Innovate for success
“Many executives and managers know that the way their firms currently organize and carry out innovation has a limited shelf life. But our research has shown that, despite recognizing the challenge and being aware that their companies are ill-equipped to meet it, very few have strategies in place to transform their firms into global innovators.”
This lead-in to the post When It Comes To Innovation, It's Time To Think Globally summarizes the business mindset shift occurring around the world. Companies realize that the structures, tools, and strategies of the past are not going to cut it going forward. In the effort to re-tool for the future, the article offers the following advice:
- Identifying Knowledge Requirements: Understanding what knowledge is needed for innovation and where it is located is a key building block.
- Reconfiguring or Building an Innovation Network: Undertake a knowledge and competency audit of every site in order to identify duplication and redundancy and create the knowledge maps that will indicate the optimal innovation footprint.
- Building Communication Networks: Undertake an audit of existing processes, tools, and systems across the network and identify areas where harmonization and commonality are lacking.
- Culture Change and Building Trust: Build an environment of transparency and open dialogue to explore assumptions and common ground and build trust between different parts of the firm.
- Collaborative Innovation with Partners: Collaborating with partners is already becoming a common feature of innovation and, in many instances, is the only way of accessing the required knowledge.
An open innovation to business sustainability offers stakeholders the opportunity to become engaged in the future of a business. Recognizing that key stakeholders have a vested interest the success of the company creates openness to new ideas that promote business success and innovative ideas.
Each business responds in its own unique way to market dynamics and business challenges. Experience tells us there are things to consider and plan for in building out today’s inclusive engagement cultures. The HBR Blog Network post Where Open Innovation Stumbles examines the internally created barricades to sustainability progress.
- It wasn't invented here: Whatever solution your open innovation search yields, it is something that by definition was "not invented here." Businesses often fend off foreign ideas.
- It might not actually work: A common pitfall is that the company doesn't invest the time and effort into creating and performing the kind of test that will show whether the solution will hold up when it goes into production.
- The change is disruptive: Even when testing does prove the solution's viability, integrating it won't be painless because the organization will need to adjust its current processes to accommodate it.
Businesses often try to sell change to the organization as a way of attaining agreement and accelerate implementation. Yet it is clear that innovation will be essential for most businesses to thrive and survive over the next decade. How will leaders create sustainability programs to leverage internal and external innovation?
Julie Urlaub is the founder and managing partner of Taiga Company, a sustainability social media consulting firm, where she aids clients to powerfully engage in sustainability-related issues and stakeholder communications in the social space. She can be contacted at www.taigacompany.com | @taigacompany | Facebook/TaigaCompany