Monday, August 25, 2008

The Challenges of Innovation

On Friday we posted two reasons why innovation does not happen in certain businesses. On that same notion, Irving Wladawsky-Berger discusses how indifference, hostility, and isolation are amongst the greatest obstacles in organizations today inhibiting the growth in innovation in this latest post in BusinessWeek. Here’s a brief recap of the ideas mentioned in the article.

Indifference

CEOs and executive management rise up to high positions because of they are very good operational managers. They must not forget though that other skills become increasingly important the higher up the ladder they rise. Executive management must make the transition of being a good manager to becoming a great leader.

Hostility

Many managers do not actively encourage innovation ideas coming from anywhere but themselves because of indifference. Collaborative innovation is not possible because indifferent managers are not team players. Such behavior is detrimental to a innovative environment. Managers must step away from hostile negative rejections to ideas and instead provide positive feedback to new ideas.

Isolation

Irving mentions that a collaborative approach to innovation brings forth the energy and support needed to foster new ideas. Working in groups of people with diverse skills and points of view can help any organization’s innovation practices. Isolating people makes it that much harder for a company to innovate since it breaks down communication.

Collaboration does not come natural in an organization, and so companies must make an extreme effort to make it part of their culture. What are some things that your company does to create a healthy environment where employees are not scared of bringing forth new ideas?

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