As I had mentioned previously, The Ten Faces of Innovation
, by Tom Kelly of IDEO, with Jonathan Littman, is an excellent book on how to create a truly innovative environment (as opposed to just saying "from now on, we're going to be innovative").
Some think that innovation has nothing to do with project management---that innovation is about generating ideas, and project management is merely about executing them. In my view, this is absolutely wrong
, as you will hopefully see as I share a summary of Tom Kelley's "Ten Faces of Innovation."
Even as a summary, there's a lot to share, so I'm breaking this into three parts. Each part will share one of the three groups of "personas" Kelley covers in the book; The Learning Personas
, The Organizing Personas
, and the Building Personas
. In this post, I'll summarize The Learning Personas
As noted in the book, it's important to note that each persona is just that, and not a "position". Some people can have multiple roles, and not all roles are needed on every project. But in general, the more roles that are covered, the more successful your venture will be.
Meanwhile, here are the first three personas, adapted from the book, with my own comments added (keep in mind that the book offers a heap of antectodal information that supports these personas---real stories from real companies).The Learning Personas
1) The Anthropologist
– Observes human behavior and empathizes in order to determine what’s really needed. Fanatically keeps lists of issues and ideas. [As Toyota's slogan goes, “Go and see for yourself.” Don’t judge by a needs survey alone.
] Henry Ford said, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.”
2) The Experimenter
– Likes to try new avenues, using fast, inexpensive prototypes. Not afraid to think out of the box and “fail often to succeed sooner.” Uses enlightened trial and error. Can also do "implementation by experimentation" for multi-locations by engaging remote sites in prototyping, and letting them adapt to their site as needed (as opposed to a rigid “rollout”).
3) The Cross Pollinator
– Examines other industries, genres, and cultures, to mine for ideas and look for analogies. These are typically “T-shaped” people, with a deep understanding of at least one core area and a broad interest in many other topics. Well-rounded, and with many interests, these people are a core source of ideas.
As you can hopefully, see, these learning personas are quite applicable to project management and cannot be divorced from the process of taking an idea and turning it into reality---and isn't that what project management is all about?
Up next in part 2
, The Organizing Personas
Labels: innovation, it-project, learning, people, project-roles, survey