There are 3 main challenges to the adaptation of innovation in organizations:
Focus on efficiencies: Efficiency is a focus for many organizations. They will reduce costs as much as possible and make sure that people are working on the most important tasks needed to reach the business goal. This focus usually pushed back any innovative initiative. Innovation is associated with a high percentage of failures because of the level of uncertainty that comes with innovation. This failure ratio is perceived as a waste of resources and impacts the willingness of organizations and people to take part in any innovation efforts.
Focus on efficiencies: Efficiency is the focus of many organizations. To increase efficiencies organizations will reduce costs as much as possible and make sure that people are busy with the most important tasks needed to reach the business goal. This focus usually pushed back any innovative initiative. Innovation comes with a high percentage of failures because of the uncertainty of innovation. This failure ratio is perceived as a waste of resources and therefore innovation is not going hand in hand with efficiency.
Compliance with law and regulation (Risk-Averse): As risk-averse is growing because of increased demands from regulations, the appetite for innovation is decreasing. New ideas will change what the company is doing right now and we already spend time and effort to create processes that decrease risks. Implementing innovation will introduce a new risk, and many organizations (people in organizations) don’t want to take this risk.
People don’t like changes although the only thing that can be guarantee is a new change. Any innovative idea will perceive as a potential change to what people are doing today. Therefore, the immune system of organization works extremely well to kill any attempt to introduce any change.
So what can you do to increase innovation?
Add innovation to be one goal of your organization. Set up metrics, add OKRs and allocate a certain percentage of your budget for innovation. Show everyone that innovation is important and to make mistakes as part of the innovation process is common to practice innovation. The best that I saw was a team of executives working on innovation. The biggest impact was when they share what they’ve learned (including mistakes) with the company. The impact was exactly what you are looking for (at least I assume it if you are reading this post).
Risk-averse, audits and any other controls to reduce risks are devastating for innovation. Their goal is to reach strict processes that will ensure compliance. To reach strict processes organization use fear ensuring people will follow the process. If you trained people to follow strict processes, how do you expect them to be innovative? Management can address this dilemma. This is management that set up the risk-averse level of organizations, so they can find the right level that promotes innovation and still maintain a certain level of compliance. After all the business is taking bigger risks every day to keep on competitive advantage and even increase it.
People afraid of what they don’t know and a major part of people’s resentment from innovation is because most of them hardly did it. They were to focus on projects and keep the light on activities that required more following process than being creative. There are many ways that an organization can slowly introduce people to innovation and what comes with it. The easiest and most fun way is to use art to introduce people to innovation. Those activities should be voluntary and should focus on the fun part of the art. People will be exposed to the hard part of innovation while practicing art. With the right guidance allocated to each group (experience artist), they will learn how to deal with innovation and they will be more open to using it on a daily basis.
You should implement these three ways to increase innovation in parallel. Each one of these three ways depends on the other two to create a successful impact and increase innovation.