The Future of Work Belongs to the Innovators
Workspan Daily
August 24, 2022

The world of work  was forever changed by the pandemic, and it is up to you to find creative ways to generate value in this new environment. That was the message offered by opening keynote speaker Brian Solis to attendees at the recent Sales Comp’22 Event in Chicago.  

Solis, a futurist, author and global innovation evangelist at Salesforce, challenged attendees to develop new ways of thinking and to innovate regarding work, culture and compensation. 

Trends such as the Great Resignation and quiet quitting (in which individuals reduce their effort to match a perceived lack of appreciation) show that employees are applying a new filter when viewing work and compensation. In this environment, businesses that simply make old processes more efficient without finding new approaches risk falling behind.  

“We have to break the cycle of adapting industrial revolution era ways of working to a digital-first world,” Solis said. “And that means innovation has to start with you, as an individual.” 

But, he said, our ability to be creative can be negatively affected by several factors, including: 

  • Education systems that often emphasize linear thinking and learning, at the expense of creativity. 
  • A common misperception that conflates creativity and artistic skill. Creativity, Solis explained, is the ability to recognize problems, opportunities or patterns in ways that others can’t. 
  • The fact that innovation is inherently risky and often viewed as threatening to the status quo.  

These factors can be overcome, however. Citing research from NASA, Solis said that innovation and creativity can be learned and nurtured through intentional practice.  

It also can help if we give ourselves and our employees the space to think and to be bored, he said. It is in these moments when we are better able to innovate, yet many of us spend these potential opportunities consuming content elsewhere, such as on our phones, Solis pointed out.  

To further help attendees spur creativity, he encouraged them to ask and answer these questions: 

  • What prevents you from being innovative and agile today? 
  • Which people and organizations exhibit the attributes and capabilities you would like to build into your planning? 
  • What are the qualities that define innovative companies and their comp plans? 
  • How do you create new competencies and characteristics to enhance center practice guidelines? 

Fortunately, innovation is not something leaders must go through alone, Solis said. He shared a quote from Sir Kenneth Robinson, a British author and speaker, who said, “The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel they’re valued.”  

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