What is the most common way to block innovation in any business?

What is the most common way to block innovation in any business?

Punish failure.

Someone made a comment about how some of the recommendations that I made on a recent post where ready made solutions for how to stimulate innovation in any organization. They are not. They are idea starters on how to drive innovation in any business, tactics that have been used elsewhere. But they are not ready made solutions that you can just plug and play into your organization.

Seriously, there is no ready made solution to innovation. No matter what others tell you. A template might net you an interesting idea once in awhile but there is no safety in procedures. It’s true. The biggest thing to understand about innovation is this: it’s never fully realized. There is no “there.” If you’ve developed the miracle drug, there’s always another miracle drug to make. If you’ve developed the great restaurant, there’s always a second restaurant. There’s always somebody pushing back with an alternative so that you have to keep moving forward. We’ve never fully arrived—whenever we get where we think we wanted to get, there’s a new place to reach.

This isn’t like launching a rocket with humans on board into space, where security and safety is at a premium. As I explained in my last post, today we can prototype and launch a product, service and experience very quickly without having to go through a lengthy process of going through stakeholders. But even then, you still have to keep testing, learning what works and iterating

So, if you can’t punish failure then what do you do to drive innovation?

Embrace and celebrate failure. Learn how to fail. If you do so, you would be able to find the reasons of failures and improve. 50 to 70 per cent of all new product innovations fail at even the most successful companies. The main difference between companies who succeed at innovation and those who don’t isn’t their rate of success — it’s the fact that successful companies have a LOT of ideas, pilots, and product innovations in the pipeline.

A word of caution, if you punish failure you are likely waiting for a ready made solutions that require no effort. And you are most likely to use the two most deadliest words in business: Prove it.

Stop it. Instead say “test it”. That’s a great way to start promoting innovation in your business.

Also, punishing failure might be related to getting fired. But that isn’t always the case. You might not even fire, and the people who are with you have been there for a while, but here the problem is that they just don’t care. The are in neutral and just going through the motions of going to work everyday.

That’s not all, there are other unspoken ways you might be punishing failure. Here are a few:

  • Being the one with all the ideas
  • Not developing people
  • Asking people for ideas but not really using their ideas
  • Not modeling the behavior you want to see from others

Here are 10 more ways you are undermining innovation in your organization.

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