremost, organizations must develop innovation mindset and skills not through contents but by helping people to discover new ways of behaving and doing. Moreover, new hires’ learning curves are innovation opportunities for organizations opened to learn. Secondly, problem solving can bring innovation depending on how people’s collaboration is driven and the quality of the conversations they have, in which way “Why?” is asked and how the question is received. However, innovation shouldn’t be driven not only by “necessity” and solving problems but also by “dreams” and the desire of being better at individual and organizational level. Therefore, the search of perfection is nothing else than driving the continuous improvement process beyond just problem solving and “necessity”. Nevertheless, it is important to know that perfection can’t be attained, because believing that perfection can be achieved might lead to “perfectionism” instead of driving a perpetual journey of self and organizational improvement. Besides to develop innovation mindset and skills in their people, organizations must provide right leadership and context to innovate either by solving problems or searching better products, services and processes. Therefore, organizations’ leaders must see innovation as an investment not an expense of time and resources as well as an opportunity to “grow” not just as a risk of losing “control”. To conclude, not only leadership but also courage is needed to innovate as Walt Disney stated: “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Thanks for Reading.

Marcelo Sauro is an internationally experienced performance and improvement senior manager. He holds an Executive MBA and Master of Science degrees and has helped people and organizations to transform themselves. Not only he led E2E transformations in Global Business Services, R&D, Supply Chain and Finance organizations at all levels within the LATAM and EMEA Regions, but he is also experienced in several industries including Life Science, Healthcare, Insurance, Fintech, Technology, Telecoms, FMCG, Chemicals, Automotive, Energy and Mining. Since 2015, he has been researching and developing content in agile and resilience through Value Ways, while working under contract for customers such as MetLife, Novartis, Vertiv (Emerson NP) and Experian among others. Previously, he worked for more than 7 years as Master Black Belt for a LATAM-based consulting group, which had ASQ, Qualtec and Oriel as business partners. Prior to that, he worked for more than 10 years at BASF and GSK in positions of growing responsibility in the area of Operational Excellence. Marcelo is currently working at Ferring's “International PharmaScience Center” (IPC) for the Global R&D organization in Copenhagen. To find out more please visit

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