Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Innovation vs. Rules

Innovation is not serendipity, it's a mindset, a process, and the strategic business capability.

Innovation is to transform novel ideas and achieve its business value. Innovation is doing something better than it currently is. Hence, it requires a sound and competent understanding of what is currently being done. Innovation is not serendipity, it's a mindset, a process, and the strategic business capability nowadays. From an innovation management perspective, should innovators break rules, or does innovation need rules, and how to improve manage innovation effortlessly and improve its success rate?

Innovation should break some outdated rule, but needs a level of guidance: Innovation has to deliver business objectives, the innovation leaders need to become a master at persuasive communications through proposals, pitches, scenarios, analysis, and stories that might resonate with the company. You can only do as much as you are "invested" in the company. It's complicated. Innovation is doing something better than it currently is. It's a mindset. To become creative, one would have to break down some old rules. After breaking the outdated rules, you are "outside the box." Thinking outside the box is all about "rule breaking"; the more "unruly" you are, the more creative you are. The innovation challenges the status quo and that is important in a healthy, innovative organization. Rules are about safeguarding the status quo. Consequently, too rigid rules, will stifle creativity and thus innovation. However, being "unruly" incurs risk, you need to set the updated principles for managing the innovation and mitigating the risks. Although breaking the rules is an important part of innovation, ‘business creativity’ such as leveraging creative thinking for business goals, does require certain ‘rules,’ to help frame, stay focus, and make innovation a fair game to invite all great talent in.

To get the best results, you need to structure the creative process, integral, but not overly rigid: Innovation needs a certain level of guidelines and rules. To get the best results, you need to structure the creative process. It seems that the more integrated and culturally based innovation or imagination is, the more sustainable and productive such initiatives are. For instance, depending on where you are in the process, you might want to ‘force’ people to rephrase a challenge, let them view an idea from different perspectives, temporarily forbid criticism, set time limits, apply thinking techniques, each with their own ‘rules’ etc. An organization that has a lightweight process which allows creativity and innovation to flow, get protected, channeled and nurtured will succeed more often than an organization that does not have such a process. If an innovation department operates without being an integral part of every other department, it certainly could be counterproductive. Therefore, the right level of guide and process is important, but the overly rigid process or too ‘pushy’ goals will stifle innovation. A defined structure is essential to managing innovation in a corporation, but there's no single structure that will work in every organization. More precisely, you don't structure innovation. You apply principles of approach and vary the resource and tool mix by the ever-changing environment, day to day through the year to year.

Create a disciplined, managed space for idea management: Ideas are crucial to an innovation program. You need to make sure, that your company has a steady flow of fresh ideas floating in your innovation pipeline, and, therefore, you need a methodological mainframe that allows you to do that, developing and testing new models, products, and business approaches, shielding innovation teams from the organization’s dominant logic and established standard operating procedures. Some highly innovative organizations fail to capitalize on their great ideas because there was no structure in place to manage the ideas. However, keep hierarchy as low as possible, cut the politics. The rigorous innovation structures are supported by the right policies and programs. The process to support the creation of sustainable, systematic innovation can be structured, but innovation per se is like composing a symphony, lot of planning, but the music will come from the musicians, not the director. Innovation management requires the highest risk-taking at a strategic value chain; including organization, investments, and assets.

Innovation is risky by its nature, the effective leadership, risk-tolerance culture, and well-established framework, a set of principles, the lightweight processes, and the best/next practices, etc are all crucial to improving the success rate of innovation and learning the valuable lesson for keeping innovation blossom in the organization.


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