What spurs innovation in organisations?

3723 reads

What spurs innovation in organisations?

Two glaring misconceptions emerged from the discussion :Some felt it is creative people. They offered the example of advertising agencies. You have to recruit and retain creative types to produce work that helps sell clients’ products. Others pointed out it was leaders like Steve Jobs who carry the firm on their broad creative shoulders. If only a company could nurture and build a leader like Jobs, the organisation would prosper on the back of a series of breakthrough products. Creative people theory :It is true that naturally creative people can and do contribute to a firm’s output. However, if it is a special talent that only a few have, not every organisation can avail their services. Does it mean less fortunate firms are handicapped forever?

The fallacy of the creative people argument lies in the fact that everyone is and can be innovative. They need appropriate resources, training, experience, and above all a conducive environment.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is not known for hiring specially gifted people. Yet it has blazed a remarkable trail. The Mars Orbiter Feedback Share your opinions & comments on this issue on my blog Or you can write to me directly at vn@vnbhattacharya.com ,Share with friends  Feel free to share Perspectives on Strategy with your friends & colleagues.Take action Know how you can improve your managers' strategy quotient. Write to me. mission was accomplished on the very first attempt at a fraction of the cost US and Russia incurred. No other country had succeeded in the first try. Ordinary people have driven innovation in companies like Asian Paints, Starbucks, Sigma Aldrich over decades and contributed to their leadership .

Humble leadership and innovation culture :The argument against finding an innovation engine like Steve Jobs is even more compelling. We know how he, seemingly single handed, drove Apple's remarkable innovations. But we scarcely know the names of CEOs of companies like 3M, Procter & Gamble (P&G), and Toyota. They may not have been larger-than-life but their firms have sustained innovation for many years.

Their secret lies in culture - their unique patterns of behaviour and ways of creative problem solving. Not surprisingly, they seem to share the belief that encouraging curiosity and gaining insight is important for innovation to take root and blossom.

Practices at the root : Toyota has a well established practice - genchi genbutsu. It means Go See. Engineers and managers are expected to find out the root cause of a problem by observing the process, the machine, or customer behaviour wherever the problem is occurring. Toyota’s famous car the Lexus LS 400 was designed and built after extended and deep study of target customers' aspirations, lifestyle and behaviour.

P&G’s Living It program, practised since 2002, requires managers and product developers to live in the homes of consumers for several days at a time. They observe how customers shop, eat, do laundry and dishes, and manage their homes and families. They come to appreciate what housewives and families take pride in and difficulties they face in doing household chores.

The program directly led to P&G developing Downy Single Rinse, laundry detergent and softener. The product cut the six-step washing cycle to three and sharply reduced water consumption. Women in low income households in Mexico loved it.

Innovation culture:Toyota and Procter & Gamble, to name just two, encourage gaining and proliferating insight – the source of creative ideas – by immersive observation. Their practices and programs encourage a pattern of behaviour and build a culture that spurs innovation. Both, and many like them, lay great store by seeding and embedding an innovative culture.The impact of innovation culture in P&G has been dramatic. Success rate of new brands more than tripled and R&D spend fell from 4.5% to 2.8% of sales in the first decade of the new millennium. The Toyota organisation implements one million, yes One Million new ideas every year. 30% of 3M's revenue comes from new products introduced in the previous four years. The reason they have sustained innovation is their emphasis on culture, not focus on creative people.

Trending

58
cryptocurrency's picture

Billions Are Flowing Into The Logistics Industry To Solve Today’s Delivery Issues

Meet LiteLink Technologies (CSE:LLT), Creator of the Most Comprehensive Logistics Solution The Sector Desperately NeedsHidden beneath the booming retail economy that’s seen e-commerce sales double over the last five years is what some call the
72
businessstandard's picture

Beyond the scripted code of conduct

The resignation of Binny Bansal of Flipkart is the latest in a series of departures of heavyweight CEOs in recent months.While the background of each of these resignations is different, there is a common pattern with deeper implications linking them
78
sethgodin's picture

Avoiding the curse of the low-hanging fruit

A new organization launches and finds excited and willing customers. These are the early adopters. The nerds. The people who knew they had a problem. These are the easy sales, the folks who will wait in line. And then the curse can set in. You will
136
johnsullivan's picture

Attract Quality Candidates by Thinking Like a Product Marketer

Talented people are bombarded with opportunities. So many that yours could easily be lost in the crowd. There’s a simple way to make your opportunities stand out — package your jobs as if you’re marketing a product. I was reminded...
135
sethgodin's picture

An inconvenient shopping list

Cyber Monday (inspired by its evil cousin, Black Friday) is a symptom of our obsession with convenience. As Tim Wu has pointed out, convenience trumps privacy, morality and good judgment for too many of us–the internet has made things faster, and
125
johnsullivan's picture

A Wild and Crazy New Model of Employment

Companies today adhere to a decades-old recruitment process originally designed for in-person paper applications — a pre-Internet, one-company-for-life era that has quickly passed us by. The Internet increased our visibility of choice and ease of
150
jackcanfield's picture

4 Tips to Help You Accept & Embrace Change

Whether you perceive it or not, everything is constantly changing – the environment, the weather, the economy, technology, society, culture, your friends and family, your body, everything. And the better able you are to embrace change in what
201
johnsullivan's picture

You Don’t Need to Code to Source With A.I.

Are you intimidated by all this talk of digital transformation and artificial intelligence implementation? Do you feel like you don’t have the tech-savvy or coding knowledge to get started? In the world of recruiting, we’re often faced with too many
178
johnsullivan's picture

Are You Committing Career Malpractice?

Do you know X? I noticed a job posting and when I checked the company, it showed that you had connections there. Let me know if you know her. Like you, I get these from friends from time-to-time as they...