Innovation: Are You Doing Something About It?
Most senior executives understand the importance of innovation but not necessarily the execution. A McKinsey Research Report explains why there is a serious gap between leaders’ aspirations and execution:
- Innovation is not an integrated part of the organization’s core processes
- Innovation is managed on an ad hoc basis as it’s associated with change programs that can be daunting and time-consuming
- Innovation takes attention and resources away from short-term goals
- Most leaders fail to stimulate innovation that can have financial impact because they don’t invest time on targets, metrics and budgets for innovation
- Cultural environment like bureaucracy and hierarchy also inhibits innovation
Innovation is a top-down initiative and there is a need to efficiently lead and manage it to make it possible. Senior executives can take the following steps to advance innovation:
- Clearly define and communicate the kind of innovation you expect and the areas in which you wish to see them, e.g. delivery of service, consumer experience, management functions
- Senior leaders should actively encourage and role-model innovative behavior. They should identify managers who show zeal for innovation and turn them into innovation leaders. Providing resources and coaching to make them more productive will help build capabilities of others.
- Pursuing innovation with anything other than existing talent and resources isn’t generally an option. So look at your existing employees and their untapped potential as the key driver for innovation. Encourage employee behavior of risk-taking, openness to new ideas, and willingness to experiment. Reinforce this mindset by involving them in decision-making and showing trust. Allow dynamic innovation networks to emerge and flourish by mentoring and facilitating collaboration across silos.
- Set performance metrics and targets for innovation which can be financial or behavioral. Make it count so that people know it’s substantial and would affect performance.
We, at MYB, believe that innovation is a big idea and an ongoing process. Organizations shouldn’t look at having instant success or immediate profits with innovation. Instead, take small steps to influence employees in that direction and gradually build on the organization’s capability and confidence to innovate.