Focus on Innovation – What’s Your Company Doing to Focus on and Foster Innovation?

How will your company create new sources of long-term profitability and growth? What are the opportunities and where will you find them? Will your company be able to cultivate a culture of innovation to ensure its future success?

Innovation must be a core competence for every organization. This is the new mission for business leaders throughout the world. In the future, success will come to those who can leverage their knowledge and capabilities in order to create better solutions to old problems and new solutions to problems that have not yet been identified.

Companies must focus on innovation because competitive innovation is a contest between management’s thinking processes – what we call cognitive competence. Organizations must become more innovative by identifying and using their intellectual capital in ways that more effectively enhance their value creation processes.

Ask any CEO in the world to write a top-five wish list and you can bet that more ideas and better ideas is bound to show up in some form. Why? Because ideas and innovation are the most precious currency available to organizations in the new economy.

According to a recent study, the main challenges to making a company more innovative are:

1. Committed, inspiring leadership. Leaders need to be more deeply involved in the innovation process by inspiring, encouraging and reinforcing innovative behavior.
2. An enabling climate. The organization must develop new processes and systems for enabling people to be more innovative. This includes competitive strategies that promote innovation; quality strategies that promote and reward innovative behavior; and compensation systems that reward innovative behavior.
3. Creative people. Everyone is creative at something. The key here is to create an environment and provide the tools to help people be more creative. There are many extremely fine resources, training programs and books on enhancing human creativity.
4. Greater comfort around risk taking. If organizations spent nearly as much time in helping people understand the nature of human risk taking as they do in trying to understand the nature of financial or technological risk taking, people would develop a higher comfort level with taking moderate risks and innovation would increase.
5. Time to work on innovation. One-shot, organizationally isolated innovation projects don’t work very well. Anybody who has worked in organizations and promoted innovation knows this.

People need to have the time to work on innovative projects and receive the rewards that go along with that. Think of the highly innovative companies like 3M or Google, both of whom permit their employees to select and work 15% and 20%, respectively, of their time on innovative projects of their choosing.

So, what’s the main ingredient here? Of course, the source of all ideas: people! People are the main challenge. But how will you select the right people to help solve the problems? It’s a fact that all people solve problems and are creative!! But… they differ in how they approach problem-solving.

Ask yourself these questions: how can you help your teams be more creative at problem-solving? How can you get more out-of-the-box thinkers on your problem-solving teams? Organizations must develop new approaches to selecting people to work on problem solving teams by assessing their talent, their experience, their perceived creativity, and their expertise.

For today’s leader the management of innovation ranks at the top of the most challenging list. The scope of problems and the need for innovative problem-solving skills are as broad as the number of people on the globe.

Defeating Devil’s Advocates to Become an Innovation Champion

In an organization, it’s human nature to resist change and to stick with the status quo that’s often more comfortable and safe. Some of your teammates in your company may be devil’s advocates who claim they want what’s best for the business while they oppose initiatives for Innovation. As a leader and innovator-in-chief of your company, it is critical to drive the culture of Innovation throughout the organization even in the face of opposition.

To defeat devil’s advocates, first you must examine why innovation efforts fail. A major reason is tied to an organization’s culture and its people. In a BusinessWeek survey of top-ranked companies in Innovation including Google, Apple, 3M, Toyota and Microsoft, the companies attributed their success to the avoidance of certain culture-related issues. These issues included Innovation that was only “lip service” – all talk and no support. Having isolated initiatives instead of an ongoing culture of innovation was a deterrent. Fragmented support within the company was certainly an Innovation killer, as well as resources concentrated by certain innovation blocs.

So how does one defeat the devil’s advocates to become a true innovation champion for change? I asked Nic Hunt, Director of Innovation for an international manufacturing corporation, who takes a three-step approach.

    1. Define the desired culture. What does Innovation mean for your company? Quantify your goals, in terms of sales numbers and time frame, which will identify and justify the resources needed to achieve the goal. Identify who will be your key players from all departments within your organization.
    2. Establish the foundation. Create an identity or brand for innovation in terms of something the business engages with, that becomes the overarching theme for programs and initiatives created over time. Then establish the framework necessary to achieve Innovation, such as quarterly idea reviews, monthly development meetings, brainstorming sessions, off-site team activities or recognition programs. Build a calendar and stick to it so these initiatives are taken seriously and do not fall off the map.
    3. Engineer sustainability. Develop a system that brings the Innovation program to life such as awards, patent recognition badges and innovator lunches. Share success stories of great examples of teamwork that led to superior outcomes. Create regular activities that help build a sense of purpose and spread excitement of the new innovation program. Building morale sets the stage for organization members to want to actively participate and have their voices heard. In an organization, it’s human nature to resist change and to stick with the status quo that’s often more comfortable and safe. Some of your teammates in your company may be devil’s advocates who claim they want what’s best for the business while they oppose initiatives for Innovation. As a leader and innovator-in-chief of your company, it is critical to drive the culture of Innovation throughout the organization even in the face of opposition.
    4. A successful innovation strategy is multi-faceted and involves many methods, but leads to big pay-off in the end.

The 3 Features of Innovation

Innovation is the change that keeps individual society advancing. Unless you innovate, you will keep using the current tips and techniques until stagnation. However, progression is something which needs to be instilled in the common public for better progression. By providing information on how to innovate, you developed a skilled resource pool, which is curious by characteristics. It has many features that make it very effective. Read on to discover three features of innovation or progression.

Three features of innovation:
1. Creditability
Innovation is effective only when there are high levels of trust. This is because to be able for impressive individuals to be given a chance, you need to believe that person to provide the result. However, this is a major barrier in almost all business circumstances. Professional jealousies and individual competition usually put a stop in progression of skilled individual’s careers. The CEOs and Managers should ensure that an atmosphere of trust is produced in any office. They should make workers understand that it is for their own benefit if they develop an open approach to new ideas.

2. Workplace Diversity
Innovation flourishes on diversity. When a crowd from different demographics or backgrounds come together, a value chest of concepts and information gets developed. Different factor of opinions allows a idea to be examined from different perspectives. People of different shade, competition and social qualifications should be motivated to provide their concepts without any prejudices for the good of the organization. Innovation classes help to drive the factor of the significance of variety in the thoughts of the organization top control. For a organization to innovate, variety should be greatly ingrained in the attitude of the organization and its employees.

3. Risky Investments
Risk is a component of any innovation that we cannot stay clear of. You cannot anticipate each and every project to be effective. Even the best and knowledgeable worker might discover it difficult to be effective an idea due to numerous and unmanageable aspects. This may include company and personal aspects. Organizations coaching its workers to innovate should guarantee them that threat will be accepted. Otherwise, they may not give their best if under stress from their higher ups. Innovation growth coaching also sensitizes companies about the advantages and drawbacks of risky company suggestions. The apt saying for innovation based company is ‘No gain without threat’.

The above three features may vary in strength for different areas, but the primary substance continues to be the same. Recognize the three features at the right time to be able to have the best innovation coaching.