Talking about innovation

posted by Scott McKenzie

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the narrative may shift as we make our way out of recession. Even relatively weak signs are likely to be seen as positive indicators of growth.

 

One recurring theme is that our clients are talking more and more about innovation. Some of these drivers are relatively prosaic. Driven by market or customer demand. Or maybe changes in regulation or legislation.

Others are driven by economic necessity. Having made significant cuts they are now having to find new ways to do more with less. It’s a tough ask.

My erudite colleague Grant Smith pointed me to this HBR article. I like the way it makes the link between vision and innovation. Between the value of ideas and the way they are implemented.

 

However, I’m not quite sure that “vision building” is enough (it’s a bit like being Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams – which I remind you is a fantasy film). I have seen many innovation programmes fail because not enough “meat” has been put behind it.

 

Put simply, not enough consideration has been given to the levers which drive innovation. Things like reward, systems, processes, good management, etc.

Beginning to communicate about innovation does not mean it will start happening. It needs to be adequately resourced. It needs genuine focus from leaders and managers. And it needs proper follow-through.

Otherwise it’s in danger of being just talk.

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