You've been working at a small start-up for a while now when a large, deep-pocketed corporation comes knocking, asking you to join its innovation team. Should you take the job? Will this be the chance to exercise your entrepreneurial imagination in a more secure environment with ample assets? Or will you end up drowning in bureaucracy, pining for the white-knuckled start-up pace you're used to?
We have similar concerns whenever we consider accepting an innovation engagement.
Is there a corporate leader who doesn't extol the virtues of innovation these days? Yet if innovation is so important, why do so many companies have so much trouble with it?
The reflexive response is that it is a human capital problem — that is, that most people just don't have what it takes to successfully innovate. I reject that view. Academic research in fact shows that almost anyone can become a competent innovator (with sufficient practice). I've seen countless examples of ordinary individuals displaying the creativity, ingenuity, and perseverance of the world's great innovators.
Those people can only be effective in the right context, but, ironically, many of the things leaders do to encourage innovation actually kill it. Look carefully at your company and you might spot one of four types of unintentional innovation assassins.
Collecting ideas, and brainstorming is part of exercising innovation- possibly the most important part, because an idea is the grounding that great innovation can be built upon. However, weeding through an abundance of creative ideas to land on a good idea can at times be a struggle. What makes a good idea? How do you determine what ideas your company should invest in.
Harvest business review contributor and instructor Scott Anthony offers up some useful tips in evaluating the value of a new concept- suggesting a three stage plan to help you better assess your ideas worth.
What was once new is now old. Innovation is a process in motion. Times are always changing and so are the markets. Great innovators know how to keep in line with the constant changes in consumer needs. Having a flexible business plan is actually the grounding for a innovative company. Leaving some breathing room in your brand’s design will not only allow you to maintain a solid business model, but also grant youa competitive edge. In an article for Harvard Business Review scholar Scott Anthony expands on his theories on innovative business operation and creating your own progressive business structure.