When we talk about productivity and innovation, we put into play the nature and approach of how we work. This means that we have to consider changing the way we work. What's interesting in this age of business help and self help books is that no one has written a book about business management and Newton's 3 laws of physics. These laws really apply well to what we try to do every day, in our physical lives and in our work lives.
If you aren't familiar with Newton's three laws of physics, you can take the brief refresher course here. Basically, the first rule states that objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by a new force. This rule applies to business as well. Processes and bureacracies tend to remain the same if at all possible. They remain "at rest" unless someone acts upon them. Changing a business process requires a unique force, and the bureacracies won't change without an outside force.
The second rule deals with force, mass and acceleration. It states that the force applied is equal to the velocity and mass of the object. If you place a force on the object, it will move according to its mass and the acceleration applied. This is also true for businesses. The larger the mass, the more ingrained the process or bureacracy, the less acceleration your change will achieve. Note that there's a corollary to the second law - Acceleration is inversely proportional to Mass. Thus, the larger the organization, the weaker the acceleration toward the change you wish to make.
The third rule deals with the balances of forces. It states, basically, that for every force there is an equal and opposite force applied. This means that as we push change in an organization, an equal and opposite push is occuring not to change. If you've ever tried to create a significant cultural change in an organization, you've seen this principle at work.
If the three laws apply equally to physical objects and to business cultures, what can we take away from Newton's Laws to help us implement change to become more productive?
First, recognize that most organizations resist change. They want to stay at rest. Organizations are made up of people who, although they are capable of learning new things, often resist learning new processes from fear of the unknown. Thus, you must educate people to the value of the change and get them on board. Otherwise you violate the first law.
Second, recognize that the size of the change and the size of the organization make your task more complicated. Break down the size of the change or the size of the organization, or both. Can you break down your change into smaller chunks, rolled out over a longer period of time, to increasingly larger groups? As my favorite saying goes, Don't boil the ocean.
Third, recognize that no matter what you do, there will be people and organizations who push back against your change. First you want to attempt to co-opt them, by demonstrating the value of the change and getting their inputs. Next, you want to educate them and show them the vision of the future and their place in it. Finally, if all else fails, you want to isolate them, and not allow them to be a roadblock to what you are trying to accomplish.
There's a book in there somewhere. If everyone from Sun Tzu to Jesus Christ can be quoted as a management expert, why not the father of modern physics?