plan a little, implement a lot

That’s a saying that one of our research partners attributed today to Etienne Wenger, and which he said was one of the ideas that drove their successful implementation of a Communities of Practice initiative. While it is saying it in a slightly different way, I think that this supports a couple of my key ideas about innovation. The first is the importance of action – action is always worth more than ideas, just like implementation is worth more than plans. The second is that innovations are discovered in use. One of the things that they did extremely well in putting together their CoPs is that they let gave the new communities resources and some guidelines, but then they let them evolve organically. They didn’t specify in advance ‘this is what the communities should look like’ – the let the groups discover the best structures and routines for themselves.

So that’s my advice for the day: plan a little and implement a lot.

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.

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