What are the conditions in which Innovation can flourish?

By Janet Sernack   Editor’s Note: Janet  L. Sernack  is our latest contributor from Israel, she gained her consulting, education, facilitation, training and executive coaching skills, from over …


By Janet Sernack


Editor’s Note:

Janet  L. Sernack  is our latest contributor from Israel, she gained her consulting, education, facilitation, training and executive coaching skills, from over 30 years of experience in the manufacturing and retailing and learning and development businesses to Australia’s top 100 companies as Compass Learning Pty Ltd.She now resides on the Mediterranean Coast, in Israel where she founded an Israeli Start-Up, ImagineNation, which is an imaginative, generative & provocative global learning & development company that allows coaches, managers, leaders and organisations to develop their innovative and entrepreneurial leadership capability through enterprise gamification (The Start-Up Game) innovation labs and online learning programs (The Coach for Innovators ICF CCE Certified Program).One of the things Janet said to me recently was” how come everyone is talking about Innovation and no one talks about being Innovative”Do join her Training on How to become Innovative here:


In January 2010 my husband and I, relocated from a very safe and  secure haven, Australia, and migrated to one of the most challenging, and innovative, ‘hot spots’ on earth; Israel.

–   To see ourselves shift from two regular monthly incomes, to almost no income at all!

–   To  experience the series of enormous physical, spiritual and emotional disruptions to what had been a pretty placid and ‘comfortable’ lifestyle, in Sydney’s lush and plush, upper North Shore.

–   To make such a huge life change when the majority of our peers were ensconced in grandchildren and developing financial pathways to retirement?

–   To be exposed to a completely new and diverse ‘east meets west’ culture?

–   To learn a complex and challenging ancient, but modernised language?

–   To adapt to a new work ethic, a new currency, a different climate and a completely new lifestyle?

Combine this with the reverberations of the Global Financial Crisis, the unstable geopolitical situation resulting from the ‘Arab Spring’ as well as the Euro Zone Crisis; we saw our lives start to spin ‘out of control’.

I realised very quickly that I would need to manage my own change process very carefully so that I could succeed in this ‘new world’.

I also realised that this ‘new world’ offered me an incredible opportunity for transforming my career, changing my game and re-inventing my business.

I began researching why Israel, the fabled ‘Start- Up Nation’, is such a source of disruptive innovation, and what might be some of the cultural factors that deliver these outcomes. I utilised my 30 years of corporate experience in organisational development with some of the largest and most successful companies in the Asia Pacific, to see if I could then decipher and codify how Israeli’s innovate.  I chose to do this because Israel is provides evidence of authentic entrepreneurship that emerges spontaneously, cutting edge inventiveness and ‘out of the box’ thinking as a ‘way of life’! In Israel, the whole culture is one of debate and problem solving, and generative debate delivers results beyond expectations!

I could then apply my findings and learning’s to the corporate context, which is noticeably struggling to find some sense of balance as well as new and more effective ways of responding to uncertainty and instability.

As a result of my research I discovered that it is possible to generate imaginative and unconventional solutions to challenges and problems as well as to improbable and unexpected events.

I realised that most savvy organisations are already aware that they need to change their game. They also know that it is possible to build something extraordinary and memorable.

They just didn’t know the ‘how to’ yet!

As a result of my research I discovered that there are certain conditions in which Innovation flourishes:

–   Innovation tends to be a result of some kind of disruptive process that establishes the need for some kind of significant adaptation, if there is no deep intrinsic motivation or necessity for radical change, Innovation is unlikely to emerge.

–   Innovation depends on the embodiment of specific mindsets; these mindsets form the foundations for ideation and innovation. People cannot develop skills without these specific mindsets, all of which can be learnt. In order to learn them, people have to go through some kind of learning anxiety and temporary incompetence. This is required so that they can let go of the old ways. This might include old mindsets, behaviours, practices or habits. They do this by making mistakes and learning from them. Creating the space for the new way of Being to be established.

–   Experimentation is a huge factor in Innovation, as is improvisation and ability, persistence and flexibility to prototype solutions until the Innovation is ready to market.

–   Innovation is an iterative process, some of the key qualities required to manage this are deep Attention and Intention. This creates the ability to discern what the core problem or dilemma is, and what constitutes right action for moving forwards. The ability to zoom in and zoom out, to be both analytical and intuitive simultaneously in formulating a solution is also critical.

–   For Innovation to flourish it requires an environment where specific and unusual mindsets and behaviours are encouraged and valued, such a deviance to the norm, maximizing diversity and especially assertive and disruptive debate.

–   The environment also needs to be extremely flexible, to allow those who value the process, order and structure and loose enough, for those who don’t. The key is the Freedom to operate in the manner that works best for individuals, promotes generative debate and a deep sense of camaraderie and loyalty.

Finally, having a supportive business eco-system, where all of the pieces and parts that support an enable a business to be adaptive, sustainable and successful, work collaboratively and harmoniously together to enable Innovation to flourish, is also critical!




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