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November 6, 2016

How to Create an Innovative Environment in a Dynamic Organization Part 1

Why an Innovative Environment is Important

Survival in a competitive industry mandates that organizations continually examine who they are and where they are going. Companies must identify their strengths and weaknesses to comprehend how they will tackle what the future may hold. This 5 part series identifies a possible solution as to how any large or mid-size organization can compete with a long-term innovation plan without stifling innovation.

Innovative with the The Entrepreneur's Advisor

Innovation comes in many forms and sizes

Innovate or Perish

Do you remember when Blockbuster, Pan AM, Woolworth’s and Sears Roebuck were fixtures in our lives? The last few decades have seen a number of large iconic organizations disappear from everyday conversations. There are any number of reasons organizations fail such as poor financial management, changes in the regulatory landscape or their products and services becoming obsolete. More often than not it is a combination of many factors.

However, for every organization going out of business a new one enters the marketplace. The millennials of today can hardly imagine a life without a smartphone, internet connectivity or some high-tech device. As a result, innovative technology receives a lot of buzz as it seems everyone is racing for that next disruptive technology to change the world. Unfortunately, too many organizations are oblivious to the type of service or process innovation that can be just as impactful as a technology discovery.

Every smart executive knows that change is a fact of life. The question executives must ask is if they want to be ahead of the curve or a follower that hopes that their organization can adapt quickly enough to maintain the status quo. To get ahead of the curve, organizations must commit themselves to having an innovative environment that seeks all forms of innovation to remain competitive and prosper.

Creating the Innovation Desire

Adopting an innovative culture is easier said than done particularly in larger organizations. Given the increasing speed of a changing technology environment, creating and managing an innovative culture without stifling creativity is crucial to the long-term survival.

However, the larger the organization, the more difficult it is to strike a unique balance of the need to become an innovative organization and the challenge of effectively managing the innovative process.

GOOGLE is legendary for innovation but not every organization can follow the lead of companies such as GOOGLE or Apple. Although these companies are known for their development of disruptive products and creativity, the culture and process for innovation were set up when they were small start-up companies. In fact, GOOGLE has shifted away from their legacy of 20% of personal time that could be spent on individual research projects.

An intelligent person learns from the successes and failures of others. With that said, there are certain fundamentals that are consistent across organizations and industries that are re-inventing themselves. The three most important fundamentals are:

  1. All Senior Management has total buy-in for the long-term changes that need to occur. In other words, innovation cannot be just a buzzword; it must be a mindset throughout the company.
  2. Innovation has to be a organizational mindset immersed in a collaborative culture.”

  3. The second is that deferred change is a horrible strategy as it only places an organization at a competitive disadvantage and unable to fend off the innovators eating away at chunks of the business.
  4. No organization should be in a position of only innovating as a result of industry and technology changes. Organizations and industries need to be on the forefront and proactively pursuing innovation.

Lastly, although some innovation can be purchased or developed with technology companies, it is unlikely that anyone will sell you a Blue Ocean idea. Therefore, ideas developed internally are priceless.

Accomplishing change with these three fundamentals in mind requires considerable effort and cultural change.

The ideas discussed in the remainder of this paper outline a potential model that any mid to large size organization could adopt. When set up correctly, the innovation cycle will become a new business as usual (BAU).

Next Post Subject: Creating the Vision

The next post in this series details specific objectives to be considered when creating your innovative vision. At the end of the series a full downloadable version of How to Create an Innovative Environment in a Dynamic Organization will be available in the Entrepreneur’s Corner.

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