Psychology of innovation

Innovation is born from deep tensions within our psychology, tensions between opposing desires of control and freedom, significance and integrity. When these forces are out of balance, true madness ensures, but not the type of madness that engenders innovation. Innovation requires a different sort of madness.

Innovators like Steve Jobs, the Dalai Lama and Richard Branson are all a bit crazy. They are round pegs in square holes. They see things differently. The challenge for public sector leaders over the next 20 years is not to be “crazy”, but to tap into that part of their psychology that allows them to think and do things differently. So much has already changed in the Queensland Public Sector over the last 5 years: first female Premier, productivity commissions, the move to centralised service delivery and the move back to outposts, SES profiling, whole-of-government capability and leadership frameworks, ongoing Machinery-of-Government changes, voluntary separation programmes and most recently, the political landscape has changed in a manner few could have predicted.

We can consider the public service as an organisational “mind” where the same tensions exist. Just as people can fall into the trap of listening to only one message, organisations can develop a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder and fall into the trap of repeating systemic and structural habits that just don’t support the change that needs to occur. In order to innovate, we must become mindful of the ways in which our brain and our mind operates, so that we can identify the types of thinking that create order and certainty and the types of thinking that create change and innovation.

Leadership consultant Chris Ridler specialises in supporting Leaders and teams to understand the psychology and practice of leadership so that they can tap into the mental resources they need to achieve to the outcomes they want. The public sector 3.0 annual conference is run by the Business Improvement in Government Group (BiiG) and Chris’s workshops are both interactive and confronting, enabling leaders to explore the psychology of innovation and develop insights into their own patterns and habits of thinking and doing, both at a personal level and at an organisational level. Drawing on mindfulness, Jungian psychology and neuroscience, Chris will coach leaders to develop their own strategies that enable innovation.

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