Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Root Causes to Innovation Failures

See innovation as a system, capable of delivering organization-wide capability.

Innovation is the light every forward-looking organization is pursuing. However, for most businesses, innovation is still a serendipity, and innovation management has overall very low success rate. The reasons why innovation failure occurs vary widely, but dig further, here are some root causes to fail innovation.

Innovation as a lip service: For many less innovative organizations, innovation is just a buzzword, everyone talks about it, but very few people, especially leaders are creative enough to live on it and knowledgeable enough to really work on it. They still keep “the old way doing the things.” Innovation is utilizing what you already have in a unique and creative way that as not been done before and using that thing to MAKE PROFIT. But most organizations cannot walk the talk, to truly get innovation spurred and reap the benefit from it.

Lack of the comprehensive innovation strategy: At highly innovative companies, innovation is a crucial component of the strategy. A good innovation strategy will alway be aware of the business strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and threats, set the guidelines and take risk-intelligent actions. Therefore, innovative leadership should always have the greater vision in mind and strive to return sustainable development and growth back to the business or society they are working for. With a good innovation strategy, the innovation management can be iterative, evolutionary, revolutionary, or disruptive, but it must be marketable and implementable. It is not just a new design or invention, it is taking the holistic approach to tuning it, tweaking it, changing it in a way that it brings the business benefit via mid or long term. Innovation is similar to as "the sum is larger than its parts." Innovation comes with a risk of failure, usually not well tolerated in a market governed by risk-allergic mindset. Innovation is costly most of the time. That is why you should really concentrate innovation on the main issues of your strategy. As you innovate, you might find helpful changes to your strategy. At today's modern organizations, it is essential for developing a company strategy that encourages realistic innovations which will prove successful in the market.

Lack of innovative leaders or practitioners: Great innovative leaders are those who can inspire a culture of innovation, be resourceful, have a clear vision and strategy to manage a healthy innovation portfolio, identify and develop innovation practitioners. Spot and score individual as an innovator needs to focus on individual capabilities and potential to innovate. Creativity becomes significantly important in the age with the advanced technologies because the leaders of the future will not be mere automatons, but continue to discover, explore, and improve the surroundings. Innovative leadership relates to intelligence, empathy, idealism, process understanding, communication skills, cultural understanding, influence, and definitely - understanding what is wrong with the status quo.

Poor innovative culture: Culture is the collective mindset, attitude, and behavior. For less innovative companies, their people often get stuck in the “comfort zone,” having the “compliance only” mindset, because the processes and system are designed decades ago are too rigid and slow to change, and the talent/performance management are not synchronous with innovation management. Companies of all sizes, especially large corporations, are designed to suck at innovation. Because they become too dependent on satisfying corporate regulation or protocols, and never get around to developing a culture that fosters/rewards innovation until it is too late. It takes true leadership; with less protocol, to listen to the other people in the company, in order to build a culture of innovation.

Lack of innovation execution capability: Innovation is not a one-time business initiative or an IT project only. Innovation is a disciplined approach to discovering and building opportunities in creating new meaningful sources of value to targeted users. Looking at innovation from the perspective of developing business-wide innovation capabilities: Innovation has three phases: discovery of a problem or new idea, designing a prototype solution and the ultimate delivery of a commercially astute outcome. That the best point of view is to see innovation as a system, capable of delivering organization-wide capability. More specifically, building a balanced innovation portfolio is a practical approach for optimizing resource and improving risk intelligence. There are many areas within a company where the innovation process can be applied to create value, including both “hard” innovation such as products/services/processes/business model innovation and soft innovations such a communication/culture/management innovation. It is an ongoing business capability.

Innovation is the sustainable and scalable way that can be learned and practiced.  Because how an organization orchestrates to generate ideas, manages the activities, measures the results, etc. is determined by how that organization has decided to craft the innovation effort. Craft a good innovation strategy, groom innovative leaders and practitioners, shape a culture of creativity, and build a set of innovation capabilities. Innovation is relative and has a context. The key to innovation success is just as simple - innovation is nothing without exploration and exploitation.


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