In a recent blog, David Lee from MSS Business Advisory Solutions share his thoughts on achieving true business innovation and what it takes for teams to accomplish this daunting goal.
Learning from Past Mistakes
David starts by talking about his experience working for a “global mega-company” and how they attempted to achieve innovation.
“We created a methodology to collect, rate, prioritize, and track innovation efforts,” David explains. “We spent the better part of a year creating a steering committee, outlining our plans, and developing a system for tracking and sharing information.”
And while his team didn’t immediately achieve a radically innovative product line or market strategy, they discovered a way to identify and track failures, which is just as valuable.
How to Utilize Ideas
Can you have too many ideas? Absolutely, and this problem is more common than you might think, particularly at younger, more agile companies. There are so many people coming up with creative strategies, but not enough people to ensure those ideas are implemented successfully.
David reminisces about his experience, as his team was spending too much time planning and too little time actually innovating.
“We became so bogged down that people who had great ideas avoided our process for fear of falling into a black hole,” he says.
The Roadblocks to Innovation
David lays out his top roadblocks that stifle corporate innovation:
- Defining Innovation: not using it as “an excuse for the strategic flavor of the moment.”
- Separating Thinkers from Doers: you must have multiple perspectives, an open mind, and realistic resources to achieve true innovation.
- Failing to Set Aside Resources: you need a budget.
- The Middle Management Filter: you must actively engage middle management in the process.
- Short-Terms vs. Long-Term Thinking: it can be tempting to focus on short-term results rather than long-term sustainability, but making this shift in your thinking may be the difference between achieving or failing to achieve innovation in your organization.
- Searching for the Silver Bullet: there is no fast or easy answer when it comes to innovation, so stop looking for one and respect the process.
Innovation Is Everyone’s Responsibility
David explains how his team had to shift to adaptive thinking and to understand the complexity of their systems. And most importantly, they had to make this a sustainable effort by involving every stakeholder.
“We stopped thinking of innovation as a centralized activity for a few people and began thinking of innovation as everyone’s role. We started to consider the idea that everyone can innovate and opening innovation to the entire organization was an absolute must.”
Read David’s complete blog here.