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The Great Innovation Lie

Like any good managing director, I regularly watch what the competition and others in our field are up to. One thing I have noticed over recent months is a tendency to turn corporate innovation into a highly complex system involving numerous processes, approaches and models.

Such systems are being promoted by consultants who, not surprisingly, charge by the hour for implementing and teaching their systems. Unfortunately, when firms decide they need to implement an innovation strategy and meet with such high priced consultants, the firms are scared by the complex systems that must be implemented. When different consultants preach different systems, it only makes matters worse.

The problem is, corporate innovation need not be horrendously complex. Indeed, highly complex systems can actually stifle creativity. And since innovation is the result of successfully implemented creative ideas, it is clear that systems that stifle creativity are not going to maximise innovation. Quite the opposite.

As I have written before, medium to large organisations already contain many internal creative thinkers: the employees; and many external creative thinkers: the customers. All that is needed is...

How all of these components come together will vary from firm to firm. What is important is that these components exist, that there is flexibility and that ideas are implemented – nothing spoils a great idea management system than not implementing ideas that are generated by the system.

Of course the above components of corporate innovation are highly simplified. Nevertheless, they provide the backbone of a corporate innovation plan and can quickly be elaborated to provide a more detailed structure. For more details on a simple, but effective organisational innovation strategy, see the Corporate Innovation Strategy Plan.

So, don't let the expensive consultants fool you. An innovation strategy is relatively easy provided you have the commitment, the desire and the budget. Moreover, the strategy should be designed to fit your firm with minimal disruption.

If you want some help, just let us know. We can get you set up with a customised, but simple innovation plan in a week or two. And we don't like to think of ourselves as highly expensive consultants – rather value-for-money facilitators who can help you develop the right strategy for your firm!


© 2005 Jeffrey Baumgartner

 

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Jeffrey Baumgartner
Bwiti bvba

Erps-Kwerps (near Leuven & Brussels) Belgium