Innovation. It is the buzzword of the past few years, possibly the decade. Everybody takes it seriously, everybody claims to know how to do it, yet only few companies around us can truly be characterized as an innovative company. Why is that?
Jorge Barba, Chief Strategist at Blu Maya, in Create Your Own Definition of Innovation, thinks that most companies do not have an internal consensus on what innovation means. Nor is there a useful textbook definition that can universally be applied to any business. It is the responsibility of the leadership to come up with a collective definition of what innovation means to the organization in general and each employee in particular. (Sounds familiar? Maybe you have read Strategy Is… Hmm…)
“It is very simple, if your company says that innovation is a strategic priority, but there are no “innovation breeding habits” on display, you will not innovate. Like many, you are just paying lip service to the word.
It is like strategy, if no one understands what the company’s strategy is, then all is lost.
For example, a company I visited recently told me that they would innovate by updating its website (my follow up question was “how exactly?” and no concrete answer was given). Tsk, tsk, tsk…If your company thinks that “updating its website” is innovative, good luck trying to do anything disruptive.
What this means, is that if your company’s employees hear that “we will continually delight our customers by updating our website”, they will be completely uninspired and confused because that statement can mean many things to different people.”