How do we move innovation forward? We need to see this as a battle of hearts and minds, of overcoming dogma and fixed mindsets, using skirmishes to advance the innovation advancement. We need to break out of entrenched positions and lead innovation forward.
Many people feel innovation is an uncomfortable place, it often is at the edge, it deals in both opportunity and risk, it is uncertain to commit to joining the innovation battle. Sadly the majority working within our organizations do not understand innovation, it is too intangible, it seems shrouded in mysteries, yet it offers challenge, excitement and satisfaction. To achieve ‘something’ is highly motivating.
We firstly need to mobilize around innovation
To mobilize the organizations troops you have to give them objectives, they need to identify and be given a clear understanding of the ‘cause and its effect’. Over time they can recognize the positive effects and begin to understand the consequences if they don’t join in and engage.
Let me use a military metaphor, in war for this post.
Achieving advantage it is necessary to take the high ground away from others, “to take the hill”. This is always a costly operation, both because an attacker usually suffers from this ‘push’ and because it is more difficult to attack uphill and take someone else’s hill or advantage point.
The uphill battle for innovation is not an easy one
Innovation is in an uphill fight to gain the high ground and provide the strategic advantage that this will eventually bring, if it is sustaining and well executed. To help in this our leaders have to decide the strategic framework for advancing innovation.
The approach and the eventual strategy needs to lay out what the intent is, it needs to define the objectives. Any clear statement needs to state where the business is headed in the long term and how innovation will contribute. It should include major goals and milestones, as well as how resources and assets are going to be deployed. It needs a real comprehensive innovation battle plan.
Planning our innovation battle requires the taking of different hills
This plan or framework needs to be simple, clear, credible, motivating and it reflects the uniqueness of the organization to achieve the innovations needed. We need to see this as taking one hill at a time, tactics may change but each new hill taken signals advancement and provide better conditions to ‘think’ innovation with growing confidence.
Each hill might be just one mission in the overall innovation strategy. The role of our organization’s leader is ensuring they are putting strategy into practice by constructing and then communicating where do we want to get to and how are we going to get there.
We need to take each hill one at a time and then to secure it to gain a lasting position for innovation
Innovation does not happen overnight, it takes time and preparation. It takes dedicated commitment. We need to advance ‘one hill at a time’.
So what are the hills we need to take?
Any thoughts, I’m going over a few suggestions in my next post? Some are establishing strategic change, some are to stabilize positions and some are to push out and establish the strategic advantage. Others hills need to be established so organizations can build capabilities, then mobilize theses to deploy innovation in structured ways.
amended -broken into two posts for ease of reading