Monday, August 13, 2012

Are You One of the 83%?

Jeff De Cagna recently posted a nicely-produced video summarizing the key results from his Making Innovation Happen Survey. It's only three-and-a-half minutes long. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it here.

Here's the result that surprised me most:
  • 83% of association CEOs think of themselves as innovators at work.

Why did that surprise me? Well, I guess I can believe that many CEOs think of themselves as innovators, but I find it impossible to believe that many CEOs are innovators. If they were, I dare say Jeff himself would agree that the association community has nothing to worry about.

What's going on here?

Is it a sampling bias? CEOs in Jeff's network skew towards the innovative end of the scale? Maybe. But I'd put my money on complacency. Simply stated, we're lying to ourselves. We've made a couple of progressive changes in our organizations and we think we're done now. We went ahead and put "innovator" on our LinkedIn profile and now we're patting ourselves on the back. Mission accomplished.

Except there is so much more work to do. Look at some of the other stats:
  • Only 55% of association CEOs trust their staff to make good decisions when it comes to innovation.
  • Only 50% of association CEOs believe their boards are committed to making innovation happen.

There is a critical gap here. How can a CEO honestly consider himself an innovator at work if he doesn't trust his staff to make good decisions or if he doesn't have the support of his board? What exactly is he innovating? The number of pages in the board agenda book?

If you responded to Jeff's survey, and you're one of the 83% who called yourself an innovator, I beg you to reconsider your victory. I'm pretty sure I fit into that category, and I know I'm re-evaluating that self-assessment.

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