Saturday, August 29, 2009

What’s everyday among Apples?

If someone asks you to name 3 innovative companies, the companies you will name will most probably be the ones that go about doing innovations as a continuous process. Less of strategy and more as way of life, they are the ones who have escaped from the trap of planning for the innovation long ago and have got down to doing it.

You will also notice that these companies do not invent big every day, however they make sure they do it continuously. The small innovations get the due acknowledgment which paves the way for big. Innovation does not need to be always radical.

On the other hand some companies are accidental innovators, nothing wrong, except that the probability of unintentional innovation is slim.

The top management has a reason to be not happy with one-off innovations. Try this,

1) Have intention to move towards innovative culture, make it as visible as possible, part of your every communication.
2) Do previous step often
3) And when you do this often, you and others in your team will figure out the how part, yes it just happens!

The most important things are the simplest, just that they are not the most obvious. While you are figuring out the how part, do check out the following

a) Your employees and customers who are NOT part of your R&D team are also well placed to provide the ideas.
b) Find a way to reach outside your enterprise boundary, the latest trend has got all the top companies initiate collaborative innovation in some form or other.
c) Invest in collaboration software which enables innovation management

Process enablement promotes perseverance, perseverance brings sustainability … building sustainable innovation culture itself needs innovation.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Get the ball rolling

That word – ‘innovation’, usually finds its place in organizations’ strategy either directly or indirectly as a non linear initiative, budget thrown in and going back to business as usual.
Not so surprisingly, there is a huge gap which gets created between the strategy and what eventually happens on the ground.

What can one do to get the ball rolling in the right direction?

1) Do one simple check as a first step, see that the strategy involving the word ‘innovation’ is not done just to make your annual presentation look good but is aligned to a business objective.

2) Leave lot of room for change on the way, having a direction is good when it comes to innovation, but don’t get stuck with it.

3) Conflict of opinion is a biggest killer of innovation, and dropping the project is more often the way out to avoid the disagreements.

For a strategic objective to increase the sales, you will find things like better branding, advertisement, and new geography in the operations plan. Similarly the pillars of your innovation operations plan should be a) Platform conducive for innovation b) Encouragement - be it reward or recognition c) Non political transparent process to evaluate ideas.

You have the pins lined up; and you have the ball.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Utilize the latent talent

Every organization has talent, which is more diverse than the roles available and assigned to an individual employee.

Every organization has a purpose to fulfil and obviously the roles are derived from that end purpose in mind and assigned top down. Though there is nothing wrong in this approach and nor does it need to change, this approach does not utilize the hidden talent of your employees, at times it could be a wrong assignment of a role; which is difficult to get rid overnight, and sometimes it is the absence of right encouragement which stops the employee from opening up.

Bigger problem though is the lack of realization, both on employers and employees part, that the talent is right there. Organizations constantly are trying to reduce the existence of this problem and many have succeeded to some extent. It is a quest to leverage what they own and pay for, pick the brains of their employees and convert that non time consuming sparks into revenue generation offering or a cost saving process.

“Obviously, the highest type of efficiency is that which can utilize existing material to the best advantage” - Jawaharlal Nehru