Sources and Process of Innovation
THOUGHTS ON INNOVATION – AS A CRITICAL PILLAR OF
If a company had only one competency ,it must be innovation. From a strategic perspective,
the speed of innovation, the effectiveness of innovation and the ability to innovate are,
perhaps, the only truly proprietary competitive weapons that an organization has.
THE SIX KEY ISSUES SURROUNDING INNOVATION
1. What is innovation?
2. What are the sources of innovation, and what are the relationships and interactions
among innovation, creativity and knowledge?
3. What makes innovation critical to strategic renewal of any organization?
4. What cultural traits and behaviours common to the high-performance companies set
them apart from those that lack the ability to innovate?
5. What leadership practices and management techniques are necessary to best position
companies for innovation and continuously encourage and nurture creativity?
6. What human characteristics are needed for creativity and innovation?
SOURCES OF INNOVATION
There are three sources of innovation:
External or internal
Incremental or discontinuous
Can occur in a number of forms and often comes from outside the company/industry
(e.g. Post-It, Glide dental floss, Microsoft, Apple Computer)
Indigenous to an organization
Results from a planned and formally managed process with anticipated
& monitored outcomes
Entail complex organizational interactions and alignments of among a number of
Occurs at a group or inter-organizational level with a clear goal to engage in
Supported by common interest and/or the need to share resources, risk, talent,
Can lead to both incremental and discontinuous results.
Many factors influence an organization’s ability to innovate. There are three common
Cultural & Organizational Learning Impediments
CULTURE Strong commitment
to past practices
Lack of institutional
Lack of proper
High learning and
TECHNOLOGY Lack of appropriate
unproven or too
difficult to use.
Technology can be
too threatening to the
High ergonomics for
MEASUREMENTS Inappropriate or non
Too much reliance of
Use multi factor
Emphasize long term
DYNAMICS OF INNOVATION
Although no single method or model can describe innovation and the particular innovative
processes, the general concept of innovation can be captured and studied based on a life-
cycle approach. This approach helps to understand the basic behavior and the large complex
Three phases best describe the classic innovation lifecycle:
I. Fluid Phase
II. Transitional Phase
III. Specific Phase
1. Innovation has been institutionalized as a way of life.
2. Leaderships foster innovation and build creative environments.
3. Hire, nurture and covet innovative people.
4. Recognize and reward creativity.
5. Are not tied to preconceived outcomes, nor attached to a
predetermined answer – they let answers and outcomes evolve.
Three Essential Conditions for High-Performance Innovation Strategy:
1. More emphasis on probing and learning as opposed to analysis.
2. Successive approximation – each time striving to come closer to a
Winning combination of product and market.
3. Strategically central to the needs and goals of the organization.
LEADING INNOVATION, CONTINUED
LEADING INNOVATION:HUMAN PERFORMANCE
Innovative People Typically Share The Following Personal Qualities:
Intrinsic motivation & conviction and passion for innovating
Personal dominance and forcefulness of opinion & detached attitude in interpersonal
Expertise in the field
Adept at change, risk-takers & high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty
High propensity for perseverance under uncertainty
LEADING INNOVATION:HUMAN PERFORMANCE
Drive to create more than improve
Fresh perspectives on old problems
Cope with several new ideas simultaneously
Not methodical and systematic
Not imposing strict order on matters within their control
Dislike the protection of precise instructions
Seek to bend or break the rules
Risk doing things differently
Can stand out in disagreement against a group
Act without proper authority
Three major factors are critical in creating an environment
conducive to innovation:
1. Open,active and direct communications
2. Reward and recognition systems
3. Fair performance evaluation
Other determining factors include:
Value placed on innovation by the organization
Sense of pride with respect to performance and accomplishments
Emphasis on self- determinism and self- directedness
Importance and complexity of work
Adaptive style work
incrementallyon problems using
established rules abd framework
Innovative styles are likely to
ignore established framework,
redefine and reframe the problem
and develop their own methods for
creativity and problem solving.
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