Innovation: Key Ingredient of Organizational Life

The dramatic rate of societal change today means your organization must make innovation a daily way of life. Organizations that don’t keep pace disappear. 

Innovation results from shifting organizational assumptions. Previous practices are discontinued and new pathways lead to greater ability to meet society’s emerging needs.

Be clear about the direction of innovation.

Use clear mission, visions and values to describe the public value your organization exists to deliver. Ensure every innovation targets greater value, follows an effective success plan, and measures every critical success factor.

Understand changes to drive innovation.

Observe and interpret trends and changes in demographics, social attitudes, technology, economics, politics and your marketplace. Describe where people will be in five (or more) years. Identify opportunities. The services people want and need unfold, and how they want them to be delivered changes. Reveal threats. Needs and wants that you current fill may fade, and your competitors will find new ways to fill needs.

Challenge underlying assumptions and rebuild.

Discover why current practices and products were first put in place. Critique them in terms of how well they deliver what is wanted today. How efficient do they do it? Deconstruct those practices that are falling short. Rebuild your organization’s methods to enhance public value with simpler procedures.

Involve everyone.

Clearly align roles to your mission, values and vision. Empower people to discover repetitive problems, extract underlying causes, and proactively find and pursue new opportunities to innovate.

Innovate with cross functional teams.

Assemble leaders of all key functions in teams charged to find and create innovations. They should create success plans targeted to each innovation that names a champion who assembles a team, presents regular reports, and seeks help as soon as required.

Lead inspirationally.

Share how the organization’s mission and vision makes everyone better off. Discuss the overall changes to be created and the specific benefits for every individual. Explain why innovations are necessary to address the opportunities or threats in the future. Meet with teams periodically and share your excitement for what is happening.

Communicate all successes and shortfalls.

Publically celebrate successes, giving credit to the creators, and clearly expressing your appreciation. Accept that, in innovation, failure can occur. Share yours immediately and provide coaching to others who experience failures. Find elements of success in every shortfall.

With innovation as a key ingredient in delivering a legacy of public value, your organization gains and maintains its leadership role ensuring that every stakeholder wins.

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April 1, 2015

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