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Institutions tend to be lousy innovators.

Why?

Partly, I think, because power-holders don’t put their reputations on the line to push novel ideas. Also, nowadays, because employees are so crazily overworked after decades of so-called ‘productivity’ reforms.

Innovation, like all things, needs permission and a space to thrive.

I stumbled across this nice example of a public corporation that’s doing it right.

South East Water in Melbourne has a board at the entrance to their staff cafeteria that records the passage of staff-initiated innovations from ‘raw idea’ to ‘evaluated’ to ‘testing’ to ‘project’ to ‘success’.

Beautiful!

It’s a conspicuous signpost that says ‘permission to experiment’, and ‘we value your ideas’.

(Thanks to the energetic Rebecca for posing with the board.)

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