Monday, November 06, 2006

Just Innovating

I have come to the firm belief that too many firms have set too high a goal for innovation. We are frankly making innovation too "hard" in many organizations and setting such a high expectation that many people are looking at innovation and shying away from participation.

It's like reading Das Capital and trying to understand the dialectic, whatever that is. Why use simple explanations and examples when long, amorphous sounding phrases will work? I feel the same way about innovation. There's far too much talk about innovation and theory and discussion but just not enough action. And far too frequently the reasons behind that are not structural but expectations.

I spoke recently with a senior individual in a large firm who is convinced that innovation must happen outside the "normal" business process. This person felt that people were too ill-informed or too busy to innovate and generate new ideas. What gets in the way of people generating ideas as part of their day to day job? Expectations and quarterly result pressure. But surely most people in that rather large business experience challenges or identify opportunities that they can pass along as a new idea or product. Certainly they can take a few minutes out of their schedule to evaluate an idea that may have merit to their business. Otherwise we may as well transfer all innovation work to the business development guys.

There's simply too much talk about innovation and not enough experimentation and trials. As the talk increases, the level of discourse is not improving, and is only creating barriers as the expectations increase. What most firms need now is to provide tools, processes and training to their innovative folks and get out of the way. Instead, most firms keep talking about innovation and raising the bar, and more and more people are discouraged from getting anything started since it can't possibly measure up to the talk.

We need more experiments, more trials, more intentional accidents. We need to set the expectations that everyone should be involved in innovation - at least to the extent of generating and submitting ideas. As we define an innovation "team", let's take care not to create innovation ghettos. Too many people are being left out of the process, which means too many ideas aren't being discovered and evaluated.

Yes, we want ideas that the firm can capitalize on, and yes, there needs to be some evaluation of the ideas and better portfolio management, but right now we are reaching a cusp where the expectations for innovation are beginning to discourage the average employee from participating.

I'd like to see an approach where any employee can "just innovate". That innovation by any person is the baseline expectation, and that the organization will sponsor and support those who innovate. We need to build the enthusiasm and the processes at the same time. Right now I think we are raising the bar without increasing the involvement or investment.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 6:48 AM

36 Comments:

Anonymous Roger von Oech said...

I agree whole-heartedly with your sentiments.

I've long been an advocate of two things you discuss in your post:

1) Put innovation in everyone's performance plan -- no matter what their function. That means that each person is required to come up with new ideas every year on how to improve their group's performance. (NOTE: you might want the innovation quota to be lower in accounting than in R&D, but it's still there nonetheless.)

2. Champion small ideas. Because once you get them, you can work them into medium-size ideas, etc. It's very difficult to get big ideas out-of-the-blue. And emphasizing the "big ideas" can intimidate people.

Roger von Oech

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Scott Arthur Edwards said...

WARNING: A new immensely powerful viral marketing system has been released, which allows marketers to broadcast messages directly to people's desktops. Learn more about it here: extra income site. It pretty much covers extra income related stuff and it is FREE to join.

4:48 AM  
Anonymous Tom Cotton said...

I've been lucky enough to be part of an company initiative called 'proof of concept' (POC) designed to get innovation work happening within the organisation.

Our task was to rapidly prototype innovative personalised space for educators.

We have been given three months, a small budget and a small team of people working part time. We have to deliver a presentation of work done monthly.

The project is allowed to fail - the cost is low compared to the failure of a full blown project.

The project removes much project administration and process to provide agility when new great ideas come up. We ignore realities such as accessibility, site blocking etc - in order to focus clearly on core concepts. The strict time frames keeps us honest with discussions and development.

The basic outcome is marketing to potential clients. A successful project becomes a highly informed spec for a future rigorous project development. There are many other spins offs.

The culture within the team is more like play than work. It's been great to be part of - this is just another way of a company can deliberately foster innovation.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous how to stay erect said...

thanks for sharing..

10:47 PM  
Anonymous wisata kuliner bandung said...

thanks for sharing..

10:47 PM  
Anonymous belajar internet marketing said...

thanks for sharing..

10:47 PM  
Anonymous delayed orgasm said...

thanks for sharing..

10:48 PM  
Anonymous delaying ejaculation said...

thanks for sharing..

10:48 PM  
Anonymous how to last longer in bed said...

thanks for sharing..

10:50 PM  
Anonymous how to prevent premature ejaculation said...

thanks for sharing..

10:51 PM  
Anonymous how to avoid premature ejaculation said...

thanks for sharing..

10:51 PM  
Anonymous how to prolong ejaculation said...

thanks for sharing..

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Inversiones en oro said...

hello, this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.
Invertir en plata

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Invertir en oro said...

I think that this post is one of the best that i have read in my life, congrats you did a great job,.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous konsultan seo said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous asuransi pendidikan said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous action coach said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous jadi artis said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous cara dapat duit said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous kerja sama investasi said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous coach indonesia said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous jajanan bandung said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous coklat valentine said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Panduan SEO said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous stop pre ejaculation said...

Thanks a lot for this time sharing of innovation about just innovating. This is really one great blog i have ever read

8:03 AM  
Anonymous cure hemorrhoids naturally said...

I look forward to another article. It would be nice to have, too.

3:24 AM  
Anonymous konsultan perusahaan said...

I think people fear idea management and innovation because there's a significant number of ideas that simply won't plan out.......Nice statement.....keep posting

7:13 AM  
Anonymous belajar internet marketing said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous parcel lebaran said...

I think that this post is one of the best that i have read in my life, congrats you did a great job,.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous delayed orgasm said...

the difference between the content spammers and most corporate innovators is that the smaller

7:14 AM  
Anonymous how to avoid premature ejaculation said...

I'm writing to you because I just came across a business that I think has great potential. It lets you save money on almost everything. Make money from almost everything,

7:14 AM  
Anonymous konsultan seo said...

If growth is important to a firm, and if growth is dependent on offering existing products and services to new customers

7:15 AM  
Anonymous tabungan pendidikan said...

innovation is very natural and happens in the "real world" as new plants and animals colonize new ecological niches.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous mengecilkan perut said...

I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect

7:16 AM  
Anonymous how to teach dogs tricks said...

We generally think most specifically about the risk associated with a new product introduction

7:16 AM  
Anonymous easy way to get pregnant said...

I would be aware that as somebody who really doesn’t comment to blogs a lot (in actual fact, this may be my first put up), I don’t think the time period “lurker” is very flattering to a non-posting reader.

7:16 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home