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InnovationLeadership & Management

Encouraging Innovation in your organisation for a successful 2021

It has been a challenging year for everyone, businesses especially.  Innovation could be the answer you are looking for.

We all know change is essential for business survival.  Maintaining that competitive edge with efficiency and an engaged team is necessary for business success.

But as a manager or business owner how do you identify the changes needed to be successful in the long term?

Innovation is your key to embarking on the process of change you need to be successful.

But what is Innovation?

Innovation is the process of developing and actioning new ideas that improves business efficiency and productivity.

Innovation is the tool that supports businesses to respond to change and remain competitive.  If you subscribe to the 70:20:10 rule by Eric Schmidt then 10% of your resources should be allocated to innovation.

There are many tools and methodologies that you can apply to help you innovate in your teams and business.  We find that team motivation increases when a tool can be used collectively.  Conducting an innovation process, such as the one below, as a team exercise, supports an engaged team for business success.

How can you start Innovating?

One of the most effective ways we have found to initiate the innovation process in our development programmes is through using the brilliant Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats®️.

The Six Thinking Hats®️ is a parallel thinking process that helps people be more productive, focused and mindfully involved.  It is a proven effective method that is simple to learn and quick to implement.

The Principles of the Six Thinking Hats®️.

The hats effectively separate out the thinking process, supporting focussed thoughts, conversation, ideas and actions.  Below is a summary of how we use the Six Thinking Hats®️ at Jewel.


Blue Hat – This hat provides focus, guidelines, and action for the team.  It is the facilitator of the innovation exercise.


Green Hat – This is the creative hat where focus is generating creative ideas, possibilities, and alternatives.  This is a chance for new concepts and perceptions to be explored.


Yellow Hat – This is the positive thinking hat where all focus is on the values and benefits of the different ideas.


Black Hat – This hat is where you consider all the things that might not work with the ideas generated.  We call it the ‘Yes But’ hat.  It is a chance to identify all difficulties and dangers but be warned not to over use it!


Red Hat – This is the emotional gut feel hat.  It examines how people would react to ideas and is a chance for people to express likes and dislikes, feelings and emotions and hunches around ideas generated.


White Hat – This is the fact hat!  Here focus is on all the data required to consider the ideas generated.


By thinking from each hats perspective you open up your mind to all possibilities, and thus create new ways of thinking.

Our Recommended Innovation Process

We believe that there are two effective ways you can approach this exercise.

  1. Assign hats to each team member, assigning a hat colour based on a person’s skills or process of thinking,  or
  2. Get everyone considering all ideas at the same time with all hats in succession.

Then follow the sequence below:

This image describes the order in which the hats can be used for the purposes of innovation

This is a wonderful process to help you think differently if you use the hats on your own, however we find this is a fantastic team activity where everyone gets involved and are encouraged to be innovative.  Even using Zoom you can use the Six Thinking Hats®️ process to get the team to think about innovation and ideas for 2021.

Jewel introduced this in their ILM Level 5 Leadership & Management programme, and one learner’s reaction was:

Julie delivered some further training to our team yesterday over ‘zoom’.  I was shown the process of the ‘6 hats’ which I’d never come across before.  One of the ‘hats’ is the pessimist and ‘the moaner’ but as Julie described, they have deep insights into the ‘what may go wrong’ in your project.  I’m going to use this in future!!! Thanks Julie

If you want to find out more about innovation, or how Jewel can help you and your business, contact us at or call 07803015527.