Innovation is hard. Really hard. So hard that true innovation is rare. Most of what we see as innovative is increments, improvements, on existing products and services. With that said, it’s really easy to sabotage your innovation efforts when you don’t understand what you’re getting yourself into.
To avoid sabotaging your efforts, first your have to understand that innovation has many enemies and obstacles that will always show their head; some more than others.
Here are 6 ways you can sabotage your innovation efforts
- Have no big goal or challenge to overcome. People need to be engaged in the work they are doing, they need to challenged. You don’t achieve that by demanding a little bit better, but by exploring exponentially better.
- Micromanage. Innovation is not lean sigma so don’t manage it like you would your existing business. Give people freedom to explore and figure out a way forward and don’t get in their way.
- Provide no resources. This is very straightforward, your innovation efforts will suffer if no time and money are provided.
- Fill your team with people who think and act the same and you’ll get more of the same. Where all think alike nobody thinks very much. Diversity of perspective, from people of different backgrounds, breeds fresh ideas.
- Punish learning from failure. Innovation is a road paved with learning from mistakes. So if you don’t want mistakes, don’t try anything new.
- Have no support from leadership team. It will be very hard to achieve anything if leadership is not championing efforts.
Bottom line: To drive innovation you have to have a big challenge and goal, give people autonomy in how to reach those goals, provide resources, create diverse teams, celebrate effort and give organizational support.