March 15, 2011

Diving into tradeshow trends

During the last Deep Dive of Great Ideas, "The Time for Tradeshow Innovation is Now," Amy Ledoux, CMP, CAE, senior vice president, meetings, expositions, and special events, ASAE, and John Parke, CMP, president and CEO, Leadership Synergies LLP, led a three-hour session where participants debated tradeshow models as we know them and hypothesized about the future.

Parke noted a few key trends when it comes to the future of tradeshows. Here are three:

  • Technology. The impact of social networking and the virtual meeting.
  • Financial. The high stakes of meetings, often representing 50 percent or more of an association's income.
  • Globalization. How are we making our meetings accessible in terms for international members.
An interesting stat Parke offered from CEIR on virtual meetings is that 40 percent of corporation brand managers are interested in investing in virtual media. That's a decent percentage, so if you're thinking of going virtual, don't discount the amount of buy-in you might be able to receive.

Tweets from #ideas11, part 3

Beware the Ideas of March. #ideas11Tue Mar 15 16:10:39 via TweetDeck

Despite what Ben says, it sounds like the exchange of ideas at day three of the Great Ideas Conference has been very positive, judging by all the great tweets that have been filling the #ideas11 stream today. Here's a sample of some interesting ones that caught my eye from back at the DC office.

Diversity trumps talent. Diverse groups will get better results though they need to work harder to get there #Ideas11Tue Mar 15 18:04:16 via TweetChat

Go for success for the org. Not for success for the silo.#ideas11Tue Mar 15 16:58:52 via Twitter for Android

mind you, i've actually been inundated with TONS of brills ideas, but it's that whole "getting others to sign on" that concerns me #ideas11Tue Mar 15 16:27:10 via TweetDeck

Google the questions your members are looking for - what comes up, what of it is free? Impact to u? #ideas11 #Asae @adriennebryant...Tue Mar 15 16:34:16 via HootSuite

What could you do if your job title was "catalyst" and your role was to inspire change? #ideas11Tue Mar 15 15:00:13 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

For big change agree on one goal. #Ideas11Tue Mar 15 16:32:24 via TweetChat

No budget for failure? How do u find budget for innovation? #ideas11 LB8Tue Mar 15 18:19:16 via HTC Peep

Free trial memberships -- 5-day resulted in 14% conversion; 3-month in 34%. I like either of those numbers. #ideas11Tue Mar 15 16:22:26 via web

Ordinary won't change the world. Dare to be extraordinary. @kckatalyst #ideas11Tue Mar 15 15:19:44 via


Culture change framework

When people talk about changing organizational culture, I usually scoff a little bit to myself. It makes me think of the cliché/metaphor of taking miles to change the direction of the ship and I think that's not near close enough to explaining how hard it is and how long it takes to actively change a culture.

Fast forward to a Great Ideas session this morning, "Spotlight on Innovation: First Who, Then What: Creating a Culture of Innovation," in which American Speech-Language-Hearing Assocation (ASHA) Arlene Pietranton, CAE, offered an idea I think is very interesting. ASHA has an aspirational tool it uses to help create the culture they want their organization to have. It's a one-pager with 16 statements on it, such as:

  • Managers are seen as coaches and team leaders. They are valued for these skills. Leadership is participative and flexible.
  • Nonconformity is accepted. People are expected to present innovative ideas. People feel free to brainstorm.
  • People are highly motivated. They seize opportunities for personal growth. People view work as important and fun.

This isn't necessarily going to speed up culture change, but it does give staff aspirations and a clear idea of what the desired culture is, even if there is always work to be done to get there.

You can access the entire document for the next few months in the handouts for the session. (PDF)


Think like a kid again

What's your red rubber ball? What inspires you? This is what Kevin Carroll, author of Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, What's Your Red Rubber Ball?!, and The Red Rubber Ball at Work asked attendees at this morning's closing general session at Great Ideas. [For more from Carroll, read Samantha Whitehorne's interview with him in the August 2006 issue of Associations Now.]

Carroll says play is serious business, and assists us with imagination, creativity, communication, teamwork, and doing more with less. We have to be able to sustain agility and nimbleness of thought and behavior. The way we do this, he says, is to hold on to the behavior of childhood and "exercise your play muscle on a regular basis."


Thinking back to my own childhood, I have to admit that I was especially curious about everything. I asked a lot of questions, to the point where I heard "because I said so" from my parents on a regular basis rather than the science behind Cheetos. As I got older, I learned there is a time and place to ask questions and that minding my own business is often better than being curious. But maybe this isn't the best approach to keep carrying into my adulthood.

Carroll talked about an art installation, a building with a huge, red ball stuck under the awning. He said that all the children who passed by the oversized red ball were curious about it, while many adults kept their eyes on their phone screens or to the ground.

Instead of ignoring your surroundings, Carroll says you must stay curious, be present, and take it all in the way children often do: "If you would just raise your head up from time to time, you could change your perspective to see things differently and see possibilities that you couldn't see before. Make an effort to look around."

Today, wherever you are, I challenge you to look away from your smartphone and instead at your surroundings. It's going to be easy for those of us still surrounded by the mountains in Colorado. But I have a feeling that even if mountains don't surround you, taking in your scenery with an open mind will show you something you hadn't noticed before.

And if anyone knows about that Cheeto thing, I'm still searching for answers.


Members ≠ Members

In Monday's Idea Lab "Managing Resistance to Change," Chris Clarke-Epstein, CSP, said "mostly, people are people" in response to a question on the need for cultural awareness when managing change in international organizations.

Meanwhile, attendees identified stakeholders critical to change and evaluated and planned approaches based upon the Support for Change questionnaire (which I highly recommend downloading.) Other Great Ideas sessions on Monday included discussions on:

  • Recruit young professionals to the boards of directors;
  • Whether associations should enhance programming for the top one percent of contributors in order to keep high-value members;
  • Going beyond personalized member outreach;
  • Building relationships with unofficial leaders in your organization.

These sessions point to the perspective that members ≠ members. In other words, not every member is the same. We customize marketing campaigns, target nominations toward experienced leaders, support special interest groups, and so on. We constantly tweak our approach to target the ideal member.

What I've mulled over the past day is whether associations do this too much. At what point does customization become detrimental to our organizations?

Past work with database experts prompted this idea, as the bane of their existence during an upgrade was all of the unique customizations they were asked to make. They agreed some were necessary but often disagreed with the amount of customization. Come time to change governance structure in our associations, don't we feel this same angst? That concession made to a specific group or support of a specific area suddenly feels like a burden as opposed to a strategic priority.

Could we learn from our database experts' approach of envisioning the upgrade to reduce future angst? Is this possible with the people-focused side of the business? After all, it's common knowledge that it's best to keep to "off the shelf" functionality for the inevitable future upgrade. The people-side is more difficult, as I'm unsure if "off the shelf" exists or if we understand what the next upgrade will be.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, as I haven't found a satisfactory conclusion myself. Do you think we over-customize? Should we move more toward a "members = members" approach?


Scenes at Great Ideas

Some photos from the Great Ideas Conference day two -- including from the predawn photography escape session. See more photos at the Flickr group for the meeting.










March 14, 2011

Rolling out the Association 990 suite

Tonight at the Great Ideas conference, the ASAE Foundation launched two products within its Association 990 suite, a database of more than 26,000 tax records of various membership organizations. Nat Bartholomew, CPA, principal at LarsonAllen, LLP, offered a test drive of the database to attendees at tonight's wine and cheese reception to launch Association 990 Key Ratios Interactive Tool and Association 990 Agenda Items. He also explained to me what you should know about this new product.

In case you skimmed above and missed it, the database has tax records of more than 26,000 membership organizations, such as c(3), (c)6, (c)19, and more. Each Form 990 includes information on how much an organization pays its CEO, the number of employees it has, or its invested balance. Within the Association 990 Key Ratios Interactive Tool, users can sort this data and compare their organizations with similar ones and output a report into Excel, PDF, or a Word document. And even if reading financial statements or understanding the data seems overwhelming, there is information within the tool that explains line items and the data that you're researching.

Bartholomew offered up a few scenarios where you could use this information, the most important being a board presentation. For example, in 2008, knowing that other organizations similar to your own were losing money in investments, at a similar rate, may have saved you a headache during a financial presentation. Or, maybe you want to know if you are paying staff members enough and want to make a case for upping salaries. You can sort information and offer some hard data to make your case.

The second product, Association 990 Agenda Items, is a PDF or PowerPoint slide deck of aggregate data from the organizations in the database, something you can use to present with.

Bartholomew says the suite is a great tool for the finance-minded staff members, but I can see some potential in it as an editorial staffer to use as research for articles.

There are two types of subscription to the Association 990 suite: monthly and yearly. There will be new iterations of these products released tonight, as well as some newer functions to look forward to, such as trending data as the database acquires more tax forms from more years (right now it has 2008 and 2009). Yearly subscribers receive each new update, while monthly subscribers will have to renew to get latest versions.

This is just the start of the Association 990 suite. Bartholomew tells me there's more on the horizon, such as generating reports on a refined level, like comparing organizations with interest areas similar to your own. Look for more Association 990 products to be released throughout the year, but in the meantime, let us know what you think.


Cookin with Crepe Paper

If you've met Rhea Blanken, you are unlikely to ever forget it. She's a Type A, moving forward, having fun, jump-to-the-next-thing person. And that's why I love the message she consistently unleashes at the Great Ideas Conference. Her message: take the time to get to know yourself. Really get to know yourself.


Several years ago, she ran a play room--games, puzzles, Play-Dough, what have you. Come, create, be yourself, and, more importantly, learn about yourself. Last year she ran a Cookin Up Leadership cooking class here at the Broadmoor, where people worked in teams to create a meal experience, from preparation to cooking to decorating.

This year, it was an arts and crafts Cookin Up Leadership, the food, the decorations--it was all made from pipe cleaners and tissue paper and glue and other crafty supplies. I asked Blanken, why the change:

"It was faster and less expensive for participants," she says, "I wanted to create an experience that would have a lot of the same lessons, but would give the participants the time to go eat lunch with everyone else and wouldn't cost them extra."

And the lessons were similar. "The same things happen," Blanken says. "Resources get shared and they don't get shared. You have to repurpose things. You have to interpret directions." And the most important lesson, you have to learn about yourself and how you give and follow directions, how well you communicate.

"Maslow said transformation comes with self-awareness," she says. "Plato talked about how you discover a lot when you play. These sessions give people an opportunity to note things about themselves. 'How well do I communicate? How well do I make requests? How well do I share?' [In the session today, black ribbons were doled out to those who didn't share.] It's an opportunity to discover things about yourself in a safe environment."

And what was different, other than the obvious, when you cook with pipe cleaners and glue than meat and gravy? Creativity.

"This is a more creative way to do it. When you have to make chicken out of felt and salad out of crepe paper, it forces you to be really creative. This group was amazing--look at this stuff, it's incredibly creative."


Tweets from #ideas11, part 2

Tweeps at the Great Ideas Conference are churning out the nuggets of wisdom faster than I can keep track, and the day's not even quite over yet. It's all made me sad to miss the conference, of course. (If you see my fellow editors Scott Briscoe or Summer Faust, tell them I said hello). None the less, here are several tweets that caught my eye from afar today:

Getting ready to learn more about managing resistance to change at #ideas11. Where's my cheese again?Mon Mar 14 14:58:53 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Three types of resistance: "I don't get it." "I don't like it." "I don't like YOU." Know yours or be overcome. #ideas11 LC4Mon Mar 14 15:56:09 via web

Technology moves at the speed of thought. People move at the speed of people. #ideas11Mon Mar 14 15:36:54 via Twitter for iPad

People can't learn while in their comfort zone; can only learn in their stretch zone. #ideas11Mon Mar 14 15:36:04 via Twitter for Android

#ideas11 - 69% of members in professional societies will be 55 or older in 10 years; 39% 65 or older ("assn at a crossroads" session)Mon Mar 14 15:20:15 via Mobile Web

coming this yr! RT @deirdrereid: RT @kpaffhouse: Anyone successfully launched incentive program for online participation? #ideas11 #assnchatMon Mar 14 19:24:28 via HootSuite

Average American changes jobs 8-12 times and switches careers 3-4 times. Traditional credentialing doesn't work so well anymore! #ideas11Mon Mar 14 19:45:29 via TweetChat

#Ideas11 get away from focusing on the "association infrastructure" to just enabling the human experience of associating.Mon Mar 14 19:49:41 via Twitter for iPhone


Together is better

This morning during day two of Great Ideas, staff from the International City/County Management Association and Alliance for Innovation shared how they partnered to create the Local Government Knowledge Network in their session "Open Door Partnership to Drive Content." The Knowledge Network allows members of ICMA and the Alliance to utilize the same content and resources and interact with each other, plus nonmembers, who sign up online. One of the aspects of the Network allows users to create profiles and tag interests, communicate with each other via a wall (similar to Facebook), and create user-generated groups and topics.

Since its launch in May 2010, the Knowledge Network has more than 4,200 new profiles, questions and wall posts added daily, and high traffic in topic areas such as leadership and smart growth and sustainability. Members are excited about the project, and ICMA and the Alliance view it as an iterative process, with hundreds of features and fixes still in the works and plans for a mobile version to come.

So how did ICMA and the Alliance create buzz for their members to engage within the Knowledge Network? Presenters Brian Durr, CIO, ICMA, Tracy Miller, Florida regional director/learning coordinator, Toni Shope, CAE, East regional director, and Karen Thoreson, president, the Alliance for Innovation, offered up their marketing strategies:

Joint marketing plan. ICMA and the Alliance want a consistent message.

Educate staff. Staff was taught how to use it and its functions so they could help users as the Knowledge Network launched.

Beta tests. The organizations used feedback to make fixes.

Staggered launch. The rollout took place over a weeklong period.

Virtual training sessions for users. The training sessions show users how to access and update various parts of the site. In the beginning, the virtual training sessions were weekly and now they occur each month. The registrant numbers for these training sessions have increased over time.

Regular communication with users. Certain features are spotlighted and e-blasts include questions that users can respond to in discussion forums with, follow-up responses in the following month's e-blast.

Ask active members to engage. The greatest challenge in this request is that ICMA and the Alliance's members are busy, but will take the time to post on the group wall. Less clicks to get to where action must take place is key, so sending members a direct link to a particular dialog is a strategy they are using to encourage participation while driving traffic to deeper areas of the site.

The presenters pointed out that creating a partnership such as this one is a commitment. There's no turning back when you decide to partner to share content, but so far both organizations have successfully kept their branding while boosting their content for members.


Great Ideas Sunday in Pictures

Some scenes from the Great Ideas Conference at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs:










Creating Your Own Competition

In Sunday's Idea Lab "Embracing the Unofficial Leaders in your Membership," led by Peggy Hoffman, CAE, and Peter Houstle, attendees explored the association conundrum of how to relate, ignore, or handle the "unofficial" association organizations.

Often some of the brightest and most dedicated members of an association form these groups in order to meet a need they identify and "split" from the association because they feel the association:

  1. Is not in a position to respond quickly enough to meet the need;
  2. Would not see the activity to key to the association's mission;
  3. Would not support the activity to the extent they desire it be supported;
  4. Or some combination of the above three.

Most likely you all have experienced both sides of this scenario: being the association and leading or participating in the unofficial group. For instance, have you attended a YAP party or a small regional meet-up?

Many associations' knee-jerk reaction is to be threatened by such an activity. But, don't! Or at least, don't be threatened immediately. Attendees mulled over the idea that these groups may in fact be vital or, at the very least, helpful, to their associations for the networking opportunities they provide, the awareness they create of the organizations, the missions they help support, and so on. Therefore, it behooves association leaders to pause, consider the dynamic, and determine how to approach the unofficial group, if at all. View draft questions to consider in the "Embracing the Unofficial Leaders in Your Membership" page in Associapedia. Peggy and Peter strongly encouraged all of us to contribute to the wiki entry as we move forward, so please contribute likewise.

In summary, I found this session especially enlightening since we left with a framework on how to identify the potential unofficial groups (as opposed to reacting once they are discovered) and create strategies for future involvement. Associations can't spend every day preparing for the what-ifs; however, given the frequency of unofficial group creation, preparation for such what-ifs seems a valuable use of an association's time.



It's no surprise that ASAE meeting goers like to Tweet. And the Great Ideas Conference has always attracted the Twitter kind of crowd. So I shouldn't be amazed at the use of the tool, and yet I still am. With roughly only 10 percent the attendance of the Annual Meeting, you would not be able to tell from the Twitter traffic.

From 1pm until the opening night reception ended at roughly 8, there were 1,056 Tweets using the #asae11 hashtag. That's 2.5 Tweets every minute for 7 straight hours. Don't you people eat?

In any event, here are a few of the Tweets that caught my eye:

"A great piece of art is composed of not just what is in the final piece, but equally what is not " Jim Collins via @matthewemay #ideas11less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

You're legit now! lol RT @SimplyLeapCoach: Holy moly I'm wearing my first wireless mike! #leap #Ideas11less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

A solution without a well-understood problem equals a dead end #ideas11less than a minute ago via HootSuite

More do's, less don'ts . . . A theme I'm sensing here #ideas11 #ld1less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

#ideas11 new phrase: "it's Charlie Sheen viral" in ref to social media. Ewww on so many levels.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck


Seeking out new frames of reference for decisions

webJennifer Riel from Univ of Toronto leads Deep Dive session.jpg

I spent the afternoon of Great Ideas in a new style of session, the "Deep Dive," which is three hours going in-depth on a topic. The session was led by Jennifer Riel of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

To summarize the session in one paragraph, I'd say the idea is the most successful leaders one ones who understand that their frame of reference is no more valid than someone else's. They use this understanding to seek out other frames, which leads to solutions that would not be possible otherwise. For example, if you are faced with a tough decision between two alternatives, the strong leader is able to see the desirable traits in both alternatives and craft an entirely new solution that captures more of those traits.

After the session, I had the opportunity to ask Riel a few questions:

You are trying to think through a tough decision, trying to see alternative frames of reference--how do you know you've reached a point where the thought exercise is no longer productive?

I don't think there's actually an algorithm, sadly. If there was, life would be a lot easier. It's taking steps back every once in a while and reminding yourself of the problem you're trying to solve and saying does this feel like I'm working on that problem or am I getting stuck on an aspect that is different. And so it's giving yourself permission to reframe what you're working on, but I think we often have that moment where we feel the progress has stopped and we can't push further. I think in part it's intuitive but also just giving yourself that moment to reflect.

In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell famously wrote about research that indicated oftentimes our best decisions are made with just an instant of observation. How does that reconcile with seeking opposable views?

In Blink, which I think is a great book, he talks about the power of the split second decision, but there are also limitations to that right? Sometimes we make that split decision correctly, and sometimes we don't. And the challenge is without a process--without a way of working through, you don't have a way of reproducing the great decisions, and not reproducing the bad ones, [or] in fact teaching people how you made the great decisions. So while I have a lot of sympathy for that idea that we can learn a lot in a very short period of time, for me it's more about saying for those bigger, more complicated decisions, can we create methodology where people can actually learn what we're doing and what our thinking was?

Other than just finding the time to think about it, what techniques can you offer people who want to try to make decisions in this way?

One is going back to finding people who disagree with you, finding people who see the world differently, and trying to find genuinely what that's about, and where it comes form. The other thing that seems simple but can be complicated is turning an issue into a dilemma. So I have an issue that, man it's really hard to get keep my members. It's really hard to keep memebers engaged and that's an issue you can talk about for the rest of your life, that it's hard to keep members engaged. Turn it into a choice. If I'm going to engage members, I can either invest a million more dollars a year in programs, or I can say paid membership doesn't matter and I'm going to engage people entirely outside of the paid membership mechanisms. That's a much more concrete thing to think about and work your way through than "it's hard to engage my members." So the technique is turning an issue into a dilemma or a choice and then working through that choice to sort of go back and solve that problem.

Decision making in the association context, particularly big decisions, is unlike decisions in other sectors. Power is often widely diffused between a CEO, a board, other important volunteers, and so on. So often we have to work to build consensus. How does such a decision-making dynamic affect the ability to make decisions with this technique?

It's about what are you going to do with the opposing views. We get ourselves in trouble when we think our job is to minimize our disagreements and to drive toward some sort of compromise . That's one way of thinking about leveraging that diversity. It's about saying can we tease out where we disagree, dive more deeply into it understand the nature of those opposing models and choices and do something better? I think the fact that you have a diversity of views positions you better to actually apply integrative thinking in groups. I think it's actually easier to apply integrative thinking in groups if you genuinely have respect for other people's views and a position that [a solution] is possible, and then leveraging those other people is going to make it easier than trying to do it by yourself in the dark with a piece of paper.

| | Comments (1)

March 13, 2011

Resource constraints as innovation catalysts

WebMatthew May gives keynote at Great Ideas.jpg

Just going to add my quick takeaway from Matthew May's general session to add to the one Summer wrote earlier. The point that made me think was when May said, "Resource constraints spur sustainable innovation." May didn't do me any favors in terms of applying this principle to association work when the example he used was of the PlayPump:

play pump.jpg

It's merry-go-round playground equipment that solves the very real purpose of providing water to African villages desperately in need of it. The resource constraints you have in running your association may seem trivial in comparison--I know mine do, but it's still my takeaway. Too often we use lack of resources to squash things. I've seen it countless times, and, yes, I've been a willing advocate of such a position many times. What May is saying, however, is essentially you're being lazy. If you have a goal and you can identify what your constraints are, then you can work to design a solution. Nothing is going to be that simple, of course, but I am going to make an effort to turn resource constraints into innovative solutions.

| | Comments (1)

Notable quotes from Great Ideas Ignite sessions

One of the newest learning formats at Great Ideas is Ignite, where speakers have five minutes to present 20 slides that autoadvance. The format has been popular in nightclubs and coffee shops, but that didn't stop the Broadmoor from creating a low-lit, intimate meeting room for two Ignite sessions today. Here are a few quotes from the six speakers from the second Ignite session of Great Ideas.

"The world needs the real you ... it needs you to fly your freak flag."
—Joe Gerstandt, speaker, facilitator, writer,, "freak-flag flying (what, why, and how)"

"When I lost my big brother and all of a sudden I had to think back on our time together ... I discovered that I had to find my core group of people."
—Gary Rifkin, chief energizer, Gary Rifkin Presents, "The Story of Your Life"

"Everything I've learned, I've learned at the feet of my mentors."
—KiKi L'Italien, senior consultant, technology management, DelCor Technology Solutions Inc., "Don't Judge a Mentor By Her Shoes"

"What's holding you back from making your dreams come true? I believe in you."
—Ann Oliveri, CAE, Ann Oliveri Consulting, "Make It Happen—Today"

"Try stuff, see what works, leverage the power of the small win. ... If we can't fail at something, how can we ever hope to innovate?"
—Jeffrey Cufaude, president & CEO, Idea Architects, "Failure Must be an Option"

"Instead of fitting the meeting to the place, we should be fitting the place to the meeting."
—John Nawn, founder, The Perfect Meeting, "The Meeting Environment of the Future"


A slow solution and innovation redefined

To kick off the first day of the Great Ideas Conference in Colorado Springs, Matthew May, author of several books including In Pursuit of Elegance: Why The Best Ideas Have Something Missing, presented "Designing Elegant Solutions," and gave us seven lessons from his journey to making elegant solutions.

One thing that stood out to me was lesson number seven: Taking a break is a big part of any breakthrough.

To be honest, I know I could have written a better blog post if I'd had a chance to take a run and clear my head, completely removed from the project that is writing this blog post. Instead, I'm writing up a few quick takeaways from the opening general session before heading to the first Idea Lab of Great Ideas. I've noticed that some of my best writing ideas come when I'm not dedicating my time to brainstorming them, and May says that removing yourself form a problem (for my purposes, my problem is writing a blog post that captures your interest) is one of the best ways to solve it. Taking a break from a big task at hand is OK, and sometimes slowing down will lead to a better solution. But let's be honest. Sometimes you won't be able to do that. In my case, I want to make sure that those of you who couldn't sit in on May's session this afternoon can read about it now, rather than waiting hours for me to clear my head and come up with a punchy lede. But when you have the opportunity to take time and come up with a slow solution, it's worth it.

Another idea that resonated with me had to do with innovation and how we define it within our associations. Stop for a second and think about how you define innovation. What did you come up with? Who are the innovators among your staff? Are you an innovator?

If your definition of innovation doesn't apply to everyone within your organization, it's time to think about innovation from a different perspective. May says we typically think about innovation in the wrong way, defining it as the outcome of a project or a tangible product or service rather than the creative process and input. As it turns out, everyone you work with can be innovators if they can figure out a way to do their jobs better than before. May says if we don't think of ourselves as having innovative capabilities, we won't be able to innovate. Same goes for your coworkers. If you don't think of them as innovators, it will be harder for them to think of themselves that way, too. Empower your employees and even your members to be innovators for your organization and you'll be one step closer to designing elegant solutions.