I viewed a timely projectmanagement.com presentation on the need for project managers to embrace innovation. This is behind the PMI/projectmanagement.com paywall, but I encourage those of you with access to watch this presentation and consider the presenter's (Dennis Stauffer, of Innovator Mindset) arguments.
Stauffer compares the status quo and innovator approaches and mindsets. Across positions and to a great degree as a project manager, I personally have worked in an implementer role, with a focus on the detect and correct loop. While this isn't bad in and of itself, Stauffer compares the innovativeness scores (using an instrument created by IM) of individuals across some industries with value add - and emphasized that most of the value add comes from those working on the higher end (70-100) of innovativeness.
Okay, okay - Stauffer takes a more extreme approach in the session when describing the attributers of the status quo and innovator mindsets. Here's a subset of examples:
Status quo: Argumentative, frustrated, blaming...
To get to the presenter's core argument: The high-level flows of the status quo and innovative approaches are similar (both with Idea, Action, Reality, Feedback phases in a loop). The PMBOK Guide approach is valuable, but taken too far, it can undermine innovation (specific example that came out during the Q&A session, the overcommitment of resources to knowledge management and documenting lessons learned).
Stauffer suggests that the project manager should embody innovation. Ask questions instead of making declarative statements; embrace feedback (including negative feedback - which the presenter depicted as a key indicator of effective innovators).
I hope to take the IM instrument soon to determine my own innovativeness score and to learn more about Stauffer's research. Can I ask more questions and make fewer declarative statements? It's an interesting test for me....
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"If a subordinate always agrees with his superior, he is a useless part of the organization."