Innovation is one of the main areas for improvement that you’ll find on many lists with the title “today’s organizations’ main challenges”, or any other title the author choose to drive attention (they are doing a better job than me 🙂 ).
The fact that innovation is on this list for a long time, together with other known challenges, prove one fact; this is a systematic problem with the system organizations are using to operate that impact negatively innovation. Systematic issues don’t go anywhere until the system is changed.
When organizations are set up to reach short term goals for stakeholders, to maximize profit by reducing costs, to minimize mistakes; the organization is driven by efficiency and compliance. Efficiency and compliance drive best practices as well as risk and cost aversion. Best practices, risk aversion, and cost aversion are not exactly the culture or atmosphere for creativity and innovation. To make it even worst this culture is defined by an organizational structure that enables few people to drive this culture. Nothing wrong with that, as long as your target is not innovation.
Due to the current system limitations, many organizations that manage to create successful innovation separate the innovation teams from the rest of the company. They created strict and clear boundaries around innovation group and enabled them to operate outside of the efficient and risk aversion structure.
Although the separation model for innovation works, it is limited to what it can achieve. Not anyone can be part of the innovation team, therefore innovation awareness of current problems, scope and potential are minimal.
The other way to reach broader innovation across the company is more complicated to implement. The second approach is to change the organizational structure and culture to support creativity. If you read my previous post about NUMMI, They are a great example. NUMMI is just one example to prove that such a change can be done as well as a demonstration of the benefits of such a change.
With automation and robotics, the future of the organization will be based on the emergent property of companies to innovate and be creative. Those two will make the difference between companies, so investing in them now will pave your way to a better future.