我還在 Facebook 廣告業務部的時候，有過一次印象深刻的市場調研，當時是在深圳，拜訪一家想要互聯網化的手機 OEM 廠 (原始設備製造廠/專業代工廠)。會議室裡主次分明的座位相互隔得遠遠的，偌大的會議室只有我們和老闆坐著，其他廠商的同事都站成一排在一旁做筆記，全程不發言，很多座位空著也不讓他們坐。
When I was still at Facebook, I had an impressive market visit. It was a mobile OEM factory in Shenzhen which hoped to build online presence.
In the meeting room, only the CEO and us were seated. Other folks at his company were only allowed to stand there and take notes (while there were many available seats). They were not permitted to speak at all.
那個會開完我就想，傳統企業轉型為互聯網公司，真不是搞個網站就能解決的問題，還有深層的文化與思維。很多傳統企業是老闆的一言堂，員工難有發言權，結果企業模式難以跳出傳統思維，創新乏力。尤其影響到現有主營業務的創新就更難，正如克里斯坦森教授在創新者窘境中描述的 — 不僅傳統企業，大家認為最創新的那幾家互聯網公司都一樣有這個問題。
After that meeting, I thought, transforming traditional firms into internet companies wasn’t just about building a website. The culture, org structure, and the way people think about things all need to change – for example empowering employees to speak up and have ownership requires the management teams to trust others and listen more.
Innovations that impact the main businesss unit can be even harder — as Professor Christensen described in the Innovator’s Dilemma – and the challenge applies to even the most innovative companies as well.
It’s utterly challenging for women to lead innovations, given all the above problems and gender biases. Many people tend to ‘feel’ that men are more innovative and bolder. I’ve even experienced quite few situations when my idea was attributed to a male colleague without a reason.
So how do women in the workplace lead innovations? Let me share some thoughts.
首先，你需要有重要決策者以及同事的信任及支持 (如果你已經在核心圈層，那這段可以略過)，而想要一下子讓所有人都認可你，幾乎是不可能的。但你可以從點來切入，比如找一個願意支持你的 mentor，讓他/她為你背書，幫你引薦。透過 mentor，你可以認識更多核心人物，或是加入更多專案。
First of all, you need to have the trust and support of important decision-makers and colleagues (if you are already in the core circle, then this paragraph can be skipped), and it is almost impossible for everyone to recognize you at once. But you can start from building a small allies group. For example, you can find a mentor who’s willing to support you. Let him/ her endorse you, and introduce you to more stakeholders or more projects.
The next step is a project to build your ‘brand’. People tend to have stronger impression of stories rather than general data. Doing a hundred small projects is not as good as completing a big one well. In the project, you also need to influence your co-workers and make them your supporters. You might as well speak more in the meeting and give more recognition to others, and you can use ‘I have a suggestion’ as an opening when proposing your own ideas. In many cultures, the use of ‘I’ is not recommended because it makes people feel too self-centered. But for women who are inherently more humble, they need to confidently speak for themselves.
這個過程可能很漫長，越是創新的想法越花時間。這時候 mentor 也許能幫你一起影響決策者，讓他們 接受 這個想法。當專案成立的時候，你就可以自告奮勇來領導這個專案。即使失敗了，大家也不會拒絕一個參與者，你可以在專案中繼續影響合作者，爭取下一個專案 — 要相信自己並相信時間。
Up to this point, if you already have an innovative idea, you can start influencing others. This process can be very long, and the more innovative the idea, the more time it takes. Again, a mentor may be able to help you influence decision-makers and let them buy in this idea. When the project is established, you can volunteer to lead it. Even if the attempt fails, you can still participate, and try the next time.
Of course, none of the above is useful if you are not an innovative person at all. Next time, I can share more about enhancing innovativity.