Tag Archives: management

Innovation Killer: Leave Your Innovation Team Alone If You Want Great Ideas

how leaders enable innovationAs a leader, to enable innovation in your teams, you need to create the conditions necessary for innovation to happen. That means setting bold goals, providing support and getting out of the way; but it isn’t easy.

A common innovation challenge inside established organizations is getting out of people’s way to let them put their talent to use and develop ideas that could change the course of the company.

A common strategy that is executed to overcome this challenge is to create a dedicated innovation team, one that doesn’t work on core business challenges; rather it is given time to find the next revolution by letting them play with ideas.

Solving the 10 Most Common Innovation Challenges

Solving the 10 Most Common Innovation Challenges

The importance of innovation is increasing each year. Some companies are establishing their internal and external innovation teams, focusing more on developing a culture of innovation. This is a change. It is not easy. Resistance can occur due to some practical and psychological reasons inside the organization.

Use Or Lose: Nurture Your Talent

nurture your talent or lose it

Call it brilliance, talent or anything you want, it exists and shouldn’t be taker for granted. If you don’t value brilliance, you don’t value innovation. I wrote that post a few weeks ago and it hit a nerve. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. How true?

Here’s an example…

Companies should penalize employees for their inaction, not for their failures

celebrate failureHow can you boost innovation in your business? Penalize inaction, and celebrate failure.

Successful creatives are not afraid of mistakes or failure: they know that good ideas often arise from tireless experimentation and a chain of failed attempts. People who avoid mistakes and failures suffocate all potential innovation. Unmindful of this, many companies punish their employees for making mistakes, and thus inadvertently create an environment where people just try to conform rather than experiment.

Design your organization so that it always develops new capabilities

What is the main obstacle that stands in the way of sustainable long-term success for any business? I’d argue that it’s culture. A strong culture will recover from mistakes and figure out a way forward; while a weak one will never aim to evolve beyond what it already knows.

With that said, let’s get this out of the way: you must build culture from the beginning.

Are you a Chief Idea Killer?

Much of what we think stands in the way of innovation is in our control: our attitude.

In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way; that’s an attitude most traditional organizations don’t have. I’ve made reference to this fact quite a bit in the past, and is a common topic of discussion among innovation wonks. One way to know if you are standing in your own way is to look at your organization from the perspective of “what are we doing to block innovation?”.

For example, do you have an organizational chart that looks like this?

management is the enemy of innovation

Probably. This is how an organization where management is the enemy of innovation looks like, it’s also why most organizations can empathize with the following sketches:

Can you see how your organization is deliberately killing innovation?

Bottom line: The default state of all new ideas is “NO”. New ideas have to be protected, they need to be given room to breathe. As a business leader, your jobs is to jumpstart progress by enabling innovation. They way to do that is to provide purpose, challenge and support; then get out of the way. That’s how you give ideas oxygen.

H/T: Vala Afshar.