I once worked on an initiative that was destined for
greatness. We were building a cutting edge internal network in a global
organization and our timing could not have been better. Our staff
members around the world were clamoring for greater connectivity. We
brought in the best of the best. We had highly paid, well-recognized,
and experienced experts applying their best.
And yet it flopped. It failed in a big way. We built it and they did
Meanwhile just down the hall another, less dramatic effort was going
on. A single man with no budget was cobbling together bits and pieces
of other people�s efforts with unique ideas of his own to create a
different way of doing business. The organization was the World Bank
and my future boss, Steve Denning, was putting together its first
successful Knowledge Management initiative.
Steve’s work was all about engagement. He was an expert in creating
interest, traction. These are human activities that get to the root of
solid change. Working as a member of the small team Steve assembled, we
built 120 communities around the globe that worked together on what
they were most passionate about. That was the secret of our
success, their passion.
This was my first big lesson in what it takes to get innovation right.
It is not enough to have a great idea, bring in experts, strike at the
ripe time, encourage creativity and freewheeling experiments, hold a
tolerance for mistakes and failures, play, or cultivate intuition and
curiosity. To succeed you must involve
people in what they care about most… that is how you get traction and
but in ourselves.