Val Armbrust and I learned a great deal while developing innovative solutions like the Accenture Case Insight Solution (ACIS) and the Accenture Virtual Experience Solution (AVEnueS). We’ve been sharing 10 innovation lessons – including the three I’m highlighting in this post.

Use your pivot foot

Ever noticed how organizations have unspoken unwritten rules about how things get done? These cultural understandings drive the way people think and act. So, when you think you have a great idea, you may assume you can just preach it and people will warm up. Unfortunately, that probably won’t be enough to dislodge longstanding organizational mindsets and behaviors.

Innovators must build a lot of “muscles,” and Val and I discovered the most important is your pivot foot. We would start down one path and then run into a “no” – someone who would describe why we could not proceed. Although it was tempting to stop and negotiate, we learned to pivot around them and keep going. We kept our eyes trained on the new and our feet moving nimbly to make the “impossible” possible in the field of child welfare.

Know that new = different

As a species, we find comfort in familiarity. It’s why people continue in places, relationships or jobs that aren’t working for them; it just seems easier.

As you proceed with an innovative idea, it can be very tempting to retreat to familiar habits, behaviors, environments and ways of operating. Whenever Val and I felt the tug of the familiar, we would support each other to press ahead in the new. Ultimately, we became comfortable with being uncomfortable – and that empowered us to persevere with an ambitious new vision (and the innovative technologies that enable it). What made the difference was having an innovation partner with whom we could reflect. She and I supported each other through all the discomfort that comes with change.

Stay the course 

This lesson isn’t just about “staying.” The “course” part matters equally as much. In our case, we were choosing a result we want to achieve: Every kid has a safe and permanent family to call their own. Everything we have done and continue to do is reverse engineering from that.

We know that we can’t let anything stand between us and our results. Sometimes that feels hard for some people, and sometimes it can create conflict. Sometimes the road gets bumpy, but that’s OK. True innovators keep picking themselves and their ideas up and pushing forward. At the end of the day, you have to say: “This is what we are focused on and everything we do has to contribute to that.” It’s that simple.

Follow the links to learn more about ACIS, AVEnueS and Child Welfare offerings, and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Read the next post in this series, ”Innovation: When is ‘Good’ Good Enough?”

Molly Tierney

Managing Director – Public Service, Child Welfare, North America

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