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Sample Innovation Curriculum: Six Programs To Develop Your Leaders And Move Your Culture (And How We Can Help)

Developing The Leaders Of Tomorrow: Six Programs To Develop The Skills And Mindsets Of Innovation

The following are six development programs or workshops offered by Maddock Douglas to our partners and clients to increase the innovation capacity of their leadership teams and, in doing so, begin the shift to a culture of innovation. Each of our programs is rooted in academic research but is conducted by practitioners who have been in the trenches. We work at all levels within the organization, but for simplicity’s sake, divide our larger clients into three categories for our development work: 1) Senior Leadership, 2) Middle Management and 3) All Employees.

If you are interested in having Maddock Douglas support your leadership development and/or culture shift efforts, please reach out using the contact information at the bottom of this article.

For Senior Leaders

1. Align on an Innovation “Burning Platform”
Most executive teams have an intuitive understanding of the importance of innovation and “implicit” alignment in its importance and role. However, sitting underneath are usually a host of biases, perspectives and questions that surface when the pressures that come from innovation bring them to the surface. Questions like:

  • “How important is it really?”
  • “Are we really willing to fail?”
  • “What is the budget?”
  • “How are we going to make sure the tyranny of the urgent doesn’t take over?”
  • “What is our governance structure?”
  • “How will we measure it?”

In this facilitated session and follow-ups, the team will assemble and evaluate the key drivers of where emerging shifts may be affecting their business to determine the case for innovation, and gain specific alignment on why it is essential for the future of the business. The narrative that emerges will harmonize the team in the coming days of change.

For Senior Leaders or Middle Management

2. Creative Problem-Solving Workshops
These are half-day to full-day diverge/converge brainstorming workshops to teach key creative problem-solving skills and to efficiently and effectively pull the best ideas out of teams to solve for a specific business challenge or insight. Includes:

  • An overview of key design thinking tactics, critical mindsets and ground rules
  • Diverge: Creative problem-solving and lateral thinking exercises (one or two), generating as many ideas as possible
  • Converge: Clustering, theming, selection and elaboration of the ideas with the most mind-shifting potential
  • Utilization and practice with lateral thinking tools

Through experiential practice with these techniques, participants learn skills and capabilities around the design thinking mindset and processes that can be immediately brought back for use with their teams.

3. Innovation Leadership Boot Camps
These are full-day to two-day workshops to inspire and empower your leadership teams to adopt an innovation mindset.

  • Part 1: Inspire — Begin with an innovation primer to define innovation and the design thinking process and associated mindsets. Define the role of insights and work through a creative problem-solving and lateral thinking exercise to release the teams’ creative capabilities.
  • Part 2: Empower — Reframe the model of the current operating environment as one characterized by VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). Introduce key mindsets and tools to navigate this new paradigm (learner/knower, victim/creator). Conclude with a second round design thinking ideation session to generate industry-changing ideas.

Inspire and empower your leadership teams to transcend conventional leadership thinking. Create shared understanding and language to help teams in established companies find the creative confidence to pursue more disruptive innovation.

For Middle Management

4. Innovation Antibodies Workshop
Middle management often has the toughest job when it comes to the changes innovation implies in a workforce. Repeatedly asked to do more with less, and then given the additional burden of innovating and driving change, middle managers often fall into the “victim” trap — feeling that between their bosses’ demands and their teams’ needs, they cannot be effective. Building off of the concepts framed in “The Empowerment Dynamic,” this workshop helps to define the nature and roles of the “Drama Triangle” (victim, rescuer and persecutor) and then reframe those roles and practice the Innovator Triangle framework of coach, challenger and creator (innovator). Includes:

  • Detailed explanations of the two frameworks, roles, behaviors and language
  • Experiential learning to practice being in and then escaping the Drama Triangle using innovative thinking
  • Tools and reminders to support ongoing change

The Innovation Antibodies Workshop teaches leaders how to “avoid the drama” and take accountability for their role in it as well as coach and challenge others who may be falling into victim roles and mentality.

For All Employees

5. Culture of Innovation Readiness Assessment
Do you know the current state of your company’s culture when it comes to innovation? Maddock Douglas has created a proprietary survey to take stock of your company’s innovation readiness and measure your culture along six key drivers. Includes:

  • A quantitative tracking survey of the entire employee base to provide a benchmark of current innovation readiness, including extensive qualitative interviews and discussion groups, documentation of verbatims, and analysis of themes in support of describing the quantitative COI survey. Customized share-outs by function/location/leader
    as required.
  • By surveying the organization at all levels, gain a clear and actionable understanding of current cultural drivers, antibodies and innovation capacity by geography, level, tenure and department.

Understanding a company’s unique cultural profile makes the internal innovation readiness gap more actionable. Together we will identify a specific set of interventions designed to reshape the company culture to enable tighter alignment with the leader’s vision of future.

6. Innovation Keynotes/Mini Workshops
Inspiring and empowering keynote speeches (and optional experiential learning sessions) to share innovation perspectives, practices, mindsets and tools.

  • Innovation Primer: This is an entertaining, informative and thought provoking examination of what innovation is and isn’t. Explore the design thinking process, the mindsets and the tools needed.
  • Applying Design Thinking to Individual (and Team) Strengths and Designing Around Weaknesses: Integrating his experiences from the Olympics — both as a competitor (silver medalist) and analyst with NBC — and his current work as SVP of Innovation at Maddock Douglas, John Coyle weaves a narrative around his Olympic success and how it was dependent on an innovation mindset.
  • Flirting With the Uninterested — Innovating in a “Sold, Not Bought” Category: Making the case for change in industries ripe for upheaval (insurance, financial services).
  • How (Not) to Kill Creativity and Stifle Invention: Cultivating a “Culture of Innovation”: Why is culture essential to innovation? Why have so many companies unintentionally stifled it?

A keynote on innovation at a large company meeting can be a great way to kick off or reinvigorate an innovation effort.

If you have an interest in any of these six programs or want to know more about the other experiences, workshops and training that Maddock Douglas provides, contact John K. Coyle at 630-563-6434 or CLICK HERE to email him directly.

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