Killing Innovation in the Organization

Innovation is, to some, the holy grail of continued success.  Getting the innovation process right puts an organization on the path of growth and renewal.  Recently, Scott Kirsner, editor of Innovation Leader, an information service for corporate innovation executives, and blogger at Harvard Business Review, wrote about  11 ways a big company undermines their own innovation efforts.  To summarize, his list includes:

  • No definition or metrics for what success means.
  • It must be instantly apparent and quantifiably demonstrable how every new idea has billion-dollar potential, or 18-month return-on-investment.
  • The CIO, or Chief Information Officer becomes the Chief Innovation Officer, but still has the information systems as his/her primary role.
  • The innovation team is considered “the CEO’s thing,” disconnected from business units and their most pressing concerns.
  • Innovation is expected to happen in cubicles and around conference tables.
  • Ideas don’t gain momentum if they’re seen as potentially competing with existing products or services, or threatening today’s business relationships.
  • The paradox of proximity. If innovation groups are connected too closely to business units, they are typically asked to collaborate on near-term projects that can impact revenue quickly. But if they off on their own working on long-term, truly disruptive projects, it can be hard to get participation from business units when they need it.
  • Fear of releasing “alpha” or test versions of new products and services to get early market feedback.
  • Every good idea is expected to spring from the hermetically-sealed world of the corporation.
  • Company culture doesn’t tolerate, or understand how to learn from, failure.
  • Lack of commitment.

How successful is your innovation process?  How is your company getting in it’s own way?

That’s a WRAP!  Have a nice weekend.

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