Innovation is chic – and runs into organizational barriers

Via Paul Williams I learned that CNBC is doing another series on innovation, it’s aimed at C-level and I welcome this quite a lot as it stresses the importance (yet, Paul has some criticisms too). But these episodes are worthwhile anyway, and I appreciate the effort (btw, back then I wrote some posts about their initial series). Some interesting parts are:

The Human Element:

Innovation begins and ends with people, individuals who have the courage to push the boundaries. It also requires a corporate culture that nurtures and rewards creative thinking, where people feel comfortable enough to voice new ideas, no matter how small. That is where successful leadership comes in. A skilled and innovative leader must be a fearless visionary committed to backing bold ideas.

Innovate or Die:

Mel Kamarzin, CEO of Sirius Radio believes “there is no punishment that goes for taking a chance, making a decision”. Yet too often firms don’t take the steps really required to innovate because they want to protect their existing offerings. They seal their fate by doing just enough to get by. Fear of changing the status quo can be paralysing but if you are not moving forward and innovating in today’s challenging economic environment, it’s worse than standing still. You’re effectively moving backwards.

And the third installment – Redefining Innovation:

Innovation can be a hard concept to pin down. That’s why defining what it means to an organisation is the first step towards truly engaging customers. Radical thinking needs to be employed to come up with the blue-sky ideas. To turn those ideas into revenue generators means making a creative leap beyond the nuts and bolts of a product and really connecting with consumers. Ursula Burns, Chief Executive of Xerox says, “Customers can’t really articulate always what they want. They give you a rough outline”.

Yet indifference, hostility, and isolation are common obstacles in organizations that are inhibiting the growth in innovation (by Irving Wladawsky-Berger) – especially collaborative innovation. Yes, orchestrating groups of heterogenous knowledge workers is hard, that’s why there are Enterprise Collaboration Consultants with an innovation management background (hint …).

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