- the action or process of innovating.
Innovation is a new idea, more effective device or process. Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments and society. The term innovation can be defined as something original and more effective and, as a consequence, new, that "breaks into" the market or society.
As web development studio, Cheeky Monkey Media has always had to find a balance between embracing innovation and getting the job done. This pertains to maintaining scope, budget and a level of profitability. The team has kicked around many ideas around what innovation could mean to us. Most of the time, this ends up being a group of monkeys huddled around a desk helping each other figuring out a problem using different approaches they’ve seen or experienced. Though this is a useful exercise, it doesn’t allow the team to grow outside of direct client work.
Watching our team grow and mature as Drupal developers has been great but frustrating at the same time. Many people in the office have heard me rant on about how we are a development shop yet we need to be more than just a Drupal shop while not to taking anything off the table. So how are the guys expected to grow outside of just the day to day work? Maybe on their own time, after working all day, then going home to their families and dealing with their personal life responsibilities? Not likely. This may have worked well when we were all in our early twenties and had nothing but free time, but since our company has an average age of 33, this isn’t the way to achieve innovation at our core.
Knowing this, we realized we needed to stop paying lip service to being innovative and finally jump in with both feet. To move the needle, we are starting something we call Innovation Day, which will happen once a month for the foreseeable future.
What our innovation day is going to look like for the first few iterations is similar to a compact startup weekend type of experience. Our staff of highly trained monkeys are being split into two teams and will be given 24 hours to take an idea from inception to being a viable concept/product to show and present (Rick and I will be the judges). If people stay and work on it for 24 hours, we are going to pay them for that time since this is an investment in our monkeys, which in turn, is a direct investment in the future of Cheeky Monkey Media. During our pitch of this concept, we made it clear the end result does not need to be software based; ideas could be for an app or a cool new golf cart …. really there is no limitations other than their imaginations. We will throw in a few guidelines along the way to push them to try new things like “you can’t do what you normally do in client work”. For a developer this could mean no Drupal, no PHP etc.
Our end goals are pretty simple for this concept:
- Allow our monkeys to get back in touch with the magic of why they are creators of stuff
- Get them out of their comfort zone
- Be creative
The first Cheeky Monkey Media Innovation Day is going to be Nov 13th, and the teams are already set and the excitement between them has already been a lot of fun. We will post the results and talk about the experience of going through this as a team in later posts, so keep an eye out for that. As well on Nov 13th, check out Meerkat as we will be doing live streaming at different times throughout the day of the event.