Recognising your people in a meaningful way is essential. It builds pride and commitment to your organisation. Capturing and telling employee stories boosts confidence and enhances your brand. But most important of all, your innovator stories contain the lessons about how to innovate in your workplace. With real-life insights from your people, you can address the barriers and strengthen the enablers to create real momentum for your innovation initiative.
What makes Hargraves Innovator Awards so special?
Every employee at every level can be recognised for contributing to an implemented innovation. Teams can apply and different roles can be recognised for the same innovation
The focus is on the innovator. The application process requires them to reflect on their strengths and needs so that they know what to do to repeat and/or improve
The awards are assessed against external criteria aligned to Deakin University by an external assessor. The application is signed off by an internal manager, so the award is credible, meaningful and a pathway to a credential
You create a pool of employees who can be elevated within your own awards system
You capture stories to promote, to analyse and to learn from
What can we glean from the innovators' stories?
The Hargraves Innovator Award process uses storytelling methodology to answer these questions:
What innovation is happening in the organisation?
How does innovation happen?
What helps and what hinders innovation?
What are our people’s strengths?
What else do we need to do?
Capturing the stories of your innovators through the Hargraves Innovator Awards benefits both the individual and the organisation. (You can read more about the innovators' stories in Tess' latest blog, Revealing the Hidden Truths.)
Innovators tell their story and analyse their mindset ― the beliefs, perspective, behaviour and actions that they brought to the innovation. They examine their unique strengths in those attributes which are often hard to claim. They will talk about their resilience, their bravery, their helpfulness, how they connected or influenced or imagined. These are the attributes which make for great innovation, but which are rarely acknowledged. Recognising them makes candidates feel more confident, more engaged and prouder of the work they do. Award recipients receive a certificate with their story, a digital badge and a step up to a university credential.
Organisations collect the stories, capture the value, promote the innovators as role models and the organisation as a great place to work. But the stories also reveal the truths about working in your organisation — they identify the barriers and enablers, the good and bad processes, positive and negative team habits. When you analyse all the stories, patterns emerge and challenges are highlighted. The collected stories are both a promotional tool and a diagnostic.
"Being presented with the Hargraves Innovator Award was simply an amazing experience and very special. When value-adding to my custard apple business by creating the sugar alternative Custard Dust, I never imagined that sometime in the future I would be formally recognised as an innovator. Wow!" Karen Martin, Yanalla Farms (QLD)
Storytelling as a research method
Storytelling is a widely used research method for innovation and design thinking. It allows the researcher to delve and reveal unarticulated needs, wants and truths ― to make sense of complexity. It is often used as a precursor to more formal analysis. It has the advantage of making the abstract concrete and revealing emotions that would be missed in other forms of research.
In this storytelling process we will seek to find out how and why individuals innovate and how their organisational culture helped and hindered. This will prompt organisations to review their approaches to innovation.
Specifically, we will explore:
What motivated people to innovate and what kept them innovating? Was it part of their job or was it voluntary? What types of innovation or improvement are most common? Is it incremental or transformative? Is it product, service, customer experience, etc?
What are the most common perspectives people bring to the innovation? In any one organisation, are contributors mostly those people with the ideas (creators) or are they the people who identify the gap (finders), or connectors, influencers, etc? Or is it a diversity of perspectives? What does this tell us about the organisation? For example, is there a dominant perspective? If so, what does it tell us about the organisation?
Do people innovate as part of their jobs or are they inspired to innovate in addition to their jobs? Does the organisation support day-to-day innovation as part of people’s job roles? Is innovation a team or individual activity?
What are the behaviours that the innovators attribute their success to? Is it helpfulness, bravery, tenacity? What does this tell us about the organisational culture? For example, do you need to be brave because the organisation rejects new ideas?
What actions did people take? How well supported are innovators in terms of tools, skills and resources? What does this tell us about the organisation’s systems and processes for innovation?
What you'll discover
Participating in the process, coupled with the outcomes from the process, will:
Reinforce positive behaviours to create a climate for innovation
Improve engagement for individuals and teams
Identify how innovation works and gather insights to encourage more innovation
Position the organisation as a thought leader and role model of innovation
Set an agenda for ongoing improvement
Provide a framework to encourage agencies to undertake collaborative work with the organisation
For more information about our Hargraves Innovator Awards, please take a look at our brochure.
Alternatively, give us a call or send us an email... we'd love to hear from you.