Raise your hand if you want to be an innovative association.
Now raise your hand if you ARE an innovative association.
Do those two realities line up? If not, why do you think that is? Often, it’s because we’re scared of innovation. It’s new, it’s different. Change is scary.
But what if we could reframe our perception of innovation? Or maybe not even that, but scale down our ideas for innovation (and by extension, the risks associated with innovation)?
Seems a lot less terrifying, huh? But what does that look like in reality? Well it’s a little term (and practice) known as micro-innovation.
Micro-innovation is just that - innovation on a smaller scale, and it could be a great tactic for your small-staff association to try, particularly if the risks are high and you have a board (and boss) to report back to.
Here’s what micro-innovation might look like:
- Rather than completely changing the format of your annual meeting or event, what if you changed up one portion of it? What if you changed up the exhibitor portion of it - where and how your exhibitors showcase? Or if that’s still too risky, what if you added an element to the exhibitor package - an opportunity for exhibitors to lead table discussions during lunch, for example? Innovation doesn’t have to be a major overhaul. Start small.
- Another example: Let’s say you need to re-work a few internal processes. Your staff meetings are dull and mundane. Can you switch up how you’re conducting those? What if you started each one off with a fun, stimulating question. For example, what if you had everyone go around the room and state, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could…[blank]?” You’ll probably get some crazy suggestions, but a good idea could come of that. (And you could always scale it back, if needed.)
When we think of innovation, we often think of companies like Apple or Google - completely reinventing the wheel and changing how we do things. But that’s not how innovation has to be. Innovation can be small - it can be as simple as changing how we run a staff meeting or how we conduct an interview.
Think of little ways to add splashes of creativity to even the most basic projects and tasks. You’ll be surprised at how quickly those changes can add up, leading you on a path to more long-term association innovation.
Want more tips for managing your association - clever ways to recruit members, engage them, and retain them? Check out our free guide to membership management below!