Innovation is being ‘pushed down’ the organisation for others to interpret and offer their answers. They execute to their own understanding and often the innovations end up as not strategically aligned.
That is plainly wrong, not knowing the strategic objectives it is one of the principle causes of innovation failure and requires fixing.
This poor strategic understanding creates a lack of alignment and directing innovation. If an organisation lacks top leadership engagement it becomes, for many, the reason why they seem to just simply ‘limp’ along in their innovation activity, delivering ‘simply’ incremental outcomes. The more radical innovations can never emerge if these do not have the close alignment to the Corporate vision or objectives and leadership engagement..
It is often ironic that those in leadership positions start expressing their disappointment over final innovation results, yet often the answer simply lies more often than not in their own hands to resolve. Top leadership in organisations need to shape innovation and be more involved in its strategic design.
We need to resolve this innovation leadership gap of misunderstanding. We need to explain what their essential place is and provide the strategic frame to allow it to be understood. Then the contribution for innovation might be ‘allowed’ to deliver far more on its potential as it achieves that greater strategic alignment.
Innovation requires a critical senior executive focus?
As innovation becomes a more consistent requirement rather than an occasional exercise, it must align to strategic goals and become part of the planning and execution cycle. An increased focus on innovation as a consistent discipline requires significant reflection on what needs changing, what impact this change will have and how do we proceed to implement it. This requires senior management attention because of the significant organisational impact.
This refocus of strategy and implementation takes time and may require rethinking or reworking some existing strategies, plans, structure or culture, or may require the development of new structures and skills. Our recommended approach will trigger the necessary engagement in this essential set of strategic decisions that cannot be delegated down the organization.
Innovation needs a well-considered framework
Like any other important corporate initiative, innovation requires a carefully considered framework, otherwise, the efforts required to deliver innovation will suffer, resulting in sporadic, unsatisfactory outcomes. Is incremental innovation the best you can hope for? Innovation, in all its forms, incremental, distinctive, radical or transformational needs the full support and engagement of senior management and requires defined strategic goals, structural frameworks and an engaged corporate culture.
While the tactical work of innovation is accomplished by innovation teams throughout the organisation, your executive team needs to clearly establish the climate and the frameworks that will enable your innovators. This requires a clear articulation of strategy and the implementation of a framework that provides the essential building blocks for the organisation to work within.
You provide the linkage into the strategy, provide the framework and set this in the context of the vision and goals needed to be achieved.
You seek out the synergies between strategy and innovation, between innovation and capabilities, between culture, the environment, the process, structure and routines and how it all should be governed.
Today many organisations presently find themselves locked in the innovation incremental trap. Real growth needs a more radical approach from innovation. Incremental innovation often gives a very limited degree of security as others quickly copy or push this just a little bit further, so you end up chasing instead of making those leaps that give clear competitive space where that ‘advantage’ can become a sustaining one.
Delivering an integrated framework would be for many, a strategy that is innovative in itself.
The frames intent, its very nature, is that it promotes excitement, growing identification and the chance to debate innovation in a broader, more comprehensive framework. By taking this integrated innovation approach it offers clarification, for those wanting to be involved in the growth and future of the organisation to gain identification, provide input and draw out the specific clarification to help them contribute.
An integrated approach can significantly provide the support to the people involved in innovating to help build their ability to execute in a cohesive way the innovation activity that contributes to the strategic innovation goals. It provides the framing opportunity for that elusive alignment that is often missing in today’s organisations
There is considerable value in exploring and determining your organization’s integrated innovation framework and this can come through a greater encouragement to wrestle with innovation’s parts and frame this through the Executive Innovation Work Mat.
**Recently I wrote an extensive series of postings on the Executive Innovation Work Mat for the Hype Innovation Blog, just put in the search box “Work Mat” and take a read.