Edward de Bono of www.thinkingmanagers.com implores business to create a climate in which there is a willingness to try new things and explore new possibilities.
What is the definition of innovation?
A great deal of lip service is paid to innovation because it is always easier to talk about it than actually do anything about it.
My personal definition of innovation is: ‘the putting into effect of something new for that organisation’. There might be many sources for what is new:
1) It could be something borrowed or copied from another organisation.
2) There could be a logical reaction to information and research data.
3) There could be a logical design that puts forwards something new.
4) There could be innovations produced directly by the exercise of creativity.
Innovation always requires a willingness to do something new, and anything new is risky, a distraction from the normal routine and requires commitment of some resources.
Because of this, a lot of organisations are reluctant to try new things. Executives are promoted to senior positions through being good at continuity and problem-solving; the readiness to try new things is not often a factor in a promotion.
There is also the fear of failure, as something new that doesn’t work out is thought of as a mistake. There is no single term for ‘a fully justified venture which, for reasons beyond your control, did not work’.
A lot of organisations work on the basis of osmosis, where if a new idea has been around for a long time and has been taken up by others then it becomes natural and low risk to adopt it. This is hardly a proactive approach. It is following as opposed to leading; not wanting to be left behind but not wanting to take the risks.If a climate is created where there is a willingness to try new things and explore new possibilities then innovation can happen. Sadly, this is not usually the case, even when lip service is paid to innovation.
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