Do innovation programs work for sustainable innovation?

Do innovation programs work for sustainable innovation?

In my experience, no. In the short-term the organization might get a jolt of excitement, but over the long-term nothing will change.

Here’s why:

There are various reasons why innovation dies inside large organizations, but we can safely say that it comes down to leadership.

And, innovation programs mean that you are treating innovation as project, a separate event, as a taste-to-see-if-I-like-it experience; the end result is some activity without lasting punch.Why? Because as we’ve seen previously, there is no serious commitment.

Think about it, does the mention of an innovation program get your creative juices going? To me it sounds like just another initiative to try and see if we’ll like it more than the previous ones. It sounds like more management!

These programs aren’t that different from an advertising campaign where marketers are trying to activate people through messages. But the truth of the matter is that organizations that innovate are driven by something more deep than marketing messages: they give a damn!

Why? Because leaders don’t treat innovation like a campaign, but as a movement. And to make sure everyone cares, organizations that are serious about innovating look deeper than simplistic innovation programs. They start at the heart of what it takes to do it: innovation breeding habits.

Again, what is interesting is that most innovative organizations are driven by an innovative leaders who models the behaviors, not simply communicates them. Call it training, boot camp, or whatever mechanism is created to embed innovation in the hearts and minds of people; it starts there.

For a deeper look, here is a solid article on why innovation programs are a waste of time.

What do you think about innovation programs? What is your experience with them?

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