Three Actions for a Non-Innovative Company

Three Actions for a Non-Innovative Company‘What are three specific actions that a non-innovative company can take to become more innovative?’

Sometimes I think that people out there talking about innovation try and make crafting a good innovation process sound harder than it is and the work of making innovation happen sound easier than it really is. Whether this is self-serving behavior to try and drive people to buy their books or consulting services, I’m not sure, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s not.

Instead let’s see if we can simplify some of what we know into three specific actions that a non-innovative company can take to become more innovative:

1. Make a Commitment

Many organizations say they want to be more innovative, but few are willing to make the commitment. Leaders may talk about it once or twice, and then expect others in the organization to commit themselves to innovation. Talking about innovation is much easier than committing to the changes and risks required for successful innovation. Organizations that succeed at becoming more innovative commit the financial resources to discrete innovation projects, they commit to the human resources flexibility necessary to staff them, and they commit the communications resources necessary to ensure that everyone knows the innovation journey the organization is committed to.

2. Collect and Connect

Innovation is ultimately all about data. Organizations seeking to improve their ability to innovate, must get better at collecting and connecting the dots. This means improving their ability to transform data about the organization’s customers into information, information into knowledge, and knowledge into insight. The ability to transform data all the way through to insight is key because new and novel insights drive an organization’s ability to identify those ideas with the potential to deliver more value to their target market than any other existing alternative. Improving this transformation capability is not just about data though, but about people, and if your organization really wants to become more innovative it has get better at connecting people at the same time (both online and in the real world). Creating connections between people and data is a powerful input to innovation.

3. Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail:

Most organizations do a great job of planning how to succeed, but many organizations don’t make a plan for how to fail. People like to talk about failing fast, failing cheap, and failing smart. The first two are self-explanatory, but what does that failing smart look like?

In part this means taking educated risks, but even doing that you are still going to have failures, and so you must ask yourself:

  • What did we learn?
  • What can we use later?
  • What do we do now?

Doing these three things won’t guarantee that you will come up with a whole collection of new innovations, but it will help make your organization more innovative. There is a difference, and if you’re not clear on what it is, then let me direct your attention back to the first paragraph. 😉

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker, embeds innovation across the organization with innovation training, and builds B2B pull marketing strategies that drive increased revenue, visibility and inbound sales leads. He is currently advising an early-stage fashion startup making jewelry for your hair and is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. He tweets from @innovate.

Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies use Human-Centered Change™ to beat the 70% change failure rate. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.




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No Comments

  1. Pankaj Vora on July 13, 2012 at 1:57 am

    I feel issue is not anyones personal fault but how our mind is wired or pattered. This can be divided in to two things

    First one is our mind is wired for doing/repeating what has worked in past in our context or perception. These bias is hidden and we have no idea about its presence and our feeling is that we are looking at things clearly. Known devil is any day better.

    Second is going above and beyond our existing what has worked is considered as totally useless and outright risky as it is fear of unknown. Unknown devil is to be avoided all the time.

    It is swinging between this two extremes which is now common as real world has become competitive so what is known does not give you growth and what is uncertain you do not want to venture into.

    So most of the time it is random or trial and error and swinging is where most of the time, efforts and resources are put in to of fire fighting or belt tightening.

    What is your opinion? Let me have feedback.

  2. Braden Kelley on July 13, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I’m not sure I fully understand your point other than the known vs. unknown internal struggle. But to manage that, if that is your point, companies must of course become more adaptable to deal with the change occurring around them and flexible in order to move their resources to where they are needed.

    This includes striking a balance between optimizing the known (the status quo) and investing in the unknown that may disrupt the status quo and replace it (innovation).

    Not striking that balance and being comfortable with it, leads to eventual obsolescence.


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