Why innovation matters
The essence of this model involves rethinking the ingrained style of an organisation’s practices, its mechanisms for creating value and how value is produced. It also involves creating new styles that can be adopted when the time is right – not simply evaluating options and avoiding the worst of these.
Importantly, all of the options are carefully tested before being applied, usually in low-cost experiments and while proven models are still in place. Organisations that do this well are often referred to as design-thinking or ambidextrous. They essentially balance the resource allocation and organisational focus on both exploring new models and reliably executing current working models.
With all of this in mind, here are three key lessons that truly innovative businesses have already learned.
Listen to your stakeholders
Companies should embrace any opportunity to listen to their customers, staff and others connected to making the organisation work.
Listening to others can help reframe challenges and create new ways of looking at old problems, leading to new choices. This can be one of the most fundamentally powerful techniques any executive can learn.
Research confirms that consultation is a key factor in successful innovation. Or, to put it another way, impatience is often the biggest obstacle to innovation: too many people want to rush towards solutions instead of taking the time to properly examine and understand the situation.
Genuinely thinking about a system – a university or a business – allows those involved to make sense of the mess and bring its inter-connectedness to the fore by engaging the stakeholders. This typically leads to more authentic participation and creative action.