Innovation Perspectives – A Place to Reside

by Paul Hobcraft

This is the seventh of several ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles we will publish this week from multiple authors to get different perspectives on “Where should innovation reside?” Here is the next perspective in the series:

by Paul Hobcraft

Comfortble ChairResiding in something we own is desired by nearly all people. Creating the same desire is what is needed with innovation. It needs to ‘reside’ in us all and we need to feel we ‘own’ or identify with part of the innovation process. It is not just what we do…it is the way we set about and do it, so innovation becomes part of our natural everyday thinking. Getting to this ideal state, for a person, a team or for any organization is hard work and needs many things to come together.

So where should innovation reside?

Innovation can only be encouraged, managed, tracked and measured if it is a core element in organizations growth aspirations. So it needs to be fully integrated into the strategic-management agenda and the executives top down need so as to create the conditions that allow a more dynamic innovating environment to emerge by setting out and providing the context. The very same people must be explicit in their steps to foster an innovation culture where trust, ideas are valued, these can be freely expressed and can help oversee risk collectively.

So who should own or manage innovation?

Clearly it starts at the top in making a serious, deep personal commitment to innovation in time and understanding, vision and passion and ensuring it has the right context in place in direction, systems, processes, support, structures and incentives and most importantly adequate investment to move it from a desire to a sustaining part of everyone’s lives within the organization. The management of innovation is complex and difficult. There are multiple roles and levels of influence that need to be brought to bear on making this happen, the larger the organization, the greater the multiplicity. To start, employees’ primary role is to generate and influence, the team or group leader level is to nurture, support, listen and provide and the organizational leadership is to communicate, decide, relate and sustain the culture of trust that is needed. This ‘state’ to allow innovation to flow needs champions at all levels to stimulate and encourage this climate that ‘promotes and allows’ us all to engage within the identification and ownership of innovation.

We all want to ‘reside’ or identify and have an ownership stake – it empowers and liberates us to be more creative, innovative and satisfied. We all want to feel that ownership that we are contributing to something that gives greater value than previously, that is innovation.

You can check out all of the ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles from the different contributing authors on “Where should innovation reside?” by clicking the link in this sentence.

Paul HobcraftPaul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities.

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