Author: Jeferson Souza

Innovation helps organisations to grow. Growth, often measured in turnover and profit, can also occur in the areas of knowledge, experience, efficiency, and quality. Innovation is the process of making changes to what already exists: it can be radical or incremental, and applied to products, processes, or services.

New methods, tools, and technologies become available every day to assist us in innovation, and it’s our job as project managers and leaders to challenge our teams to make the best use of them. The project manager must actively seek ideas that add value throughout the project lifecycle to ensure that the best result is achieved.

By consistently looking for new and better ways of delivering solutions, doing business, saving money, and optimising human potential, we can help our clients achieve their objectives.

Why innovation and transformational leadership go hand-in-hand

When we lead the way by proposing new ways of doing things, it can be disruptive to the environment in which we work. There is a real risk that leaders who are too critical of existing ways of working will be seen as disloyal and sceptical, although the opposite is likely true. Ultimately, new ideas can cause a fallout within the project environment.

In highly innovative projects, the pace of change is rapid, extreme and unpredictable. To ensure that a project is effective team members need to frequently assess the nature of the change by examining where the project is going, what new problems have arisen and what issues need to be dealt with.

Team members also need to collaborate frequently to interpret and give meaning to complex information. Sharing skills and information empowers a team to deal with the uncertainties, ambiguities and disruptions to achieve a higher quality outcome.

Innovation is not just about finding ways to optimise gross margins. It’s also about creating a culture of collaboration, a shift in mindset and concrete actions to reflect these new values. All of this comes down to driving transformation from the top.

Culture and strategy are, more than ever, entwined. Not only must culture support strategy, but it must also move in lockstep with a dynamic, evolving strategy where the behavioural recipe for winning is not fixed or static. While culture cannot be built directly, nor accomplished through a blueprint or a checklist, it cannot be left to chance.

How CGI drives a culture of innovation

At CGI, we foster a culture of innovation by uniting our wider community on a common dream:

To create an environment in which we enjoy working together and, as owners, contribute to building a company we can be proud of.

With frameworks and programs founded upon this common dream, CGI's consultants and professionals have the opportunity to participate in the life and development of their company, which, in turn, results in client loyalty and shareholder growth.

The CGI Innovate, Collaborate, Evolve (ICE) Program is one such platform for harnessing new ideas. CGI members can submit innovative ideas, with the approved submissions receiving funding and cross company collaboration to build them into working solutions.  Another way we achieve innovation is by inspiring and assigning the right people to get the job done!

We recognise that team leadership skills are at a premium, and assign the best leaders with sufficient capacity to tackle head-on the most challenging programs and those essential for successful strategy implementation.

This is accomplished by:

  • Promoting team engagement and effective cross-business cooperation
  • Committing to make strategic decisions rapidly
  • Moving quickly to correct course, reprioritise and remove roadblocks
  • Building a lean and powerful governance structure to reinforce accountability, ownership, and a bias towards action
  • Sharing skills and information, and promoting a highly collaborative environment where team members can face disruptions and push themselves to achieve a higher innovation outcome

I’m proud to be a part of a company that promotes innovation through strong leadership and a core focus on culture. I am a strong believer that when the right people are given the freedom to share their knowledge, insights, and skills, innovation naturally follows.