Innovative ideas and processes will stagnate without support from middle management. Let's explore why that is, with an emphasis on larger companies, in this article.
As Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) and a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Rob Wolcott knows a bit about networking and the politics of innovation. In this episode of Innovation Ecosystem Rob shares practical advice for intrapreneurs who are looking to get stuff done from within the middle of the organization. And for growth leaders of businesses, he also has some great tips about where to get your inspiration!
Innovation initiatives have a habit of causing excitement and expectation; the organisation is trying something different and wanting to do new things. Senior management are anticipating the brand new shiny ideas, and front-line employees can’t wait to be rid of their daily frustrations. So what could go wrong? However, in all this excitement, there’s a group that is usually neglected in the engagement strategy – the middle managers. Often it’s assumed that these managers will support all the company initiatives. It’s their role to toe the line and make sure others do. They’ll buy in surely? Actually, they don’t.
The Fourth Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study identified challenges organizations face in speeding innovation to bring products to market. The biggest disconnect appears between middle management and executives as to where the organization is with their innovation maturity. Bridging this gap may be the most important thing you do to improve ROI.
In many organizations, leaders complain that their employees aren't creative. But employees complain that they are micromanaged and not empowered to try out new ideas. Who's really at fault here?