Saturday, December 18, 2021


It’s important to build a culture of learning, risk-taking, and accountability, to build differentiated innovation competency and accelerate performance systematically.

Innovation is a process to transform great ideas and achieve their business value. Either change or innovation nowadays is rarely an individual action; rather, it is the collaborative effort. Will your organizational environment radiate positive energy or produce a negative vibe?

 In the organizational setting, it often needs to foster a creative environment, work across multiple functional silos, encourage alternative ways to think and do things, enforce accountability, and collaborate with a business ecosystem.

True accountability focuses on learning to do things differently, that is the essence of innovativeness: Innovation has a broader spectrum and diverse taste, it’s important to look at innovation from the perspective of developing business-wide innovation capabilities. People, process, and technology are all crucial elements in innovation management. Alignment is critical to develop innovation competency and accountability needs to be well embedded in the corporate culture. Innovation usually means high risks and high returns. In a traditional business setting with an overly rigid hierarchy, often people avoid taking risks, get stuck at the comfort zone, the management focuses on compliance, and discourages creativity. When the working environment cannot radiate positive and creative energy, they are sometimes polluted by negative vibe and culture inertia.

Innovation is not a serendipity, but a process which can be managed. To improve innovation success rate, you will be held accountable" is on the face of it, not a bad thing, you have the freedom to do whatever needs to be done, and the responsibility to ensure you do your best to bring about a good outcome. Organizations can close the accountability gap through open door listening, cross-functional communication & collaboration, transparency, and empathy. Innovation is risky, it’s important to be able to fail over, fail forward. In fact, the good measure of accountability is about resilience, which is determined not by whether an individual or a team makes a mistake or not, but on how quickly they can recover so that customers, teammates, and others aren't negatively affected by the breakdown.

Shared accountability or collective accountability involves shared ownership, clear-defined goals, and empathetic communication in innovation management: Innovation has to result in something which leads us to a better state than where we are today. Innovation is the team work, it requires fine-tuning the organizational structure and culture that nurture new ideas and more creative talent, add salt and spices, and be able to profitably execute on those ideas. To enhance accountability, it’s important to align innovation initiatives, resources, talent, and integration/implementation plans with the strategic goals and objectives; improve innovation effectiveness by keeping processes transparent at all levels, and focusing on long term innovation success.

There is no “one size fits all” success formula for innovation management success. It is really hard to build a consistently innovative company. Accountability is conducted inward, in that the team respects and supports all team members while successfully completing the work. It’s also important to close the accountability gap by improving cross-functional communication and collaboration. Accountability comes from strengthening all important links in innovation management by checking:

-Who is accountable for idea management?

-Who leads the idea implementation? Who is accountable for the quality and the cost of innovation?

-Who is accountable for achieving expected results by measuring innovation performance?

Innovation is a collaborative effort, and enhancing accountability is a critical ingredient in innovation success.

Accountability goes hand in hand with the delegation of authority or power, that is part of improving innovation autonomy:
It’s a strategic imperative to drive innovation that is relevant to the bigger picture, match up business vision and tailor their own need to develop a set of best or next practices in a structural way. Being innovative implies opening a bigger box thinking, and taking unconventional ways to do things. Present accountability as a cognitive fitness to show the ownership mentality when taking a new adventure of innovation. Innovation management needs to delegate and demonstrate the right dose of risk tolerance, and encourage intrapreneurship spirit. Innovation has a very low success rate statistically, thus, the leaders and managers should be more interested in finding "causes," not interested in assigning blame, in order to identify the right dose of innovation appetite.

The three pillars of accountability are autonomy, consistency, and resilience. Everyone makes mistakes, this is especially true in doing innovation. People have the courage to learn when you fail; which we all do every now and then, take responsibility for the failure, learn from it and move forward. Organizations could fail in a certain way, the measure of accountability is also on how quickly they can recover and the business as a whole aren’t negatively affected by the breakdown. The good measure of accountability is about resilience, it is determined not by whether an individual or a team makes a mistake or not, but on how quickly they can recover, learn lessons and make improvement. Running a highly innovative business requires an effective innovation ecosystem that is capable of supporting both widespread incremental innovation in products/services and the rarer breakthrough innovation and nurturing creative workforce to fit their strategy.

At an organizational level, a systematic innovation process leads to the development of a foundation to solve business problems, overcome the challenges, understand boundaries and hurdles as well as a stakeholders’ core discipline. Creativity is not always spontaneous; innovation shouldn’t be a random effort. Individuals need to take responsibility for what they do and what they say. It’s important to build a culture of learning, risk-taking, and accountability, to build differentiated innovation competency and accelerate performance systematically.


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