Innovation at Ground Zero
In today's rapidly changing world, entrepreneurs and executives must create a "culture of innovation" that increases performance and output throughout the organization. Too often, this creation process of cultural innovation starts with a poorly defined and communicated message, leaving middle-management to divine the message, process, and implementation.
For innovation to be an integral part of an organization, the tone must emanate from the top of the organization down. Innovation must be reflected in human performance, systems, processes and technology.
Innovation is the most critical -- and most often overlooked element for sustained organizational success in the New Economy. The New Economy is really an economy of innovation. Only innovators forge ahead, for innovation is essential for economic survival in the New Economy.
Building the Foundation for Innovation
Innovation is one of the most fundamental challenges businesses face today. Innovation requires selecting the best ideas, people, and resources to create new products, services, business systems and practices -- then using them to stay ahead of the competition through successful and sustainable cultural innovation.
Entrepreneurs and executives must know what innovation really is, how to create it, and how to sustain it. Innovation is many things, including: applied creativity, adaptive response, proactive performance, empowerment, and visionary thinking.
Drive Change and Innovation
For innovation to be possible, change must be possible. Change must be embraced and present. I see five fundamental steps necessary for driving organizational change and innovation:
First, visionary leadership.
Third, understanding abilities and proficiencies.
Fifth, open technology mind-set.
Point of Contact
Ground zero is the point of contact between an organization and its customers. Today, interaction between customers and organizations is more complex, customers are more demanding, sophisticated, and difficult to retain. To succeed in this environment, innovation must be present at point of contact. Organizations must:
By understanding the four principles, innovative organizations find ways to use customer knowledge now and in the future.
Collaboration + Creativity = Innovation
The focal point for successful businesses in the 21st century will be a continuum that begins with the creation of new ideas -- creativity - culminating through the application of new ideas, processes, products, and services that create value for the organization -- innovation.
An organization must be able to gather, share, and use knowledge about its customers, market, suppliers, and partners. Through this process the organization ensures that new innovative products and services will be designed to meet customer and market needs. This is accomplished through effective collaboration across disparate disciplines and departments, such as sales, marketing, R&D, engineering, QA, and design.
This requires a methodology, a culture, and a system for sharing ideas and capturing best practices from design through development. It ensures that the organization has the expertise, knowledge, and resources it needs to assess business problems and opportunities as they occur.
Unfortunately, most organizations do not operate in a collaborative environment, but rather operate in isolation, where each department is compartmentalized and segregated from the other. Consequently, smothering new ideas and creativity.
In an over-crowded marketplace, the capacity to innovate gives organizations the competitive edge that differentiates them from their competitors. For organizations to remain in a continuous state of innovation, a perpetual free-flow of ideas is necessary. Organizations need to rediscover the wealth of creative potential and knowledge within their own workforce. Rediscovery begins from the top of the organization down.
In the future, the management of ideas will be the mantra; executives will orchestrate by creating opportunities for organizational collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Only the innovative will prevail. Got innovation?
Bray J. Brockbank is an entrepreneur and a technology integrations consultant for Learnframe, a leading KnowledgE-commerce (TM) and e-Learning infrastructure technologies corporation; Contact Bray at Learnframe by telephone: 800-738-9800 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , or directly by telephone: 801-766-9861 and e-mail: email@example.com .