In these turbulent times where ‘Business As Usual’ demands occupy our digital day, are we allowing ourselves and those we work with enough time to be innovative?
Being in the privileged position of being able to observe different organisations, the same issues continue to get in the way, hindering organisations trying to capitalise on any innovation initiatives. These are:
- not allowing their innovators time to work on their ideas and
- if implemented, not allowing enough time to see the results of initiatives before the pace of business has them moving onto the next best thing.
- middle management’s preoccupation with today’s business as usual to keep the “doors open”, rather than supporting those who are working on the future viability of the business.
- management supporting the things that have been successful rather than looking at the issue from a potential disruptor’s perspective and asking “what would I do if I entered this market today and didn’t have the legacy of past success?”
- management not having sufficient trust that their subject matter experts will do the right thing and use their experience and knowledge of the issue to formulate the right problem/opportunity and develop the best available outcome, or agree that more work is required before the issue can be satisfactorily implemented.
- endless meetings where all of the stakeholders feel compelled to attend on a “needs to know” basis rather than those who can contribute and move the issue forward being the only ones involved in the meeting.
Any of that sound familiar, or do you work in an organisation that has overcome these obstacles to innovation? Lucky you.
For the majority who are grappling with these issues, true innovation takes time and needs to be nurtured. This has been recognised by those organisations that have successfully implemented innovation initiatives over the longer term. Google has its 20% free time, 3M its 15%, Roche its iTime, to name a few. Organisations that have recognised that to be innovative, their employees need two jobs.
One to work on today’s business as usual; the other to be given the freedom and support to work on their future role, the one that will sustain the organisation for the longer term.
Allowing time to be innovative, amongst other support mechanisms, is a good place to start to enable innovation to thrive within your organisation.