Watch out!  The strategy around recognition as it relates to “rewarding” innovation can be tricky. In fact, it is not uncommon for strategies that are put in place to encourage creativity and innovation to have the opposite effect and actually cause fierce anger toward innovation efforts.

Watch this video for an example of what can go wrong with rewards:

Imagine if members of an organization applied creative thinking to a “business problem” which resulted in a significant savings to that organization. And they simply received a nice “good job” pat on the back. While at the same time, members of a “new product” development team that brought a product to market are given significant cash bonuses. What do you think the impact might be?  Let’s just say it would likely be less than a warm & fuzzy feeling and as such, wouldn’t help to foster a sustainable culture for innovation.

Success Tip:  Since there is already a system for rewarding good employee performance in general, we wonder why there is a need to create a separate system for innovation. Consider improving the existing system to include innovation attributes.

Accountability and Recognition is only one of the 12 Strategies for Innovation Excellence. We find that it is important to look at accountability and recognition during the early stages of designing your innovation roadmap because it is through accountability that employees are supported to maintain integrity with the fundamental behaviors and values that drive creative thinking and collaboration in themselves and others.

We support what Stephen R. Covey says, “Accountability breeds response-ability.”

This is a critical strategy to get right so that well intentioned strategies don’t become dangerous obsessions that undermine your efforts.


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