5 reasons why you should look outside of big organisations for inspiration

If you have ever worked inside a big organisation, you know just how tough it can be to go through constant change with little control or purpose, for that matter. ‘The only thing that is constant is change’, right?

But imagine if you could unleash your natural human creativity and be empowered to solve problems for the benefit of others. Imagine what it would be like to feel part of something greater than yourself.

With purpose and passion, change takes on greater meaning

If you are looking for inspiration to make your company an engaging place to work, look beyond other big companies. Instead, listen to the everyday people who are doing something to make the world a better place.

Learning from people who are leading change outside of large organisations can help you in five ways:

1. You’ll get close to people who work with purpose. Around the world, millions of people are pursuing a purpose with passion. Real stories about people who are in the cut-and-thrust mode of making change happen will lift your spirits and inspire you to do the same. It’s infectious.

2. You’ll visit the edge of innovation. Somewhere out there, there’s someone creating tomorrow’s world. Their work may not be mainstream yet, but their insight can give you a new perspective. See things from a new frame of mind and experience change in motion. It’s happening everywhere – tap into the zeitgeist.

3. New conversations can create change. Expose yourself to new conversations from diverse places and different worldviews. Discover a new language and immerse yourself in creative and disruptive ideas. If you change the conversation inside your organisation, you will create change.

4. Spending time with agents of change is inspiring. Spend time with unknown innovators and agents of change to stretch your imagination. People who have a positive mindset and who believe in possibility can inspire you to do something that matters.

5. You’ll learn that creativity spans all ages. People of all ages are making change happen outside of work. You can unleash your creativity in the workplace and the world at large. No matter how old or young you are.

We need to do things differently

The world is becoming more complex. Many of our most cherished institutions have all but disappeared and experts believe that nearly half of America’s largest companies will be replaced within the next decade. And as big corporations begin to transform, disruptive start-ups continue to build closer relationships with their customers.

Here’s an example of disruption in action. While it might not be the most exciting sector, insurance is something just about everybody needs, yet most people don’t trust insurance companies. New start-ups like Lemonade are changing that with easier-to-understand policies, more user-friendly digital experiences – and a genuine desire to pay out claims. They take a customer-led approach (vs the traditional product-led approach) and use technology to enable their mission.

That’s one example. Other industries, too, are experiencing unrelenting disruption. Yet while artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain all have the potential to create lots of benefits for customers and organisations, we need to remember that it’s people who create change if we want to unlock human potential.

At the very time when companies need committed, motivated and productive people to steer them into this brave new world, 87% of employees are not engaged. People are fed up with being treated like a cog in a machine. As a result, they are giving so little of themselves that they may as well not be there.

To shift employee morale and motivation, leaders know they need to do things differently. So, they look to progressive organisations for ideas they can replicate. Learning from other large organisations is a good thing to do, but there is another, more progressive way to get ideas and inspiration.

A movement of people who are changing things

Across the globe, there are start-ups, scale-ups, social enterprises, charities, inventors, thinkers, and communities of like-minded individuals, all making change happen through a burning ambition to build a better world. People like Alan Mahon and Josh Littlejohn from Brewgooder, who are turning craft beer into clean water so that a million people can get access to clean drinking water.

How about Tom Gatzen and Rob Imonike from Ideal Flatmate, who want to connect like-minded people, so they can live together in harmony? Or Natasha Langleben and her brother Josh Adley from Linkey who have made it easier to give essential items to homeless people through their online shop. Look at Stuart Pennington, who is changing his nation’s self-perception for the good by looking at his native South Africa in a new light through his positive news website SA Good News.

Millions more people like them share characteristics that most large organisations can only dream of – they are passionate, engaged, dedicated, give endless discretionary effort, innovate freely, are unconstrained by boundaries and norms, seek opportunities in every moment, and are enthusiastic advocates of a compelling purpose.

How did they get their ideas off the ground? How do they get things done? How do they keep going when things get tough? How does it feel when they see the positive impact they are making on the world? And most importantly, what can we learn from them?

The answers to these questions offer leaders a chance to get closer to people who are giving the best of themselves through their work and to reframe the way they think about leadership.

We can all make positive change happen

The attributes of people who are changing things outside of large organisations also exist within corporations. It’s just that the old fashioned way of managing people squashes our natural human creativity and our ability to work together to solve problems for the benefit of others.

Spending time in the world of someone who is making change happen will energise and empower you. It will inspire you to find a different approach to your own work, especially when you see what it’s like to work with purpose and feel a part of something greater than yourself.

So, step out into the unknown and surround yourself with people who are unconstrained, highly adaptable and energised to make a positive difference in the world. Find the people around you that are making a difference and spend some time with them.

You never know what might rub off.