Looking at the innovation playing field

Next up in my little series on inovation, Mike Neiss hits the nail on the head too, citing from a Center for Creative Leadership survey and report (pdf) that holds:

“Senior executives face increasingly complex challenges that involve organizational changes, market dynamics and talent shortages. One popular response to increasing complexity is to lean on innovation. Our respondents believe that aiming for innovation through overt processes (systems and structures) and talent development is paramount to creating a culture that is agile enough to address complex challenges.”

He goes on:

[…] Innovation will not be widespread until the systems, practices, policies, and procedures are changed so that innovation becomes the path of least resistance. It may even be counterproductive to preach innovation and fire up the troops if they run smack into barriers that discourage it. Cynicism often occurs, followed by disengagement of talent when they wonder why they should bother.

If innovation is the goal, perhaps the focus shouldn’t be restricted to encouraging the players. Instead we should look seriously at the playing field. Some examples I am seeing include rigid organization structures, project teams being populated by those who are available rather than those who are necessary, resource allocation that doesn’t value investment in innovation, and metrics that reward traditional practices over innovative approaches.

Yes, there’s opportunities in changing the playing field, and yes, this can’t be done on the cheap.

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