Productivity Chickens and Innovation Eggs

What came first – the chicken or the egg?

This age old question can also be applied to productivity and innovation. In the recent Australian Institute of Management/Melbourne University survey “Innovation. The New Imperative”, Prof Danny Samson analysed results from over 1500 surveys from AIM members. The results can be summarised as …”firms with proven innovation performance are three times more likely to have higher levels of cash flow, cost advantages and long-term competitive advantage (i.e. productivity)….and…organisations that fail to embrace innovation as a systematic performance tool are likely to be chronic under-performers”.

These results could be re-worded as …’firms with higher levels of cash flow, cost advantages and long-term competitive advantage (i.e. productivity) are three times more likely to have proven innovation performance ….and…organisations that are chronic under-performers fail to embrace innovation as a systematic performance tool ”.
 

My question is, what comes first?

  • An organisation focus on productivity that delivers high performance culture that can then move to the next step of innovation and growth OR
  • A focus on innovation i.e. many new ideas that are then applied to both external growth and internal productivity.

In simple language, what comes first – doing things right OR doing the right things. The obvious answer is that organisations must focus on both, in parallel, or as we discovered at Hargraves, in a ‘BALANCED APPROACH’. The chicken AND the egg.

PS. A stunning highlight of the AIM/MBS Survey is that over 50% of all organisations surveyed DID NOT have anyone, or the respondent did not know who was responsible for innovation. If there is no one responsible for innovation, then how does it happen?

To find out more about how we can help you collaborate with peers outside your industry/network, contact us.

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