Driving an Innovation Agenda by developing a growth mindset

by Contributor10 Aug 2017
There has been little in the way of change since the National Science and Innovation Agenda was launched more than one and a half years ago. 

There is no denying it has spurred on the exciting start up eco-system, but one would have to question why it is that since its launch Australia’s ranking on the Global Innovation Index has slipped from 17th to 23rd in 2017.

It appears this could be due to Australian businesses lacking a high-performance, innovation culture compared to Global businesses. The 2015 Australian Innovation System report shows:
  • only 16% of Australian businesses have a high-performance innovation culture, compared to 44% of the Global top 1000;
  • 39% of Australian businesses have little or no innovation culture, compared with 27% of Global top 1000
There is a place for Government intervention, to help turn this around, but having worked with many corporates, it is clear one of the single biggest factors holding Australian businesses back from reaching their potential as innovators, is the lack of a Growth Mindset.

Addressing Workers’ Growth Mindset
The good news is that it’s possible to move away from a fixed mindset. We can in fact learn to create a growth mindset that makes us more motivated and productive.

In training people to develop a growth mindset and improve their resilience, we hear a lot of people talk about the pressure in Australian workplaces on everyone to be innovative. They’ll say “I’m not that person. Being innovative doesn’t come naturally. It’s not like turning on a switch” or “I just don’t have the skills to be part of the ideas boom”.

The beliefs and attitudes that make up our mindset have a significant impact on the choices we make and the goals we pursue. A growth mindset is built on an attitude that continuous improvement is always possible whereas people with a fixed mindset will avoid challenging their beliefs and try less.

Historically, special leaders have been able to change attitudes on mass (for better or worse), and when all is said and done, a large amount of organisational leadership is influencing the mindset or attitude of your people.

Beyond the sphere of influence demonstrated by those rare transformational leaders, up to now there was no turnkey solution of applied psychology that meant you could literally train someone to think differently, feel differently and have a different attitude.

A Proven Mindset Toolkit
The body of work known as the ORANGES toolkit produced by Simon Rountree is the missing piece of applied neuroscience and positive psychology – it’s a program that literally allows you to train people in how to think, and consequently improve their mental wellbeing, stability, performance and attitude.

It’s based in part on research by Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck that shows intelligence is malleable and that we can stimulate our brain to create a growth mindset that makes you happier in life and a better, more resilient and flexible worker.

For those fixed mindset people who don’t see themselves as innovators and fail to see opportunities for growth, Carol proposed ‘the bridge to yet.’

If you say you can’t do something ‘yet’ you remain open to trying to learn something new.

Paul Findlay is Managing Director of PDT, an Australian-owned professional development training company operating in 10 countries. It delivers ORANGES – a program developed by Camp Quality, covering Optimism, Resilience, Attitude, Now (mindfulness), Gratitude, Energy and Strengths, to corporate and government workplaces.