Innovation – Think it, Do It, Live It

Contributed by Andres Jordan

The innovation movement is well on its way and many companies have been immensely successful adopting its practices. The likes of Apple, 3M, IBM, Zappos, Starbucks, have all adopted innovation thinking and specific innovation management tools to derive new insights with great success.

But there is still some resistance and lack of understanding of what innovation is and what it can accomplish. As evidenced by the research, CEOs wish to develop innovation ecosystems and mindsets, but are cautious due to misunderstanding the state of innovation management.

What is innovation? It is:

  • A way to uncover new insights and realize unmet needs that can lead to groundbreaking ideas and new markets
  • A mindset that can transform companies and people
  • A way to solve existing challenges placing human creativity at the center of the solution set
  • A way to extend product lines and new sources of revenue
  • A process that can improve delivery of existing services

Innovation is a way of thinking and “doing” that can improve all areas of business.

There is now a strong body of knowledge and state-of-art best practices available in the innovation movement, which started with Clayton Christensen’s seminal book: The Innovator’s Dilemma back in 1997. Nearly 20 years later we are seeing it spread like wild fire through today’s organizations.

What matters most now is knowing when and how to implement innovation and how the mindset complements organizational cultures. A great example is a client call Cerius received from a VP of Sales in the healthcare industry. He wanted help to identify an initial technology initiative and implement it over the next year. But rather than stopping there and checking feeling as though he could put a check mark next to “innovation”, he also wanted help to create a culture of innovation throughout his company. In an industry being forced to change or be left behind, this leader clearly understood what would be needed to stay ahead of his competition.

Understandably, existing cultures may not always be ready to accept new innovation-based methodologies and practices. It can be unsettling to cultures not instructed in what innovation is and how it is handled. But cultures have been transforming and continue to do so every day. It can and has been done. What is important here is to know how to manage this accommodation via baby steps. As with most changes in a company, it starts at the top.

The challenges of installing, managing and nurturing innovation are no longer about going blindly into the unknown to see what sticks. The innovation tools, best practices and case studies are here to show the way when properly applied and managed. It is now about the implementation of best practices that can successfully address the challenges posed by CEO’s. CEO’s can now rest assured that it will not be a wild goose chase with little results. All they need now is the commitment to do it. But, most important of all, they must be implemented and directed by proficient professionals with optimal mindsets that have realized the lessons-learned.

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