Innovation Requires Outside Challenges to Seed It

3개월 전

A common myth is that innovation occurs on its own. However, outside challenges are necessary to help seed it. To spur innovation, companies need external challenges to motivate them to try new things. Here are six of them:

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A culture of authentic trust is essential to foster innovation. An organization's culture must foster an environment where people feel comfortable challenging conventions, assumptions, and rules. For example, most organizations are structured with a hierarchy. This structure helps to maintain a standard way of doing things. It also creates a ripe environment for lateral and horizontal ideas. When innovation occurs within a company, the leaders must be willing to take on challenges and create an environment in which people can freely explore new ideas.

In addition to external challenges, companies should set a clear definition of innovation. They must have a process for aligning strategy, project governance, and people's incentives. Putting innovation on the agenda is a positive step. Companies should define and prioritize different types of innovation. Once they have a clear definition, they can create a strategy that drives innovation and seed it. But beware: the term "invention" is often misleading.

Companies that make grand statements about their commitment to innovation fail to put any resources into developing prototypes. Creating a staff idea scheme is a good start. Ideally, companies will implement 5 ideas per employee every year. But many companies confuse creativity with innovation. Despite its name, innovation is the process of implementing an original idea that generates value. In the end, both are important. Innovation requires outside challenges to seed it.


To seed innovation, companies must listen to customers and change their culture to foster curiosity. They must also respond positively to ideas. Companies should be clear about the fact that they want people's ideas, and give enough strategic context to foster the innovation process. They should also respond to ideas with gratitude, information, and an invitation to contribute further. And when an innovation is created, they must prove that it is valuable. If this is the case, it will be successful.

The diffusion curve illustrates the social process of innovation and the importance of the early adopters. Inventions can go over the diffusion chasm if their perceived advantages outweigh the perceived disadvantages. They can also get adopted by the majority if they are marketed well. Eventually, the novelty wears off and the practical benefits can be felt by laggards. With this mindset, it's important to keep a critical eye on the diffusion process, as a late adopter can negatively affect an innovative product.

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