Martes, Agosto 10, 2010
How To Kill an Idea in 10 Easy Steps -Jolito Ortizo Padilla -A Recap of My Experience with "Bahyas" in Middle East,Leading Me to Write this Concept.
You would think that in today's "more or less" climate every company would try to drum up as many new ideas as possible to find better ways to serve its markets. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.
The reality is that new ideas often are shunted by a clouded lens that was shaped through toil and investment in the status quo. It's why even the most radical ideas seem so obvious when we look back and ask ourselves why we didn't think of them sooner.
After working with and studying myriad organizations, I've discovered that there is a core list of bad behaviors that stand in the way of most ideas, and I call them innovation killers.
These innovation killers almost always are disguised as protectors of the organization, or more appropriately protectors of the past. Few people try to kill innovation outright. Their intentions are always good ones-minimize risk, deliver predictability, and satisfy market and analysts' expectations. The innovation killers always have armies of well-intentioned corporate citizens behind them, ready to defend their turf and keep innovation at bay lest it disrupt the status quo.
In today's overly conservative businesses this is especially true. Far too many good ideas are viewed as too risky or too uncertain to justify investment. If you're looking for certainty, however, you've picked the wrong century! Get used to living with ambiguity and get familiar with this list of 10 innovation killers so you're prepared to run away from them at top speed. (I have run away from the "bahyas" from their nonsense talking during the meeting by keeping my ideas to myself.)
1. Believing That Innovation Will Just Happen
The belief that innovation happens automatically makes about as much sense as the belief that a garden will sprout in your backyard without any planting, weeding, or watering. Attention to innovation is a requirement in today's world. Even in industries where the margin is slim-such as manufacturing and sourcing-innovation is a must. Here's the irony; you may feel you cannot afford to take a big risk, but that doesn't mean that somewhere on the globe you won't be challenged. As an example of how vulnerable standing still makes you, you need to think of the U.S. auto industry, which is locked in battle against foreign carmakers. You need to lobby for the importance of innovation, as well as the dollars and owners to support.
2. Telling Everyone to Think Outside the Box, Holding Brainstorming Session, and Then Calling It a Day
Great ideas are the seeds of innovation itself. Ideas are not in short supply. Spend an hour in a meeting with a few bright people and you will end up with dozens of new ideas. Then what? Where do those ideas go? Who evaluates them and shepherd them through the next stages? Companies that get innovation right embrace a holistic view and create a culture that it flourishes. They build, implement, and communicate a process to support innovation so that everyone knows how it works and is able to participate. In the end, for innovation to occur you need a formalized process for ensuring that ideas are nurtured.
3. Laying the Success of Innovation Solely on the Shoulders of Technologists
Technology should support innovation, not lead it. This is because innovation is first an issue of corporate culture, concerning things such as rewards, inspiration, and motivation. In any situation, you get two activities -the invention and the innovation, or the actual process of innovating. Information technology/systems department have the task of implementing the technology that best support the innovation process.
4. Creating an Obstacle Course of Ideas
If you want to guarantee a process that kills the innovative spirit, force people to take time away from their regular jobs to defend their new ideas. I am not trying to sound like a corporate radical, but bureaucracy and Byzantine processes discourage enthusiasm and participation. Ideas need a safe place to take shape. You must protect ideas long enough to evaluate and document them. Make this process even a bit cumbersome, and people will just avoid it, allowing their ideas to languish rather than going to the mat every time they have an idea. Eventually, you'll adopt the tongue-in -check mantra of the military: "The last thing you want to do is volunteer!"
5.Viewing "Different" and "New" as Bad
I've heard legions of very smart people say, "That's just not the way we do it around here!" and that's the single most incredible aspect of my job. If anything is certain in life it is that every single idea we hold as indisputable, eventually will be disputed and trumped by another. Barring the most basic moral truths and human values. ideas are meant to be disproved and replaced with newer ideas. Yet the fear of the "new" is always present. So the next time you want to say, " That's not the way we do it here," substitute, "We prefer to let someone else do it that way and succeed in figuring out how to make it work so that they can take our customers away." "Doesn't sound comforting, does it? Today's world requires companies to become more like Gillette, which invest enormous amount of money in developing products to compete with existing ones. Gillette's reasoning is simple; if it doesn't innovate on its product, someone else will.
6. Handing Over the Good Ideas to the Legal and Accounting Departments
Ideas are fragile;they're broken or sqaushed easily. On the surface, giving the care of those ideas to legal or accounting may make sense because some of the greatest issues with protecting new ideas are legal and financial. Create support and ownership for innovation at management uppermost tiers.
7. Being Very, Very Afraid of Failure
I've found that failure -tolerant management is the third most important ingredient in creating innovative culture. Although it's possible to build an iterative process and lessen the cost of failure, the bottom line is that the market is fickle, and you can't predict what will happen.
Here's the scary truth: You will fail sometimes. Like a child learning to ride a bike, you simply cannot move ahead wihout taking a few knocks. The question is," Are you in the kind of organization that can embrace innovation in spite of that?" What doesn't work out is merely a learning experiences and , therefore, fodder for innovation cycle. Use case studies, research, and other approaches to show naysayers why learning experiences are a must in today's corporate environment.
8. Innovate Only When You Need To
It's tantalizing to innovate on demand. It appears to cost less, focus on specific issues, and provide a rallying cry when a crises looms. Beside, it is the way most innovation seems to occur. This is like trying to stay healthy by waiting for a life threatening condition to arise before paying attention to your health. A crisis is certainly a motivator, but it is also the most expensive way to innovate in terms of costs, resources, and image.
Unfortunately, we have become accustomed to crisis-driven innovation over the better part of the last 200 years as the industrial model was taking shape in many nations globally. Continuing to approach investment innovation from the standpoint of zero-based budgeting only serves to drive innovation costs up and to reinforce the lack of ongoing process that contribute to a culture and business model of continuous innovation.
9. Leaving Innovation up to the "Innovators"
Every organization has handful of people who are considered thought leaders. Sometimes they are leaders, other times well tenured individuals, and sometimes people tasked with coming up with big ideas.In all these cases, the implication is that only these big thinkers can create big ideas. It may be true that these are the brightest minds of the organization, but ideas can and should come from everyone in the organization. Focusing on just the "big" ideas or just the "big" minds is equally dangerous; it creates barriers for incremental innovation and encourages ideas to find a home elsewhere. You still might need someone help you understand the process of innovation and jump start your "innovation Zone," but it has to become your "innovation zone."
10. Encouraging Everyone to Drop Any and All Ideas Into Electronic Submission Box
This last point may surprise you. After all, isn't the whole point of innovation to encourage idea submission? Yes, but there's a very important caveat: You must evaluate every innovation effort and check it for practicality and suitability for the organization. Some of the biggest failures I've seen involve companies where ambition to solicit ideas far exceeded the capacity to evaluate them.
The reality is that when you ask someone to submit an idea you have to acknowledge it with sincere evaluation, no matter how silly the idea may appear. Organizations make two fatal mistakes in this regard. First, they put one part time person at the narrow end of a very large funnel of new ideas. This is a setup disaster; no one person can keep up with the flow, and it's too easy to shoot down ideas that don't pass some unwritten code of accessibility. Second, the ideas languish in a nondescript repository with no taxonomy to group them, combine them, and make it possible to mine them. You must treat ideas with respect. Whatever systems you put in place must have boundaries for what constitutes an idea submission. For example, what core values or hurdles must it pass? You must have a transparent process for the evaluation.
You need to involve the submitter and communicate the idea's status. I often use the analogy of dropping off a child at day care. Parents who use day care are concerned justifiably and have many questions of the provider before they will leave their chid. What is the environment? Will staff care for and nurture them? Will parents be involved, contacted, and counseled if needed? Will children benefi from the experince? All of these are some sorts of questionsto ask the brainchildren entrusted to an innovation management system.
Overcoming the 10 innovation killers can be daunting challenge for many organizations. The innovation killers are not behaviors that change overnight. They require a sustained and systematic appraoch. The best way to begin chipping away at them is to create a team specifically tasked with nurturing innovation throughout the organization by establishing an innovation zone where new ideas can take root. It's key that such a team does not own or co-opt ideas, but instead nurtures and grows them.