5 Traits of Innovation
from Managing Americans.com 4/14 Enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Ideas can originate from anywhere in the organization, but they will never be realized unless they can be considered. Leaders must encourage creativity to race to the core in order to innovate and push ideas to reality. Innovative organizations get the idea to the Leadership, so accept it or reject it – as soon as possible. A rejection may cause a shift of thinking in another direction – that may provide the answer.
2. Inequality of Ideas.
Not all ideas are good. Innovative leaders must be willing to encourage a quantity of ideas, then picked best quality ones – with the highest payoff. Remember, the market picked Facebook, not MySpace. We should be very realistic or the market will make a decision for us – that we may not like.
3. Empowerment to Act.
Don’t try to “empower” creativity; you’ll fail. Build an innovative organization and watch what happens. Provide the tools necessary to allow creativity through innovative design & structure. This may cost extra money, but it’ll be worth it. Look at the top tier companies for innovation, IBM, General Electric, & DuPont. They do not suffer a shortage of overhead dollars to fund their research & development efforts but the results of their innovative efforts continue to change how we live.
4. Be Impatient.
Drive innovation and expect results. Use a combination of force & persuasion. I would not suggest using the words attributed to General MacArthur to General Eichelberger upon his assumption of command in New Guinea in World War II, ”take Buna or do not come back alive” but you get the point. Impatience can be a virtue. By the way, Eichelberger took Buna.
5. Function before Form – – – always.
Focus on the functions, not the form, & publish them. Functional alignment is a compass. When people hit a snag, they refer back to the functions and adjust accordingly. Stay on course. We may think we’re looking for a creative genius like Steve Jobs and a tech innovator like Steve Wozniak to build the next big thing. Why shouldn’t we? They’re out there right now. Creativity exists in all corners & levels of your organization. However, creativity will never be realized until Innovators bring it into the light of day and subject it to scrutiny. That’s the job of Leaders. Build & demand an environment of “risk taking” where ideas “on the edge” are accelerated, welcomed, & embraced by the Leadership. Bad ideas are discarded without casualties, lessons are learned & everyday should begin with an expectation of discovering new ideas. Leaders will always be looking for, the next big thing and assume that more can be done to realize it…whatever “it” is. Through organizational leadership that expects its people to take risk, courage will not be lacking. Just be bold, then behold, it’ll be there.
Written by General James “Spider” Marks US Army (retired).
Comments: What do you think? Any other ideas of how to encourage Innovation?