Hybrid Thinking for Radical Innovation
This year we have learned that HYBRID THINKING — balancing seemingly opposing concepts that are exponentially better together than in isolation, is how we can support our people, our businesses, and our ideas. This is the foundation of every good business. We have come out of a time where there has been a drastic drop in innovation. What we’ve gained in productivity and hours logged, we have lost in creativity—pitting the two against each other. But when we leverage HYBRID THINKING, the result is not only Transformational Resilience, but also Radical Innovation.
Good leaders respond to change, great leaders embrace change, but innovative leaders create change. Radical Innovation is what drives the success of organizations, providing a competitive advantage to become market leaders. This balance of productivity and creativity generates revenue, efficiency, and relevancy that differentiates you from the competition. Rather than solely keeping up, you will be setting the pace.
How many times have you defined a “good workday” as a productive one? It’s easy to believe the level of productivity equates to the quality of your day, but how fewer days have you defined a good workday as a creative one? We have strayed from the truest form of what creativity and productivity actually are.
Productivity has taken on a distorted definition. People are obsessed with it, strive for it, but they’re missing the mark on what productivity really is. While the end goal of productivity remains the same—to deliver something tangible to a company, the means to get there is not as clear as simple tasks, efficiency, deliverables, results, etc. Productivity is the tool that carves out the space for all the best parts of an organization to thrive.
In the same breath, creativity is given short shrift in many companies, especially if the work being done is not obviously “creative”. Creativity is what fuels us. It is what makes us human and isn’t reserved solely for the Creatives of a company. It’s experimentation, spontaneity, inspiration, and so much more than just the arts. Creativity is a powerful tool to help your people love the work they do and produce ideas that differentiate.
When we dare to experiment with HYBRID THINKING, and recalibrate the imbalance of productivity and creativity, Radical Innovation will be unleashed.
After almost two years of remote work, commuting has been one of the hottest topics around returning to the office, with many people saying it cuts into their productivity and is a waste of time. But there is inherent value in the commute—fostering creativity while simultaneously setting and maintaining healthy boundaries between work and home. While we were working remotely, it was hard to distinguish “home” from “work”. While this is great for standard productivity, it will inevitably lead to burnout and a massive decrease in creativity.
Our brains need time to prepare for the workday and unwind after the day has ended. Rather than being weighed down by our commutes, we can reclaim it as one of the most valuable parts of our day. Commuting doesn’t have to be simply traveling to and from work. Reclaiming the commute become how you prepare for the day—listening to music or podcasts, catching up with a friend or family member, choosing your outfit, or making that perfect cup of coffee. Anything can be a “commute” if we see the value in that time. How we rest and recharge affects the way we do everything else, so why do we not prioritize this time of preparation, decompression, and mindfulness?
When a balance between creativity and productivity is present, we can see the commute as a method to inspire Radical Innovation in our lives and organizations, rather than a burden.
We can implement this balance of productivity and creativity in our personal lives, unless you create a work environment that values both, Radical Innovation will be stifled the minute people walk through your doors. So how do we build an organization that can do that? A culture of innovation is not something that can be obtained overnight. It is a process that takes trial and error to eventually get it right. The risk of not innovating is too great to be ignored. We must ask ourselves, can we really experiment, can we learn together, and can we adapt and pivot if we need to?
HYBRID THINKING transforms our organizations from places of work to bedrocks of inspiration—integrating Radical Innovation within every square foot. A company can say they’re innovative, but how their people interact in gathering spaces is the real indication that a company’s intentions align with their actions. A culture of innovation prioritizes the importance of how people interact with place, and creates policies to both permit and encourage synergy between productivity and creativity. These policies create space for taking a walk during the workday, getting a change of scenery, grabbing a coffee, or talking with colleagues from other teams. It’s not complicated, it just needs to be intentional.
When there is a culture of innovation within our organizations, ideas are celebrated, creativity is rewarded, and productivity exponentially increases. Radical Innovation is sustained by the freedom to be creative within productivity, producing ideas that elevate our businesses over all else.
Ideas do not behave or follow rules. They come when they come. That is why a balance between productivity and creativity is critical. When we understand these elements through the lens of HYBRID THINKING, we discover that discipline unleashes spontaneity—ultimately producing ideas that differentiate. But for either one to exist, we must be intentional with our time. Making room for those moments of inspiration to come allows us to be efficient in acting on the best ideas.
It may seem backward, but creativity thrives within the framework of productivity. At PDR, we have integrated this mindset into weekly cadences where the last hour of every Thursday is dedicated to happy hour. An hour where we stop being “productive”, and come together in the office for the primary purpose of encouraging downtime and community. Learning how to manage what matters, gives our ideas the freedom to arise.
When we invoke a blend of productivity and creativity into the natural workflow of our day, Radical Innovation is present.
In closing, Radical Innovation helps unleash the potential of our talent, making everything that matters most to an organization better. We as leaders pursuing the balance between productivity and creativity understand we can’t just do what we’ve always done. There is Transformational Resilience on the other side of innovation, we just need the courage to experiment. Leaning into what truly produces Radical Innovation will make our people, organizations, and world BETTER!