As I wrote this title, I thought: Keywords.

Innovation. Continuous Continuous Improvement. People. Engagement. Intrinsic Motivation. Team Building. 

And I also thought Connection. How all these things are connected and how they all play a part in the process of organizational improvement and intrinsic motivation. What happened was that I was engaged in a thread on innovation in LinkedIn’s Innovation Excellence group (join it!)

And Square Wheels. Opportunities for innovation are everywhere…

SWs One - How Things Work

There was a discussion on Should Individuals be More Accountable for Innovation? (link to blog is here) that got me thinking. Of course individuals are involved in the thinking around innovation but should they be held accountable for it or should they merely be more engaged and involved IN it? It is an interesting discussion. Yet it also got me thinking about Engagement, or more precisely, my thoughts on Engagimentation – the combination of engaging people and implementing ideas and improvements.

So, here is what I posted to the group:

Innovation. Yep. All People ALL the Time!

I never worked in innovation or creativity with the organizational development work I have been doing for 30+ years. Never called it that. We always focused on things like performance improvement and best practices, customer service, profitability and motivation of the intrinsic kind.  But it was always focused on people and performance.

The “top performers” do things differently than everyone else — basically because they do things differently! But getting more people more involved was always the challenge.

From all this stuff, I evolved an approach that generated involvement and engagement, made it okay to throw mud at the wire fence to see what ideas for improvement might exist, etc. We got groups involved in working together to do things differently.

Now, this is all framed up in “team building games” that one does to generate a sense of camaraderie and collaboration (All of us know more than ANY of us!) and the reality that different eyes see things differently and different hands do things differently. If we can capture those engaged individuals’ energies, we can accomplish a lot more.

Thus, my drift into “innovation” as part of improvement. While some think Quantum Leaps and Big Jumps, I think more continuous continuous improvement (Dept. of Redundancy Dept.) and about trying to involve and engage individuals and teams into looking for ideas and ways to make improvements and do things differently. Ideas seem to come from everywhere and link to everything…

So, now I tend to use cartoons as Rorschach Inkblots and let people see what they see and talk about what they feel is important.

If only we can get more supervisors to be more facilitative in their areas and generate more inter-departmental collaboration. That’s my new focus…

I really see the issues surrounding so many organizational issues to drop right on top of the shoulders of the supervisors. HR cannot do innovation, other than a workshop or two, and managers are too isolated. Sure, P&G can have 8,000 R&D people and roughly 4,000 engineers all working on innovation (from the blog article above) but that is because they ARE about innovation. For most companies, everyone needs to be an innovator, be it for process improvement and productivity purposes or for product improvement. It is the front line employee who is listening to customers and their issues (opportunities for improvement?).

After all, good ideas for improvement can come from anywhere and everywhere and often from unexpected places where people are thinking differently:

Stupid Duh Dumb Guy Improvement green

HOW do we improve the facilitation skills of the supervisors to involve and engage people to be more intrinsically motivated and to help improve all aspects of how the organisations perform?

How can we get there from here? And STAY there in that high performance state?

Brainstorming easel pad green

Answers must include The Supervisors!

Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
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