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For those of you who read my articles on a regular basis, you will know that I tend to focus on driving innovative activities and cultures within large, corporate organizations. Today however, I would like to focus on the value of innovation to growing, mid-market companies. For the purposes of this article I will consider mid-market companies as anywhere from 300 – 3,000 employees. This is just an arbitrary number, but it provides context for our discussion.
Stanford Prof. Tina Seelig discusses how motivation and experimentation are essential for creativity. She also shows how true problem-solvers and entrepreneurs utilize whatever is within reach to overcome obstacles, and then quickly prototype, rather than let challenges stand in the way of a solution.
Have you seen this equation: innovative = creative? Novelty always comes from “outside the box,” right? It’s a land of confusion to many, who then conclude they are just not the creative type. As a result, organizations lose out because being innovative is but one of a myriad of ways to being creative. All people can be creative—in their own way.
You love your employees, and, obviously, you think they do awesome work, or else you probably wouldn’t have hired them. Yet, do you ever find yourself wishing they could become a little bit more innovative? After all, the companies that are thriving in today’s competitive marketplace are also some of the most creative.
Though companies invest into innovation they like results less and less. There seems to be a glass ceiling for driving innovation, which neither new tools and processes nor innovation consultants seem to crack. It is time to face the elephant in the room: company culture and its impact on innovation performance. Top management needs to learn deal with it. Then company culture will become a driver of innovation rather than getting in the way.
Thinking like a designer can transform the way you approach the world when imagining and creating new solutions for the future. It’s about being aware of the world around you, believing that you play a role in shaping that world, and taking action toward a more desirable future. In my new book ‘The Innovation Expedition’ I describe the five characteristics necessary to think like a designer.
Innovation isn’t a natural mindset for most leaders—or for the companies they work for—but the good news is that innovation can be learned. Innovator’s Accelerator is a new online learning program created by the world’s leading innovation experts—Clayton Christensen, Jeff Dyer, and Hal Gregersen—that gives emerging leaders the tools and techniques they need to become innovators.
From our talks with innovation management practitioners and business executives it seems that not many organizations have a well-defined and integrated innovation strategy. To find out more about how to go about creating and executing such a strategy, we spoke to Wouter Koetzier and Christopher Schorling at Acceture who encourage a very pragmatic and execution-oriented approach.
In every organization you have anti-innovators. They are stuck in their habits; are ignorant the world is changing fast and think that they have nothing to fear. Actually, they are quite human. We all love our habits. Gijs van Wulfen explains how to get them motivated.
Big, crazy, breakthrough ideas seem wonderful when you are dreaming them up, but frightening when it comes time to implement them. Fortunately, the field personal development has a technique that you can apply: personal development planning (PDP). Jeffrey Baumgartner explains how to implement this approach to your innovation process.
Are you in a “more of the same mode” in your innovation work? In this article Susanna Bill uses two real-life examples to remind us of the need to see beyond given truths. We need to keep our eyes and ears open for the triggers presented by others. She also returns to a “golden-oldie” exercise to put ourselves off balance and open up our thinking for new opportunities.
Traditional Strategy, the dominant model of doing business for nearly half a century, is fast becoming a thing of the past, pushed aside by the fast-moving forces of social business – which include innovation, collaboration and co-creation.
Innovation is a paradox for management. On the one hand you are well aware that you have to take new roads before you reach the end of the present dead end street. On the other hand it is risky. It takes a lot of time. And it takes a lot of resources. Research shows that only one out of seven innovation projects is successful. So saying yes to innovation is a step into the unknown. It creates fear of failure, which causes fear to innovate. It’s like sailing to the South Pole like Shackleton, where the surrounding ice can stop you any moment.
Innovation is commonly associated with companies seeking to provide higher value to their customers – most often, for profit organizations competing in the marketplace. Though chartered for other than profit-making activities, nonprofit organizations have too been keen to adopt innovation principles. In fact, they often manage to do so in a way that inspires small, medium-sized and even large organizations from all industries.
It’s better for a CEO to describe success than to prescribe the exact methods employees must use to achieve it. This is done, says Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig, by establishing a company vision and sharing it often with employees. He advises to not think in terms of business models, but rather to reframe the questions to ensure your company is thinking big enough. Then, hire people willing to be part of a team that will be integral to this vision.