Taming Your Company’s Most Elusive Beast

Innovation is an elusive beast. Setting aside a few well-known exceptions, the vast majority of established firms feel there is a big gap between their efforts and their achievements. While looking at renowned companies’ models remains a popular approach, this type of learning is often ineffective. A healthy alternative, as the author suggests, is finding “normal companies” and looking at how basic innovation principles are applied within them.

The three suggested principles include:

Time Out. It is well-established that people need slack time to work through their ideas. But most companies struggle to justify that level of slack, and are not confident it would be well used. Therefore, a more focused approach may be more worthwhile.

Loosely defined roles. Truly innovative companies avoid giving people job descriptions, or they find creative ways of encouraging them to join multiple projects.

Tolerance of Failure. It is axiomatic that successful innovation requires tolerance of failure. This tolerance can be bread through leadership skills, but also by finding alternate means of institutionalizing the approach.

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