Taking on those innovation hills is never easy

AchievementFollowing on from my last post suggesting the way to move innovation forward, it was to ‘take the different innovation hills, one at a time, for innovation advancement” I used a military metaphor of “taking the hills”.

So what are the hills we need to take?

 There are plenty of innovation hills to attack but here are ten suggestions that would advance the cause of innovation and establish its territorial importance in the organization somewhat.

Some hills maybe on first glance, seem not so important but they all move towards setting up the winning conditions for innovation to become a core within organizations. Some are sending clear signals of intent; others show the fighting commitment necessary to take that hill because it is strategically important.

Hill one is by abandoning quarterly reporting

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Taking the hills, one at a time, for innovation advancement

Taking the hill. Pfc. John J. Allen of Company E in the 25th Infantry Division leads his men in attack on the west central front in Korea, March 30, 1951.

Taking the hill. Pfc. John J. Allen of Company E in the 25th Infantry Division leads his men in attack on the west central front in Korea, March 30, 1951.

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.

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Plan your innovation resolutions early for 2012

For many October is the peak month for bringing together their strategic and operating plans for 2012. Meetings get frantic, issues get raised, and plans get drawn up, rejected and redrawn. The period becomes a fever pitch.

Where does innovation figure within this? In new products, new services and plenty of noble entreaties to adding to the growth I am sure. One aspect you might want to consider within all this activity and planning, is to develop a resolution list of issues that need resolving, I mean really, finally, actually resolving in 2012, to allow innovation to have a greater ‘hold’ on future thinking. Achieving a consensus, a clear focus, and a corporate commitment is what strategic plans are about so draw up your list of innovation resolutions needed to be resolved in 2012 and commit to them within the plans. Be upfront and bold.

Make sure you choose ‘soft’ as well as ‘hard’ innovation resolutions within any mix

One thing I would recommend when you draw up your list. Most corporate executives find the ‘softer’ aspects of innovation harder to work through. There is this certain ‘hard wiring’ that everything has to be clear, measurable and tucked away  in the accounts or ‘ticked off’ in each person’s mind. Softer aspects of innovation often don’t conform to this orderly view of the world and it is addressing this inconsistency ‘head-on’ has great value. Continue reading