Does it feel like your efforts in innovation lately have been…lackluster? Are you finding that your team just isn’t coming up with the great ideas you know they can produce? If your business is feeling stale and stagnant, you obviously want to know why, so you can make changes. Innovation efforts aren’t always simple and easy—and there are definitely some roadblocks that can come up along the way. Don’t get discouraged if you run into any of these common problems—you just have to be determined to prevent and work through them whenever possible!
Innovation is risky. Customers are not asking for it. We are already successful… Getting momentum behind significant innovation is difficult, and sometimes it’s easier for a business to stay in what they deem a safe spot. Let’s look at seven arguments that inhibit innovation as well as their counter arguments.
The aim of the precautionary principle seems laudable: lacking scientific consensus, the burden of proof for an action or policy not being harmful to the public or to the environment lies on those taking that action. In practice, however, this principle has proven a deterrent for innovation - particularly within the EU. How can the innovation principle - that is, examining new policies or plans for a negative impact they have on innovation - help to supplement and balance out the precautionary principle?
Globalization is great for business: it opens up new markets and allows businesses to bring in revenue and talent from all over the world. However, the first steps into international expansion can be fraught with growing pains, forcing companies to waste time and money on efforts that don’t gain any traction in foreign markets. To avoid this, company leaders have to get ready to embrace change and innovation outside their normal comfort zone. Here’s why it’s important to get comfortable with discomfort when you’re considering international expansion.
Recent discoveries of exoplanets that are relatively close to our solar system are used to illustrate the importance of “visualization”—of future consumer lifestyles, work and recreation, and product and service preferences—for the process of innovation. Different aspects of the visualization concept are discussed, including distinctions between consumers and companies, the importance of widely shared images and competition, and a possible role for Zen philosophy. Particular attention is devoted to visualizations associated with digital innovations, such as smartphones, voice assistants and the internet of things. A key conclusion of the discussion below is that the concept of disruptive innovation should be expanded to include the idea of disruptive visualization. The latter phenomenon will probably become more prevalent in the future.
During one of the recent (and frequent) screenings of Top Gun in our house, I was thinking about innovation. I had just finish a popular post for our company’s blog about the habits of the most innovative engineers and I began to draw parallels between Maverick’s journey and innovation.
This case study explores the results of an innovation research process undertaken by Oxfam, which compared internal feedback vs. general public feedback to identical sets of ideas. In comparing responses between these two audiences, Oxfam discovered an immediate and obvious divide between their staff’s opinions about which fundraising ideas would perform the best, versus what the general public preferred - an important lesson about avoiding the bubble of the echo chamber.
In our society, it is still quite common to attribute the creation of new ideas to either genius or serendipity - a lucky moment finding a valuable insight without actually looking for it. In recent years, however, human creativity was demystified. Empirical research shows that the development of novel ideas has less to do with the inexplicable genius of some individuals, than with the circumstances in which they occur. No genius of any sort could have invented an iPhone in 1850, since the technological trajectory was not anywhere near this point at that time. If there is a 'natural limit' to innovation, then how can we describe the field of possible innovations?
Embracing an intrapreneurial mindset, which intentionally disrupts things from the inside out and often from the bottom up, is a radical concept for companies that thrive on stability and predictability. However, if an enterprise is committed to developing its innovation capability through intrapreneurship, three groups of people must be mobilized to make it happen: leadership, stakeholders, and innovation support.
Lack of diversity among employees hurts a company’s ability to innovate and remain competitive. Diversity - both inherent and acquired - naturally drives innovation through team members’ different abilities to spot gaps, solutions, and opportunities; to avoid groupthink; and to reach clients and customers who were inaccessible before.
It is not widely known that most people, before the advent of the Industrial Revolution around 1800, tended to go to sleep shortly after nightfall but then get up around midnight for several hours before going back to sleep until dawn. Modern lab experiments have been able to reproduce this ancient, two-sleep pattern. Furthermore, there is separate anecdotal evidence that a number of people currently practice divided sleep as a natural habit, without the prompting of an experiment. Some of these people, in turn, use their nighttime wakefulness period for creative thought, writing and problem solving. The divided sleep phenomenon fits in very well with the dualistic and holistic principles of East Asian philosophy. One should ideally integrate work, thought and sleep with the natural light cycle in order to maximize the potential for individual creativity over the course of a full day and night.
When was the last time you seriously thought about your blue chip investments going broke? At what point will those shares be worth nothing? Although it may sound ridiculous, the question is serious because at the current rate of disruption, half of the Australian Stock Index S&P 500 will be replaced over the next 10 years (Anthony S D et al, 2016). Where does that leave your investments?
To be able to use the full potential of innovation, psychological safety within teams and organisations is essential. Psychological safety is the shared belief that it is safe within the team for interpersonal risk taking. There is a direct relation between a psychological safe climate and performance of the team. (Edmondson 1999)
One thing that successful companies usually have in common is their willingness to give their employees great perks and benefits. Having great workplace benefits increases the employee's willingness to go above and beyond for the company, which in turn benefits the organization.
Roughly only half of all companies conduct annual performance reviews. Of the fifty percent of companies that do tend to provide consistent and reliable feedback to their employees. However, it can be awkward at times to tell someone on your staff that they aren't doing a good job or attempt to offer constructive criticism without sounding condescending. What are some ways to make a performance appraisal more effective and less awkward for yourself and the employee?