It’s Not Easy Being the Innovator: How Do You Stay Fit For The Role?

Expert: Philip HorvathCurator: Hans Balmaekers

Explorer and teacher of culture and leadership at the edge of the emerging future. Working with companies and their people to prepare them for exponential transformation.

01 // Why is the role of an innovator different, more difficult?

02 // What is this thing called purpose?

03 // How can we create high-performing teams?

// Summary

It’s lonely being a changemaker.

Organizations, by their very nature, typically resist change. Most people shy away from doing something different because it comes with a tremendous social risk. The lone voices for change face opposition and can easily get discouraged.

Meanwhile, we need new solutions to global problems more than ever, says philip horváth. He’s made it his life’s mission to support changemakers: artists, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, activists… anyone who is trying to establish something new. philip talked with curator Hans Balmaekers about how to create optimal conditions for changemakers to spark real cultural change inside organizations.

How to actively support changemakers

1. Make people feel psychologically safe

People who feel psychologically safe at work are able to reach higher levels. They can show up fully and know that they are respected. This results in good feedback, and a high level of integrity between people.

2. Give people permission to be themselves

When people can truly be themselves, they feel psychologically safe enough to unleash their creativity. They stop trying to be workers who do their jobs “right” and instead get to be human beings who do their jobs well. Astonishing things can happen.

3. Understand that cultural change is a process

Every individual, through how they show up, impacts culture. When people realize that they are the origin of culture, they have the power and self-reliance to shape what a culture becomes.

4. Let people be driven by a higher purpose

People with a sense of purpose are motivated by something bigger than their careers. By coming from a place of passion, they have emotional investment; they learn to use the resources of their company to make things happen.

5. Seek alignment (not agreement)

People don’t have to agree with each other. Seeking agreement creates disruption and a lot of unnecessary meetings. Instead, find a higher purpose around which people can align, even if they disagree on how to attain that purpose.

6. Work with others

As the proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” Creating change is a collective journey. Once you have a purpose, find others with whom you align and collectively move things forward.

“Innovation has become a topic because we’re not doing it naturally anymore.”

Google’s five key dynamics that set successful teams apart:

  • Psychological safety
  • Dependability
  • Structure & clarity
  • Meaning of work
  • Impact of work

Exercise: Write your own obituary
To find your purpose, imagine that you’re dead.
Imagine your funeral: who’s there?
What have you created in your life?
What impact have you had on the world?

Looking at your life this way helps you orient around a new foundation for your activities, allowing you to approach them from a place of personal investment.