Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Innovation Resolutions

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." – Albert Einstein (attributed)

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know that I’ve ever actually made one. It’s not that I’m against change, new ideas, or doing things in my life differently. It’s just that the timing of New Year’s resolutions seems a bit arbitrary to me. I figure people should implement change whenever it becomes necessary. It shouldn’t really matter what time of year it is.

In all my years working for and with senior executives from organizations big and small, never have I heard a single one say “our organization isn’t interested in innovation.” Never have I heard a single one say “our organization isn’t trying to be innovative.” Never have I heard a single one say “innovation is overrated.” Although innovation may be a means to a financial end, we all strive for it.

What do you do though when you’re stuck in an innovation rut? What do you do when your innovation effort isn’t getting the anticipated results?

Fire the CEO? Get different employees? Sell the business? Acquire an innovation? Such approaches are all pretty straight-forward and simple to understand. And all are somewhat drastic. But all are viable options. In each instance though, you’re basically saying when it comes to innovation “my people can’t get the job done.” Don’t get me wrong, sometimes drastic is what’s needed. Sometimes a certain collection of people in fact can’t get the job done. In most instances though, I’d say people aren’t the culprit.

I prefer to look at processes and systems. Processes being the “how” we get things done (from how we generate and develop ideas, to how we decide which innovations are any good, to how we launch new stuff) and systems being the “what” we use to get things done (from which software apps do we use to organize ideas, what mechanisms do we use to communicate with one another, etc.).

You might need some new blood in your organization to get innovation rolling again. You might need to acquire an innovation to keep your organization on top or your industry. Or you might simply need some better processes and systems. Maybe it’s time to invest in a particular software program. Maybe it’s time to alter the workflow and feedback mechanisms for developing ideas. At the very least, resolve to do something different. And the next time you’re in a rut, don’t wait until the new year to implement a little change.

No comments:

Clicky Web Analytics