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To Innovate, You Need To Be Innovative

When a company fails to innovate, it’s quite easy to assume they failed because of a lack of ideas or creativity. While this might be somewhat true, it’s not a case of lack of ideas. Ideas, in reality, can be easily found but companies lack in innovation because they have a listening problem.

In typical, hierarchical organizations, idea generation is the remit of higher management, or teams set up for the said purpose. When approached in this fashion, the company’s potential for innovation gets seriously limited. Company leaders will never hear about the game-changing idea of someone working on the production line.

Are you Out of Your Mind?

In its typical, innovative way, Semco began a special meeting they named, Você tá Louco, which when literally translated meant,Are you Out of Your Mind?’ These meetings were meant to be solely a platform to generate innovative ideas. The goal of the meeting was to come up with ideas so radical that the natural response to the idea would be: “Are you out of your mind?”

Let’s Disrupt the Ways We Generate Ideas

The Você tá Louco meetings were a safe space for anyone to be innovative. Which is why the meetings were open to anyone in the company. When companies stop fussing about who’s allowed to innovate or come up with the next big idea, there will be no dearth of radical ideas waiting to be discovered.

This platform or meeting space had nothing formal or official about it. It was instead truly dedicated to discovering and discussing radically innovative ideas. The meetings were a sacred space where people weren’t allowed to talk shop.

What they were allowed to do is this: Cook up the craziest, most outlandish ideas without any fear of judgment. The more people reacted with incredulity and disbelief, the better the idea.

Did Você tá Louco Work?

As a result of the Você tá Louco meetings Semco developed an innovative initiative called Aposente-se um pouco. Literally translated, it meant: One Day For Your Passion.

The idea was born from the frustration people feel during their working lives, caused by the lack of time to pursue their passions. People typically plan to follow their passions once they retire and have the time to devote to their hobbies or passions. The idea was to allow every Semco employee to take one day off each work week in order to pursue their personal dreams and aspirations.

For instance, taking up photography, learning Chinese, learning to paint, spending time with family, going to climb the local mountain, writing a book and so on.

The concept was simple: People shouldn’t have to wait until they retire to pursue their dreams and aspirations outside of work. Semco took this idea, born in one of its Voce Ta Louco meetings and made it into a reality. They informed employees they could take one day off each week to pursue their hobbies or personal aspirations.

What Happened Next?

Semco implemented this idea for a period of time, but it isn’t currently in practice. However, it’s a great example that demonstrates how outlandish, yet brilliant ideas can be born from the Voce Ta Louco meetings. It also shows how it wasn’t compulsory to put in place all ideas in full, or for evermore.

Not A Destination, But The Means

Innovation doesn’t appear from thin air. Instead, people need a platform dedicated to generating innovative ideas. Once there is a special meeting set up for this purpose, you will have created a starting point for innovation.

Once you generate ideas, make sure people understand that there’s no compulsion to act upon every idea raised. Instead, focus on the ideas that stand out from the crowd and those that can be realistically developed. Then, as a natural consequence of putting those ideas into action, innovation and incremental innovation will gain traction throughout the company.

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