Every company is looking for that magic bullet that will enable them to introduce breakthrough products and services. There is another way of thinking about Innovation. Would it not be better to think about the barriers to innovation. If you have talented, creative, and motivated people working in your business then it may be worth thinking in this way. So by identifying and removing barriers, it might be possible to impulse innovation and leveraging your talent.
Here are ten common barriers that can slow down or stop a company’s ability to innovate effectively.
Do any of these apply to your company (never? sometimes? often?):
- We focus on short-term results which stops ideas that may take longer to develop.
- We fear cannibalising our current business with devoting resources in any new areas.
- We don’t have enough resources for new innovative projects because most of our resources are devoted to day-to-day business.
- Innovation is not my job! Innovation is not part of everyone’s responsibilities.
- Our efficiency focus eliminates free time for fresh thinking.
- We do not have a standard process to nurture the development of new ideas.
- Incentives are geared towards maximising today’s business and reducing risk.
- Managers are not trained to be innovation leaders.
- Managers immediately look for flaws in new ideas rather than tease out their potential.
- We look at opportunities through internal lenses rather than starting with customers’ needs and problems.
Bring together your team to discuss your answers and call RWR if you need any help with focussing on this area.
You also might want to send the questions to a wider group and see how they respond. The key is to use this list of inhibitors (and any others you might want to add) as a springboard for dialogue about your company’s innovation practices and culture.
All of us in organisations have the capability to innovate. Sometimes we just have to get out of our own way.
Taken from Ron Ashkenas – a managing partner of Schaffer Consulting and a co-author of The GE Work-Out and The Boundaryless Organization. His latest book is Simply Effective.
Harvard Business Review