I think most would agree there is a continuing need is to build the management of innovation into a clear organizational capability, where innovation becomes a continuous effective innovation process. If you don’t agree, then I’d suggest you don’t bother to read on!
The struggle to date is that innovation remains hard to manage well; we strive to systematize it and then attempt to replicate any success we then have achieved. Often this does not work as the variables that make up innovation can be different for each innovation event or activity.
The make-up of innovation
I think we all recognize that innovation is made up of both tangible and intangible assets. It is the marriage of these two that makes innovation a unique capability to manage in well-structured ways. It is the people engaged in innovation activity that make it work. Everything else, the process, structures, technologies and management systems are just the contributing enablers. Continue reading →
I would like to continue on “unfreezing the middle” for innovation to really take hold and have a greater mometum in organizations. Largely it is about our ability to unlock those ‘frozen innovation moments.’ To radically redesign the approach to innovation that today is constantly occurring in ‘discreet parcels’ of innovation activity within organizations. It is this ‘selective’ approach I certainly believe needs changing.
To achieve this I believe the middle manager in organizations needs to make some significant changes within their perspectives of ‘how’ innovation must fit within the design of their organization. This will allow them to achieve a fundamentally different organizational state than many seemingly need but perhaps are stuck with existing designs at present. Perhaps they are not seeing a different perscribed pathway to take- the innovation pathway suggested here http://bit.ly/dnCj1m and built upon here http://bit.ly/ikgR4f can serve as thoughts
Innovation in organizations does need fresh perspectives.
Jeffrey Phillips argues in his recent blog that “middle managers need new perspectives, new skills and new directions”. “We need to unfreeze the middle so the rest of the organization can adapt and change. Only then can innovation become what is needed it to be”- taken from his blog: “From smooth and steady to rough and ready”. (http://bit.ly/OVsuX)
This past week we had a #innochat tweet session(www.innochat.com) around Jeffrey Phillip’s book “Relentless Innovation”( http://amzn.to/xXoHof ). The chat was framed around a set of questions here (http://bit.ly/Awvh5E ) but basically the premise of Jeffrey’s thinking was “can it be possible to shift from business as usual (BAU) to innovation business as usual”?
He suggests that one of the most significant challenges for innovation is the fact that many firms have spent years, if not decades, creating business models and operating processes that are exceptionally efficient and effective but neglect the essential part that innovation plays.
Equally the middle manager is so focused on the delivery of short term results through effective organization and pursuing efficiencies they have little ‘slack’ within the system to learn and build innovation into it.
I would possibly argue the very people that we are expecting to manage the ‘dynamics’ within organizations, the Middle Managers, are seeking the very opposite- doing everything possible to keep it as stable and consistent as it can be.