Organizing to Innovate


Innovation and growth – it seems reasonable that there is a connection.  For instance, Blockbuster, a company that did not innovate to keep up with the changing movie rental landscape eventually declared bankruptcy due to the emergence of companies like Netflix and Redbox. On the other hand Hostess, Fitbit and Amazon are examples of companies that experienced growth following innovation.


Organizations succeed when they recognize that innovation is essential and therefore worthy of a systematic process and achieving success requires the appropriate support and processes in place. Innovation is a critical component in any business; however, many companies fail to have a clear innovation strategy.


Executive management sets the tone for the organization (culture, process and budget). If organizational leaders are open to change to support growth and encourage risk-taking, a culture of improvement and advancement is more likely to follow. For example Apple known for pushing the envelope applied research to eliminate the hassle of wires on headphones and introduced EarPods.


In many companies, innovation is a collaborative effort with various role players involved throughout the process. The roles within the innovation process which can be broken down between innovators and implementers help guide the new product or service from start to finish and bring the idea to market.   Oftentimes, different roles overlap but they serve to reflect the actions required to achieve basic innovation steps. Innovative ideas can also come from an outside source, such as vendors who can bring the latest technology and trends and a slightly different perspective.


Benchmarking organizational creativity reveals strengths and weaknesses that may potentially cause obstacles to innovation. Measuring an organization’s collective innovation capabilities is a challenge but necessary nonetheless. Measuring enables leaders to make informed decisions on how to best develop vital internal capabilities. The end goal is for an organization to align its creative inputs to its organizational goals. A commitment toward improving processes, products, and services is at the heart of innovation, and the commitment starts within the organization.




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