Leadership / Management

Managing innovation is about …

IMG_0880 ... managing change.

That was the main idea behind this panel on at the DigitalNow Association Leadership Conference in Orlando. I got to moderate this panel of innovative associations, and as always, I learned a lot from the experience.

Three innovative associations in three very different industries (professional, state health care, and safety) were represented on the panel, and they have more similarities than differences.

  1. Kathy Trahan, CEO of Safety Council of Louisiana
  2. Brantlee Underhill, Director at Project Management International
  3. Maryjane Wurth, CEO of Illinois Hospital Association

In our prep call for our session, we discovered that all three at some point discussed how they worked to engage these three key areas of their associations:

  • Membership
  • Board and volunteer leadership
  • Association team

And we discovered that size doesn't matter. All three associations, although very different, managed to do some very innovative things very well. The common themes were agility, flexibility and innovation.

We closed with this question: What's on your 3x5? Sum up your advice to future innovators on a 3x5 index card:

  • Brantlee: Anticipation: Think about possible scenarios and open up potential blind spots as you plan for innovation.
  • Maryjane: Listen. How can you engage your members to hear what they are thinking about? Structure: Assess it because it can work for you or against you. And finally: Be the change you want to see in the world. (I read that as, "Walk the talk.")
  • Kathy: Clear direction, the right team, and resources to get the projects done.

Here are my takeaways:

Relevance: How are we relevant? Change: How are we engaging the three key stakeholder groups (members, leadership and our team)? Alignment: How are we getting everyone facing same direction?

Thanks for sharing your stories and illuminating the path forward for us.