Want to kill creativity and innovation in your organization? Most organizations are creativity and innovation inept, and it’s mostly out of their own doing. Why and how? As organizations become successful, their approaches are reinforced and they become even more resistant to change.
Innovation has many enemies. Get to know them but never befriend them. They don’t exist to drive your organization to better outcomes but to keep it in its comfort zone. We must wage a constant battle against human nature to overcome these challenges.
Here are 10 ways your organization destroys creativity and innovation:
- Complacency. This is the silent business killer. It’s an intrinsic flaw that prevents organizations from pushing beyond the status quo to achieve exceptional successes. When the leadership of an organization becomes complacent, they are probably also falling victim to legacy thinking. Their complacency causes them to be reluctant to challenge the status quo because they are “comfortable” with where they are. The result is that they are positioning themselves and their organization for a future disaster.
- Bureaucracy. Perhaps the biggest enemy of innovation within large companies is bureaucracy — the concentration of decision making in a top-down management structure. In bureaucratic organizations, employees aren’t empowered to come up with new ideas and try them out. Instead, ideas must run up the flagpole.
- Internal politics. The biggest threat to innovation is internal politics and existing culture, which doesn’t accept failure and / or doesn’t accept ideas from outside and / or cannot change.
- Resistance to change. Want to spot an organization that will get disrupted? Look at how attached to the way they’ve always done things; organizations become attached to the way things are just like people do. Organizations that resist change are quickly outpaced by those who drive it.
- Fear of failure. Innovation and failure are inseparable from each other.
- Discouraging new ideas. Are you, or anyone in your team, an idea killer? Idea killers abound in innovation inept organizations. To drive innovation you shouldn’t just invite ideas but be open to change.
- Short-term bias and unrealistic time-frames. Quick results and innovation don’t go hand in hand.
- Lack of leadership. Innovation is another code word for leadership.
- Lack of focus. Innovation must be aligned with existing strategy or with a new strategic direction. Most organizations are directionless, which hinders innovation.
- Lack of leadership support and resources. To drive creativity and innovation, ideas require support from leadership and resources; it won’t happen without them.
Bottom line: There isn’t a single hack to innovation. Innovating is a campaign. It’s a weekly, hourly fight that doesn’t end against human nature; it’s a campaign of perspective, discipline, hard work and will.