A road to innovation is often paved with stumbling blocks. These blocks cannot be ignored and are hard to overcome. While the obstacles won’t disappear, we must continue to trudge on. Why not look at the stumbling blocks as stepping stones instead! Amazon, Google and Microsoft have all cracked the code of the three main stumbling blocks that hinder innovation in an organization.
Stumbling Block 1 – Resistance to change
Though change is the only constant, it is frightful for most. Companies that are averse to change and revamping their old ways are often afraid, ignorant or both. Their decision makers usually do not like to get out of their comfort zones or push their boundaries lest it doesn’t do them good. This is a major block for innovation as the organization’s culture stifles new ideas.
Swap to Stepping stone – Education
Organizations can turn the above block to a stepping stone with education and right mix of tools like gamification and simulations. Building awareness amongst the decision makers and letting them test out their fears in a safe learning environment can help ease the reluctance to embrace change. Using simulations fosters learning that occurs without real-world business impact. Simulated learning allows for constant, real time feedback loop with the freedom to test out hypotheses and learn from mistakes without real-world business impact. This helps to eliminate the resistance to change and in turn open avenues for innovation basis their experiences in the simulations.
Stumbling Block 2 – Focus on hierarchy
Organizations that practice stringent policies adhering to hierarchy and decision making are a sure shot block for innovation to brew. Long response times and a large chain of hierarchy can result in losing the steam that an immediate implementation or execution of an innovative solution could bring to the table.
Swap to Stepping stone – Gifting autonomy
Creating a culture where everyone can explore and is empowered to challenge the existing ways of work is through gifting them autonomy. This gift enables them to discover new value in the existing processes/products, thus bringing innovation into play. There is drive and motivation to explore and implement the ideas when individuals or teams have autonomy. The added benefit is getting an opportunity to fail well and fail fast, while they learn in real-time without hampering business revenue.
Stumbling Block 3 – Affinity to Siloed Functioning
This stumbling block is perhaps the most harmful to innovation. Individuals, teams and organizations that believe in innovation as a function of only a set of people hired for innovative solutions will never truly innovate at the rate and strength of those who believe in collaboration and crowdsourcing. A dedicated R&D department doesn’t advocate the policy of fail fast and shuns the opportunity to bring many diverse points of view together.
Swap to stepping stone – Originality and collaboration
Innovation is synonymous with originality and collaboration. The best ideas and innovation wonders have come from the most unlikely sources. A classic case is Colgate’s sales problem, which was solved by a suggestion from a member of the maintenance staff. Her idea that the nozzle of the toothpaste tube be made wider reduced the replacement cycles of the toothpaste, boosting sales to another level.
Today, innovation is the need of the hour. Organizations, teams and individuals, all must include innovation as part of their personal values, mission and vision. Creating a momentum around innovation and including it as a cultural factor is a prerequisite for companies to scale. It also known to boost employee engagement. Innovation when implemented correctly, fosters a culture of asking “why?”. This simple question enables individuals and organizations alike in identifying the root of a problem and coming up with innovative, creative solutions to solve it.
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Published by: Nikita Madhu in Blog