Monday, November 28, 2016

The New Book “Unpuzzling Innovation” Book Introduction Chapter 6 Innovation Paradox

Innovation Management needs to take a balanced approach to deal with innovation paradoxes smoothly.

Innovation is to transform the novel ideas and achieve their business value. The purpose of innovation management is not to promote innovation, but to manage innovation in a structural way. However, for the majority of organizations today, innovation is still serendipitous. To improve innovation effectiveness, what’s the best approach to understanding and managing these innovation paradoxes such as: Can money buy innovation? Do rules restrict innovation? Does priority stifle innovation? Will Systems Thinking limit creativity? Is innovation management a waste? Can you transform an idea into sustainable benefit without Innovation Management?

The business innovation success is not always proportional with how much money you pour in: There is an underlying assumption that ideation can be done if you invest more. However, based on the variety of innovation studies, the business innovation success is not always proportional to how much money you invest in. Money facilitates innovation, but not guarantees the result. What you are primarily doing is harvesting ideas that have emerged and are waiting to be picked. The money will increase the willingness of employees to give you those ideas. It doesn’t mean though that it will increase the volume of ideas that are available to be collected. There are many human links within the innovation phases and usually implemented in teams. It seems that many companies going through a period of introspection believe that they already implicitly understand the nature of innovation, all too often they perhaps manage a few innovation projects successfully. But they lack the systematic approach to management resource or bridge talent gaps. It is important to build the culture of innovation, to inspire people doing meaningful work and taking the calculated risks. The culture of innovation starts with a culture of participation because employee engagement in the innovation process increases participation, and it further improves innovation management effectiveness.

Breaking rules is indeed an important part of creativity and innovation management: We can’t make the omelet without breaking a few eggs. Creativity is about the breakdown of the conventional wisdom, and innovation is to pursue the new way of doing things. But innovation does need a level of guidance in order to achieve the business value of novel ideas. The paradox though is that all creative activities are subversive in questioning the status quo. Setting rules and goals for creativity goes against the very nature of creativity and thus innovation. Thus, ideas shouldn’t be overly evaluated in the ideation phase; overly rigid process or too “pushy” goals will stifle inventiveness and innovation. However, “business creativity” such as using creative thinking for business goals, does require certain “rules.” Innovation is important business activities and capabilities, innovation has to follow a well-defined set of principles to deliver business objectives. Hence, it’s critical to strike the right balance, it takes out-of-the-box thinking and open leadership style to spark innovation. But the right set of rules and frameworks are also important for innovation enablement and management.

Efficiency and innovation just have to learn to live and function together: An obsession with the rigidity of efficiency stunts the innovation creation process. Innovation is fluid and often focus on the long-term business growth, but lower profitability in the short-term. Efficiency and short-term goal orientation often divert focus from innovation in general. Hence, balance is the most challenging continuity regardless of strategic emphasis. As processes yielding results, innovation and efficiency can complement and enhance each other. The greater the efficiency of an organization, the greater the need is for innovation. Efficiency will extract the maximum benefit from a new idea. If an organization is inefficient, it will be inefficient with new ideas. Innovate as early as possible, think it through, execute the process efficiently, fine-tune the cycle along the trail, and orchestrate the innovation symphony.

Innovation is about moving forward. In any business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. There is no standing still. Innovation Management needs to take a balanced approach to deal with those innovation paradoxes smoothly; provide maximal freedom for ideators, and then straightforward process for converting an idea into an innovation, and build innovation as the business competency and long-term advantage.


"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Quotes Collection I
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Quotes Collection II


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