I’ve been wracking my brain for weeks now, trying to figure out why something that should be not too difficult seems so difficult. Why is consistent innovation so difficult for some companies? In the end, most organizations are designed to sustain business models and procedures. The strength of many organizations is their operating processes, which have become well oiled and perfected over time. If a core strength or capability of most businesses is sustaining and maintaining well-defined processes, then you’d think that creating and sustaining an innovation process should be a no-brainer.
Doing something once is difficult, and doing something is haphazard. This is actually the real challenge of innovation – most firms don’t do it frequently enough or use constant enough models to make a well-honed innovation process. Those that innovate several times and then find their attention drawn elsewhere stop just short of the tipping point leading to a frequent, sustainable technology process.
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Isn’t it interesting that a lot of businesses keep well-defined processes in high esteem? They seek persistence, lack of variability and well-established workflow to cut down on costs, and complexity overhead. Yet when they consider innovation, it is rarely as a constant effort or process, but in a reaction to a complete life threatening event, and considered at best a one-time effort, not worth process definition and development. Just by declaring the introduction of a process time consuming and difficult too, the management team declares that innovation isn’t as valuable as other processes.
If development were as important as other business functions, then obviously it would have a well-defined process like all the others just, especially given the known fact that we compensate and reward people to work within the mentioned processes. If you ask me, as it pertains to doing new things, many businesses find it easy to start new initiatives but hard to reproduce them.
In contrast, some new product once, service or offering discovers its way into the machinery of existing processes, these are hard to terminate ever. So we build barriers and make it difficult to make new things and build barriers to terminating services and products which have lived well beyond their usefulness.
Note that it isn’t the case that firms have a difficult time creating consistent, sustainable processes and products. The opposite Quite. Most firms have a significant number of sustained products and processes that individuals understand, support, and enable. The interesting challenge is where innovation is concerned. If we can declare that technology can be developed and suffered like any other business process, and clearly companies can sustain other processes, then what’s the barrier to sustained innovation?
I think it has to do with strategic commitment. Obviously most organizations have of ideas and plenty of proactive and reactive opportunities plenty. They also sustain processes that are important to the operation and/or income of the business. So innovation either isn’t considered pertinent, doesn’t appear to drive revenue or improve effectiveness, or is merely lost in the short minute to second decision making of corporate and business executives.