You can't innovate if...
As we believe you learn more from failure that success, here's a list of reasons that many firms can't seem to innovate:
- Leadership - while senior managers talk about innovation, the evaluation structures, compensation, investment and other factors necessary for innovation to succeed simply aren't provided.
- Culture - often, even if a management team wants to be innovative, and is willing to provide resources and funds for innovation, the culture can't change quickly enough. Most firms have a bias towards idea generation and innovation, or towards cost and risk control. Firms with the latter bias are rarely innovative - it simply isn't in their nature.
- Expectations and communication - often there is dissonance between what the executive team wants and what gets filtered down to the average worker bee. If we clearly communicate the need for disruptive ideas and that communication is received and understood, and the culture reflects those requirements, a firm can be innovative.
- Commitment - few firms succeed with part-time innovators. Either decide to commit or hang up the cleats now. If you are familiar with the story of the chicken and the pig at breakfast, we need "pig" like commitment.
- Funding and transition - many firms are able to generate ideas, but they aren't able to transition them to commercial products or services because there was no ownership in the ideas from the product teams or no funding available or the list of projects was simply too long. A defined innovation process flow - from concept to product or service - is required
- Fear of risk, change and failure - Innovation requires that you introduce risk into the business. It requires changing existing processes. More than likely, some ideas will fail. If your firm can't stand these risks, then become a fast follower.
- Lack of vision - To be an innovator, you have to have a vision for the future - what unmet needs or undiscovered markets may exist and how can we exploit them? If you don't have the vision, there are ways to acquire that insight, but you've got to have it.
- Thinking of innovation as a project rather than a competency. Most businesses are organized around persistent business processes. It's clear what people aligned to those processes need to do each day to make the business hum. However, many firms are very comfortable creating finite innovation projects -here today, gone tomorrow. There's no clear process and continuing effort around innovation, and given the risk and effort, as soon as the project is over, innovation is dropped.