In­still­ing a Growth Mind­set to Drive In­no­va­tion

Rotman Management Magazine - - NEWS -

For the past year, as the head of in­no­va­tion at and run­ning our in­cu­ba­tor, Lu­men­lab, I have been work­ing with our teams to cre­ate dis­rup­tive busi­ness mod­els that drive growth. Reimag­in­ing in­sur­ance — by mov­ing be­yond the cur­rent def­i­ni­tion of what in­sur­ance could or should be — is our ob­jec­tive. In pur­su­ing it, we have dis­cov­ered that we can max­i­mize our im­pact not just by build­ing busi­nesses, but also by af­fect­ing cul­ture change.

Specif­i­cally, it has be­come clear that to achieve our ob­jec­tive, we need to in­still a growth mind­set in our peo­ple. As de­fined by Stan­ford Psy­chol­ogy Pro­fes­sor a growth mind­set is an at­ti­tude about ap­proach­ing chal­lenges that em­braces ex­plo­ration, ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion. The re­search of Prof. Dweck and oth­ers shows that fos­ter­ing this mind­set helps in­no­va­tors move an or­ga­ni­za­tion past an out­moded reliance on strict hi­er­ar­chies and sys­tems to­wards agility, brav­ery and in­ven­tive value cre­ation. Per Prof. Dweck, in­di­vid­u­als with a growth mind­set have been found to possess four char­ac­ter­is­tics: • They are Hy­per-cu­ri­ous; • They are Pas­sion­ately Trans­par­ent; • They are Su­per-so­cial; and • They are Adap­tive.

Very few peo­ple ex­hibit all four of th­ese traits — which is why it is so im­por­tant to build a team that brings all of th­ese qual­i­ties to­gether. An­chored by th­ese char­ac­ter­is­tics, a growth mind­set fos­ters four be­hav­iours that are es­sen­tial to in­no­va­tion:

The out­moded com­mand-and-con­trol style of man­age­ment as­sumed that ‘the com­pany knows best. A growth mind­set re­quires reach­ing out to cus­tomers to en­list them in co-cre­at­ing new prod­ucts and so­lu­tions. One way in which we’ve cul­ti­vated this be­hav­iour at Lu­men­lab is by build­ing a cus­tomer com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­form called Misir, which we launched in Bangladesh. Akin to it is bust­ing myths by di­rectly ask­ing cus­tomers what they re­ally want. For ex­am­ple, it showed us that cus­tomers would pay more for a sim­pler in­sur­ance prod­uct.

In­di­vid­u­als who are Hy­per-cu­ri­ous and Pas­sion­ately Trans­par­ent tend to be strong in this do­main.

This phrase was in­tro­duced by in his book of the same ti­tle, in which he de­scribes an ‘open, gen­er­ous, con­nected ap­proach to work’. Step­per cre­ated a so­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion plat­form for that is used by 60,000 em­ploy­ees and has helped to fa­cil­i­tate this work style. At Lu­men­lab, we’ve taken a page from his play­book and we en­cour­age or­ga­ni­za­tions to train em­ploy­ees to be more col­lab­o­ra­tive, shar­ing ideas and crit­i­cisms freely. Our own ap­proach is ex­actly anal­o­gous to the Blockchain — a dis­rup­tive dis­trib­uted pub­lic-ledger tech­nol­ogy with which we are ex­per­i­ment­ing. Those who are Pas­sion­ately Trans­par­ent and Su­per-so­cial tend to be strong in this area.

At many com­pa­nies, tar­gets for the year are set in stone in the an­nual plan and teams com­pete for

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