Who is leading innovation in your organisation?
The marriage between technology, innovation, and business is here to stay. Currently, innovation is no longer a piece of the puzzle important to organisational growth, it is the oxygen needed for its survival and growth. In the future innovation will cease to be a role of the select few in organisations but everyone's job. The reality is that more and more organisations are discovering that innovation is everyone's job -- those who own the process will lead innovation thus, technology employees will be placed in departments and they will have to be fully acquainted with the processes.
What's in it for leaders?According to a survey by the Center for Creative Leadership,"94% of executives say innovation is important or very important, only 14% say their organisation is very effective at it." How can we move the needle from 14% upwards.
It all starts with leadership: Equip Leaders to play a crucial role in stimulating and promoting innovation. A paradigm shift is needed to move leaders from a mere appreciation of innovation into strategic use of it. Here are tips that your organisation can adopt to equip leaders to lead innovation and ensure the security of the organisation with regard to survival in the turbulent market place.
Create an innovation strategy: A formal innovation strategy serves as the blueprint and compass guiding the organisation's innovative efforts, it provides the gateway to the creation of innovative solutions to enterprise wide problems. Your innovation strategy should lay down the organisation's medium‐to‐long term vision with regard to innovation accompanied with a clear action plan. It encompasses having insight of current challenges; remember today's needs/wants are tomorrow's products and services.
Evaluate organisational structure and culture: The effectiveness of an innovation strategy is facilitated by an enabling culture, structure and an effective enterprise systems and operations. Organisational culture can effectively promote or inhibit cooperation, exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas. Does your current culture promotes exchange of ideas or inhibits? Does the current structure fosters creativity? Remember, a culture based on strong control is not conducive to creativity and innovation.
Assess the enterprise: The power of an innovation strategy lies in the day to day detail of the enterprise, including culture, structure, processes, methods and knowledge management. There is great value in being proactive and terrible consequences for being reactive. An organisation can influence the direction of the industry through innovation; ascertaining its ability to survive, compete and thrive in a chaotic market place. However, this potential is stimulated by leaders.
Naomi Chitambira is the StrengthsInc Board Member of the International Coach Federation.