I always get a bit anxious when running a particular type of workshop for a first time in a country, questions arise like how the culture would influence the expectations and behavior of the participants. But this was a special place, Buenos Aires the city where I was born. Even if I had designed and facilitated similar activities for Spanish speaking audiences, I was curious, confident and nervous, all at the same time.
It was a half a day session with a simple format, a first section with an introduction to the SAP Innovation Management Solution followed for a three steps workshop: Context, Ideation, Prototyping; and then closing with results sharing. The main purpose of the exercises was to explore how the managing of innovation was perceived there, looking for ways for an effective deployment attending local needs.
The participants were around 20 people representing 7 companies from big private and public organizations from the manufacturing and services sectors, and a couple of small firms too. We cannot say this is fully representative of the Argentinian market, but the results could provide good insights and a starting point of further exploration. We were also lucky to have there a bunch of passionate professionals who made the coaching work quite easy and produced interesting results.
The groups had put emphasis in two topics that are aligned with other location´s results on the people dimension:
- The need to activate an organizational cultural change for having a working environment “innovation friendly”. At the end every innovation initiative is a change management project too.
- The capabilities of innovation campaigns for increase morale and sense contribution from the employees. If you ask them for their brains, and you honestly care about the input, the innovation halo will spread across the firm.
But one of the themes showed up for the first time on this innovation Management series. Innovation as a tool for the internationalization of the company expanding the reach beyond the national boundaries. I think it is interesting because:
- When working with USA or Europe based corporations the global reach is almost a given. But perhaps is not so natural for also big and powerful organizations at other locations. Innovation on internationalization could be a promising field to explore.
- This is no the classic example of a new product/technology innovation case or even a process improvement. It would be innovation at the core of the company strategy and with the potential to dramatically transform it.
One of the beauties of the coaching job is that every workshop facilitation is also a learning experience. I would love to hear about other cases of unexpected outcomes from your sessions.