An email today got me thinking: can a person be taught to have a certain mindset?

At Intuit, we work to create a culture of innovation. We have leadership classes, innovation catalyst training, workshops on innovation tools, design for delight, unstructured time and idea jam sessions. Oh, and brainstorms a plenty.

It seems that when a culture, even a business culture, yells loudly enough, and often enough, that people begin to think about that topic, even when they aren’t prompted. So we yell loud and often about innovation, and people think about “innovation” in their projects. And they come talk to the innovators and leaders, get guidance, that sort of thing.

After a while, it does seem that a new mindset can begin to emerge. What you need is a good request/response system, and lots of advertising. And, of course, successes you can point out.

I think I’m rambling on a bit here… but there’s a second method: immersion. If you put an innovative person in a leading role in a project, the others are bound to see the mindset in action. Different ways of thinking about a problem will emerge. New tools will be discovered. Paths to success will never be random again: rather each new button or widget will have an impact on the bigger goal.

This is the best way to shift the mindset – model it from a position of authority, and others will see the benefits and begin to emulate it.

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