Making Innovation Sustainable
I’ve recently started on a blog series from the folks at Innovation Excellence entitled “Making Innovation Sustainable”. You can start the series here. One of the things that jumped out at me from the first post was a list of key dangers when it comes to our approach to innovation. They are:
- Viewing innovation as a temporary, extraordinary effort in response to a crisis, or pursuing innovation as a competitive response.
- Treating innovation as the domain of only the R & D or Marketing department, or some other subgroup.
- Treating innovation as a project-based activity, instead of as an integral organizational capability to be invested in and professionally managed.
Most individuals and organziations view innovation as something to be pulled out of your back pocket only when the needs arises. Much like Felix’s ‘bag of tricks’, innovation serves as a nifty quick-fix to a pressing issue or problem. However, for organizations to truly be innovation and to maintain innovation over time, there must be systems and structures in place that not only support innovation, but fuel it.
One recommendation from this first post is to enlist ‘innovation shepherds’ who have the shared tasks of “identifying and cataloging innovation best practices and building the innovation capabilities of the organization so that all innovation projects in the portfolio may benefit.” I think this is a great starting point for any team or organization. You need someone to ‘own’ innovation. Tasking someone with keeping their eyes on the innovation landscape and making key connections to the plans and programs of the organization will greatly increase your organizations’ ability to innovate over the long haul.
Who on your team serves as your ‘innovation shepherd’?
What structures and systems do you have in place to create sustainable innovation?
What is your next step for getting from where you are now to where you need to be?