People in key positions drive new thinking and innovation. But without the rest of the company involved, the chances are smaller to succeed.
Harvard Business Review recently published the article “Real Innovation Requires more than an R&D Budget”. Having studied innovation for more than 25 years, Gina O’Connor believes that there is an overly narrow view out there, of what innovation entails.
It turns out that the vast majority of CEOs equals innovation with R&D (Research and Development) spending and results. O’Connor points out that R&D is only one part, and highlights Discovery, Incubation and Accelleration (DIA) as other key ingredients. Yet these teams often fail to incorporate vital information and viewpoints from the rest of the company.
From my own Master’s research on creativity and innovation, what struck me was that employees in other departments and further down in the company hierarchy often sit on essential key “building blocks” that can secure the foundation of innovation initiatives before they are developed further by the decision makers. Getting to know the full picture and details that can bring minor changes to the overall strategy can make all the difference.
My advice is to start a more open communication channel with general information, having regular, informal talks with other parts of the organization and a two-way communication where all types of input is consistently sought after.
If R&D and DIA projects do not touch base with other (often assumed less relevant) parts of the organization, the money spent will probably not reach its full potential. Your full potential is your entire company, as innovation is always a more encompassing process than what it looks like.