Innovation Perspectives – Environment to Spur Innovation
This is the twelfth of several ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles we will publish this week from multiple authors to get different perspectives on ‘What are three specific actions that a non-innovative company can take to become more innovative?’. Here is the next perspective in the series:
by Jose Mello
To set up an innovation culture in a company, one basic need is to create a proper environment for the innovators to grow. Innovation requires more than creativity. Innovation requires a process and people able to connect creativity with real business needs.
There are three factors that can help us to create this “innovation environment”:
- Connectivity Among People
- Knowledge Management
- Essential Problems
Connectivity Among People
The whole can be much more than the sum of the parts! When you connect people inside and outside the company, you can create a collective brain capable of creating things quicker and more powerful than a lone innovator could do. To do that, the company should encourage connectivity among the employees, suppliers, customers and, amazingly, even with competitors. There are some kinds of problems that the whole industry has and they could be solved easily if all parties worked together.
The company must have a way to put all ideas, insights and trends together on the same platform, just like a shelf of ideas that can be connected at the right moment when an opportunity shows up, creating a brand new solution. Thomas Edison once said: “To invent something, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”
Something that was seemingly useless, suddenly becomes the “eureka”!
To complete the innovation environment, we need “problems” to be solved. The pressures that business challenges present are an important factor to spur innovation! For a group to be creative, they must have a reason for being. The challenge is to find out what the companies “essential” problems are that need to be solved. It is very common to hear a “solution” as if it were a problem.
For example: our major challenge now is to create a new web site for our customers. This is not the real problem. You should be able to find out what the essential problem is behind the need to create a web site. If you find that, you will have discovered the fire!
If you connect fire, people and a “pile of junk”, certainly you will have changed the world forever!
You can check out all of the ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles from the different contributing authors on ‘What are three specific actions that a non-innovative company can take to become more innovative?’ by clicking the link in this sentence.
Jose Mello is a teacher, speaker and a specialist in innovation management at Itau Unibanco Bank, in Brazil.