Why Innovate

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Innovation as a new idea, device or method; the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods. And where can this Innovation happen ? The obvious answer is the Research and Development Department of any organization. Is it why every organization has this department?Is Innovation centered to one department ? I do not agree.

Innovation must persist in every part of the organization’s value chain. Anything that can help an organization prosper is an innovation. Ideas can sprout anywhere and everywhere. However, one needs to spread its idea. One needs to think through the idea thoroughly, it should be logical, reasonable, and provable. The ideas have to be nurtured and for this to happen, they need to be shared with the senior Colleagues / management. Senior management would put control triggers to check viability of the idea

  • Can the company  monetise out of this idea ?
  • Will it lead to any growth, cost savings etc
  • Does it fall in the organization’s business model/ strategy ? Can this be a new line of business ?

One other big question is why should we innovate? The answer is simple if we look around, companies like Tesla, Google, Apple etc… They are all coming up with new ideas, patenting them, implementing them and look at their market share. It’s huge. Innovation helps you stand out. Your innovation is your brand. It is a creation of new value in anticipation of future demand. This exercise helps solve a real problem while optimizing costs & improving on process.

Innovation needs time to develop. When I look around we are all so busy chasing our targets that we do not have time to think about future. No one ever feels like they have time to spare. Here is when the organization can take some initiatives and create a culture about innovation. They can reward employees with the time to think while providing then with the structure they need.

It is even noticed that many times coming up with ideas is not an issue, its changing them into something real. So for this you need to track the progress/ the impact that the idea is creating. For example, Facebook measured how often its users returned to the site and everything they did was to increase this count. This resulted in a large number of ideas and hence innovations.

A major hurdle while creating a culture of innovation is when the organization gives too much focus on the current performance and not enough towards building the future performance. Or, there could be scenarios of inconsistencies within the organization which hamper innovation. For example, the senior management may rate themselves high in terms of their desire to explore new opportunities yet they may not provide their team members with the time, space or money to pursue those opportunities. It should be remembered that an organization which keeps their eyes & ears open to innovation, they flourish in medium to long term and remain contemporary & agile in the business eco-system they operate in.

Innovation is a journey and should evolve with people who work with a common goal of lifting the company to higher platforms. It can be very small to a big impact one. It is not good enough to just ask the employees for innovation. If one truly desires innovation, one has to assess its organization’s strengths and weaknesses and invest in a plan of measurable actions.

Invest in Innovation Leadership!!

By Vandana S Chawla
Principal Consultant – IndiHire

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