While this realization has been important and needs further acceptance, the general response has been inadequate. Because donors and nonprofit boards tend to be fairly risk adverse, nonprofit leaders have tended to take a project-based innovation approach. This approach has mostly been funded on the backs of major donors and foundations willing to take a risk on a given project.
The assumption with the project-based approach is, "If we do something more innovative in this one area, it will spread throughout the organization." This assumption is typically not proven out. Why?
At the center of the discussion about learning organizations that innovate, the issue is whether the nonprofit has an innovative culture. Does it have appropriate understanding of risk? Does the organization reward creativity, learning and new approaches? Are resources allocated to activities designed to learn and create? Is there permission to fail if done in a disciplined way?
If a nonprofit doesn't have a culture that is open to innovation, then that group can do all the innovative projects it wants but it will not result in the bigger transformation they are hoping for.
That is why we are announcing a free Live Web Event on April 20th at 10 a.m. Mountain Time. The theme is Innovation in Mission: Developing a Culture of Innovation. We have invited four innovation thought leaders from different spheres of influence together to bring you a unique event focused on how you can develop a culture of innovation within your organization. Cris Beswick, Jon Hirst, Paul Dzubinski, and Derek Seipp will help you think through how you can be a force for change in your organization on this journey to true innovation.
Explore the line-up of speakers, event schedule, resources available to attendees and registration form and we look forward to engaging with you in this Live Web Event.