Why is innovation so important in the current environment?
There are two main reasons.
Firstly, it’s because the world is changing at an ever-increasing rate.
Secondly, the world has never been challenged by so many perplexing problems at the same time. We are living in ‘unprecedented times’. Any company seeking to achieve its goals in this environment needs to adopt an innovative culture.
The world and the marketplace are changing rapidly. Phenomenal changes are occurring such as changes in population demographics, technology, law and climate. And there are sudden and unexpected changes such as impacts from the current Covid 19 pandemic.
All these changes require companies to adapt, pivot and sometimes transform themselves just to survive, let alone succeed. The gradual way organisations have changed in the past is no longer valid. It is noteworthy that even companies that have been long-time monopolies are being challenged by these changes, so no company is immune.
So, how does a company adopt an innovative culture? Of course, while this topic can’t be fully addressed in this short article, I would like to share some insights with you.
Innovation is not a product or a destination. It’s a way of being, a mode of operating, a journey. However, it does require some structure to initiate and guide the process. To be successful and long-lasting, an innovation culture needs to be developed and become part of a company’s DNA.
The most critical ingredients of any innovation system are leadership and people, especially staff. They know how the company operates and are most familiar with how its customers are thinking and behaving. Any innovation system must intimately involve them. This axiom reflects this notion:
‘You need 100 ideas to get 10 good ones, and from 10 good ideas you get an excellent idea’.
However, to get that one excellent or breakthrough idea, you need the 100, accepting that most of them will not be worthwhile pursuing initially. However, any one of those 100 could become a good or excellent idea! This axiom illustrates that an organisation needs to engage its people to generate lots of ideas from which good and excellent ideas evolve.
But even the good and excellent ideas will take research, testing, modification and investment before they can be implemented, and the expected benefits are realised. Staff must be involved in these activities so that ideas can ultimately be implemented, and the expected benefits realised.
Noteworthy is that not all good and excellent ideas will succeed. Therefore, failure needs to be tolerated as being an essential element of innovation. When failure is used by an organisation’s people to learn, it becomes a springboard for future ideas and innovation activities.
Once the innovation system starts working, the ideas will flow, big, medium and small. Even the small wins or ‘one-percenters’ are great because 10 of those one-percenters gives you 10% improvement!
The rubber hits the road when a company implements a system of policies, processes and practices that encourage its people (staff, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders) to propose, analyse and implement ideas for improving the company. Ideas need to be researched, discussed, tested, costed and so on until a decision can be made as to whether to go ahead with the implementation or not. The level of analysis will depend on the complexity and investment required to implement an idea, as well as the expected benefits.
There are various systems or models available, though the key is to find a model that suits your company and industry. Any good model needs to be tailored for a company’s unique situation.
So, if you are a leader in a company, then you need to invest in innovation because it is really worth it!
Contact me for further information and assistance on Mob 0402 843314 or john.@johntedesco.com.au
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