Companies and governments must be innovative. But how?
Many organizations wait for some curious creative ideas to suddenly appear out of nowhere. The suggestions that are put forward are often not so useful after all. Other organizations go a little further. They organize an “innovation day”, set up a committee on innovation, they try to blow new life into an Idea or Suggestion Box. The concept behind these types of behaviour is “passively waiting till someone comes up with a (hopefully) good idea”.
Still other organizations are doing nothing except constantly shouting that it is important and that “there should be an innovative and an open culture”. A minister may suggest that in order to be more innovative, civil servants should take more risks. But risk taking civil servants sounds like a dangerous idea!
We urgently need better ideas to be built in structurally in companies and governments.
It is not desirable to leave innovation to employees. Once the management has got an idea, it has to reward the employees for an idea it has not even asked for or is prepared to implement. Your call to be creative could be wrongly interpreted as a search to declare expenses creatively, taking risks with safety procedures or endless reverie about products and investment far beyond your reach.
If the idea does not fit in the company’s strategy the management must reject the idea and carefully communicate the reasons for the rejection and still run the risk of the workforce thinking: “ I see, “they” ask for ideas, and when I come up with an idea, they do not even bother to implement them”.
Decisive for a successful innovation is that the management should indicate where the company or organization is in desperate need for new ideas.
Organizations need innovation goals.
- In what areas do we need new ideas?
- What kind of innovations is needed?
- What is the aim with looking for ideas in these areas?
Although this is only the beginning of an innovation process, it is often neglected. It is the task of the board, or management to ensure that this is discussed. The message also needs to be communicated to the people in the organisation. Involving people from the stage means that there is a chance that the whole organisation is involved. But ultimately it is the task of the board to organise the innovation goals and to take responsibility for the goals.
Photo “Ideas On Smartphone Showing Mobile Innovations” by Stuart Miles