Is Your Organization Innovation-Friendly?

The piece, "The reason your team won't take risks," is an exploration of the precarious balance between innovation and security that senior executives must maintain in order to grow their companies.

The authors found that while most senior-level managers consider innovation to be an important part of their business strategy, only a few actually walk the talk. The problem, it seems, is this: Innovation as a part of a business strategy is embraced by most. However, if innovative tactics result in failure, there is much less tolerance.

And this, the authors argue, is why your team won't take risks.

Luckily, they do offer a few suggestions for senior managers hoping to eliminate this disconnect:

  • Offer a clear and public definition of a "smart" risk. These boundaries delineate a "safe zone" for innovation, guiding all members of the team in the same direction.
  • Think about the language you use. Take a fresh look at how you are communicating. Are strong words inspiring your team to take action, or is vague business-speak leaving everyone a bit confused about next steps?
  • Consider what size risk is acceptable–another example of how transparency pays off. Many notable organizations prefer fast, lean innovation teams to stream- line decision-making so that projects move along quickly.
  • Create clear stages and expectations for funding. Stop writing blank checks, advise the authors, and instead fund your projects in phases after clear criteria have been met.

Sound advice for organizations scaling up their innovation efforts, indeed.

– Jennifer Acevedo,

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