How Companies Undermine Innovation

October 23, 2013 By IdeaConnection

BrainstormingBusinesses of all sizes are immersed in an environment where a great deal of emphasis is placed on innovation, and the pressure to come up with newer, better products in ever faster time frames is immense. Some get it right, many of them don’t. And all make mistakes from time to time.

A guest post over on the Harvard Business Review’s blog network has listed 11 ways that companies undermine innovation.

The article was written by Scott Kirsner, the editor of Innovation Leader. To come up with his list, Scott interviewed innovation-oriented executives from such corporate behemoths as Whirlpool and General Mills. He also talked to entrepreneurs who have been acquired into big companies.

His opening gambit was to ask: “How do companies shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to innovation?”

Getting in the Way of Innovation

The article draws attention to the 11 replies he heard the most often. Among them are:

  • There is no definition or metric of success.
  • There is no momentum around ideas that are seen as potentially competing against existing products.
  • Innovation happens in discrete areas such as cubicles and around conference tables. There are no large, comfortable places that could foster creativity, yet these are important for innovation to happen.
  • All the good ideas are expected to come from within a company’s four walls. Those from outside are consistently undercut.
  • Company culture doesn’t tolerate or learn from failure. Employees who are linked to failed initiatives see their career prospects go south.

To read the full article, click here.

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Reader Comments

The famous book Peopleware has described various ways management can destroy teams:

These extend the list above. The authors of Peopleware attempted to discover how to build great teams, but decided that ways to destroy teams needed presenting. Peopleware never really found the secret ingredient for building great teams.
Creating a great team requires thoughtful effort while destruction only requires management without thought.
Posted by Cecil McGregor on September 5, 2016

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