Brian P. Christie asked Shelly Alcorn, CAE, 1/24/2017 11:21:57 AM

Do associations perceive innovation as a challenge or opportunity?

1/25/2017 6:22:19 PM,
Shelly Alcorn, CAE replied:
All too often associations perceive innovation as a "have to" instead of a "want to." This is really pretty understandable when you remember you are dealing with volunteer leaders who are concerned about being good stewards of association finances and who may not be all that enthused about incurring potential criticism from the membership if they make a wrong decision. 

That being said, more and more associations are realizing that staying in a reactionary mode (only innovating when there seems to be no other choice) actually costs them more in the long run as they begin to implement technologies that may already be going extinct before they even fully get into the boat. A new generation of members sees "continual upgrading" as a sign that the association is "on top of things." They are willing to put up with some hiccups as long as the direction is "forward" rather than experience something "perfect" right out of the gate that never changes.

The key is developing strong "future forecasting" muscle using games (like Impact from Idea Couture); implementing techniques like the Two Curve Framework (From the book - The Second Curve: Managing the Velocity of Change by Ian Morrison) to help plot when the association needs to jump to a new emergent trend; joining fellow professional societies that specialize in the future (like the World Future Society); brushing up on their own foresight skills through programs such as the ones offered through the Institute for the Future; continual strategic scanning, adding short educational components to each board meeting on large societal trends and advancements in technology they should pay attention to, lots of scenario planning and a little bit of luck. :D