Creating An Environment For Innovation

Charles Darwin is long remembered for informing us, based on years of study as a naturalist and biologist, that it is not the strongest of the species that survives, but rather, the one most adaptable to change.

At least partly for this reason, business owners and global executive leaders rather predictably call for significant innovation when crafting their annual business growth plans.

Be this innovation grounded in expected technological advances, market research, organisational restructuring or hefty financial investment, the linkage between better results and doing something new or perhaps even bold has never been stronger.

There are, after all, a great many examples of people and enterprises taking small ideas and changing the world, along the way enriching themselves and their shareholders. That's the kind of result the Chief Executive Officer wants to realise, and no doubt, you and your teams as well.

And there are likewise many business tales about the cost of standing still, of watching customers and markets change around them, and ultimately, realising it's simply too late to save the company.

So if your company's greatest potential for innovation hasn't yet been realised, what's been holding it back?

That is a serious question worth asking - and worth exploring until one can gain some answers - particularly if you and your team have been tasked with ideating the next big thing for your enterprise.

For in order to innovate, one must operate in an environment where such exploration and risk is encouraged and rewarded. Further, one must find the time and resources to commit intense study and focus to just one pursuit at a time when the pressure to multitask and deliver results on multiple projects remains.

If one were to ask Darwin, today, about what to expect on the road to a true breakthrough, it may well be that setting up the dynamics and environment for innovation must indeed come before the great success. That is, there may be bureaucracy, internal politics and/or stubborn managers stuck in their old ways standing in the way of agility and change.

Darwin himself is also credited with this quote: "To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact."

The implication for today's global executive is that one must study whether the organisation has the ingredients, the environment, the culture and also the true resolve to innovate. Much like a scientist studying the natural world, one must assess whether the "pre-conditions" for life, or, in this case, for breakthrough discoveries that can revolutionise or accelerate the business are present or not.

By carefully considering the opportunities as well as the obstacles to innovation, one should be able to see the potential for great success more clearly. This improved vision could translate into a defined set of actions required to nurture experimentation.

If your mandate is to innovate, or to drive innovation, you would be well served to understand whether you have the people and the will to fight through organisational barriers. Otherwise, you might only realise that despite the rhetoric about change, your company only wants to keep spinning its old wheels.

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International

  • Share

Other Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership
Webinar - Unconscious Bias - Dr. Carlos Davidovich MD.

Dr. Carlos Davidovich MD. explores the neuroscience of biases and where they are located in our brain, the negative consequences of unconscious cognitive biases and the connection between biases and Diversity and Inclusion.

Thought Leadership
Systems-Level Thinking and Leadership for Our Times

Ponder long enough and you might recall hearing at a business conference or reading a blog post from a renowned futurist, author or social commentator some time ago that while things to come remained as always unpredictable, it was likely that the pace of change in our times would indeed accelerate. Looking around at the ways our lives and work have been altered in the past 24 months alone,

Thought Leadership
Webinar - Succession Planning: Passing the Baton - John O. Burdett

Breakthrough technology, uncertainty, the increasing speed of change and the redefinition of 'work' demand an organisation that is a fit for the 21st century (built to change). We refer to it as 'succession planning.' A better description would be 'planning for success.'

Thought Leadership
CEO Conversations: What Boards Expect

TRANSEARCH India invited a panel of CEOs and board members, to discuss the topic – 'CEO Conversations: What Boards Expect'. The panellists also debate the importance of agility, culture, succession planning and diversity as key tenets of good governance and purpose-led leadership.

Thought Leadership
Webinar - The Way of the Dolphin - John O. Burdett

More than anything, agility is a way to think, it’s a mindset, and as such, without 'leadership' you still don't have much. The type of leadership required exudes, encompasses, encourages, and expresses agility in everything the leader does. Which leads us to the 'The Way of the Dolphin'.

Thought Leadership
Replacing Fear With Fortitude

One of the reasons a weekend respite from one’s executive leadership responsibilities – or a longer holiday break away from the office – can be so productive for one’s state of mind is because it allows us the time to reflect on our work and absorb important lessons learned by others. There is no shortage of illuminating quotes, allegories and simple epiphanies circulating on the Internet,

Thought Leadership
Holding Firm In The Storm, Aligning For The Future

While so much of the world around us is changing, there will come a time when people around the world will look for signs, evidence and leaders in whom they can believe and put their trust for better things to come in the future. There is no better economic and social flashpoint to prove this point than the continuing global struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19,

Thought Leadership
Female Executives' Sustainable Leadership Values

Diversity and Inclusion are founding principles of a more sustainable business model, and even if they encompass several components, including that of gender equity, it is obvious that good intentions are not enough.