Very few management systems or initiatives start with a blank sheet of paper. Every sizeable company already has ways of managing supply, quality, finance etc – and innovation. When the realisation comes that innovation needs to be strengthened, the temptation is often to import a system that will solve all your problems.
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Disruptive innovation is the best type, isn’t it? New, exciting and the Rolls Royce of the innovation showroom? The one to aim for? Well, not quite….
Why is innovation like a swan? Of course, the picture is elegant and graceful. But below the surface there is a lot of management legwork going on that you just don’t see. Many companies achieve remarkable things with innovations that add tremendous value to the daily lives of customers and the companies that help them; but the emphasis is almost always on the output, whether that be product, service or business model, not on the work that delivered them.
Innovation is far too often an organizational orphan. How can you make sure it is not just fostered, but becomes adopted and part of the family?
While leadership and management are inextricably linked, they remain different. When it comes to innovation, they remain crucial to the ability of an organization to deliver growth. Good innovation management is fundamental, but without strong leadership, much of the good work done in management can be undone.