A year ago the GE Global Innovation Barometer study indicated, frankly, that senior executives were a bit freaked out by this “innovation thing” and experiencing what GE termed “Innovation Vertigo.”
Executives unintentionally backed themselves into a corner. Innovation appeared on their company’s value statements, in their organizational branding materials and in their executive communications. But the unpleasant truth was that most of the leaders didn’t know how to best achieve their aspirations. And, as they became more aware of the interrelated complexity of efforts needed – it made their heads spin. Welcome to innovation vertigo. A guaranteed malady when one aspires to innovation, but lacks anything resembling a strategic roadmap to follow.
The good news is that senior leaders are learning and expanding their perceptions around innovation efforts, as evidenced in both our practice at New & Improved and in this year’s GE findings.
Leaders now understand that an important part of the puzzle is to encourage creative behaviors and to do so means that internal processes will need to be changed. In some instances, radically. Not just with respect to training people, but across every function and value stream in the enterprise. It is not as simple as once thought – that we simply need to train people to be more creative.The tough truth is that moving from the current state to a more sustained innovation culture will be disruptive. While many wish it was not so, those who are waking up to this reality first are carving out more value in their competitive niche, and setting themselves up to do so for the long run.
Full access to the creative potential of your human resource is so necessary to remain competitive that it must be done. And done more rapidly and wisely than your competitive set.
We have found that there is a real hunger at the executive level for a more complete enterprise approach to innovation culture. An approach that goes beyond the narrowly focused pressure to fill the new offering pipeline. The results of this year’s GE survey affirm what we have been seeing. They reflect our experience and the guidance that we share in our new eBook “Demystifying Innovation Culture Efforts.” Take a look at our 12 key strategic action areas and you’ll note they are entirely supported by GE’s findings.
Now, take a look at your organization – where are you putting effort? Are there strategies that are being ignored? Are there “magic bullets” where you are putting all your efforts? (We call these “dangerous obsessions”.)
We have a prediction about next year’s findings, which generally lag behind our “on the ground” experience as practitioners. Next year, we’ll hear about a growing awareness that creative behaviors, and the value they create for an enterprise, are beginning to be encouraged at EVERY level and in EVERY value stream within a business. Additionally, we predict that there will be an increased awareness about the virtuous links between employee engagement, innovation culture, progress and meaning.
Some leading indicators of progress are:
- More agile business lines
- Increased personal responsibility for innovation
- New accountabilities
- Reduced conflict – Better Collaboration
- Tangible ROI through revenue, efficiencies and business models
And, what fuels our hearts even more here at New & Improved? The fact that more and more people are taking creative thinking skills home and using them with their families and within their communities to find good solutions to tough problems.