Innovation Perspectives – Environment to Spur Innovation

by Jose Mello

This is the twelfth of several ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles we will publish this week from multiple authors to get different perspectives on ‘What are three specific actions that a non-innovative company can take to become more innovative?’. Here is the next perspective in the series:

by Jose Mello

Innovation Perspectives - Environment to Spur InnovationTo set up an innovation culture in a company, one basic need is to create a proper environment for the innovators to grow. Innovation requires more than creativity. Innovation requires a process and people able to connect creativity with real business needs.

There are three factors that can help us to create this “innovation environment”:

  1. Connectivity Among People
  2. Knowledge Management
  3. Essential Problems

Connectivity Among People

The whole can be much more than the sum of the parts! When you connect people inside and outside the company, you can create a collective brain capable of creating things quicker and more powerful than a lone innovator could do. To do that, the company should encourage connectivity among the employees, suppliers, customers and, amazingly, even with competitors. There are some kinds of problems that the whole industry has and they could be solved easily if all parties worked together.

Knowledge Management

The company must have a way to put all ideas, insights and trends together on the same platform, just like a shelf of ideas that can be connected at the right moment when an opportunity shows up, creating a brand new solution. Thomas Edison once said: “To invent something, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

Something that was seemingly useless, suddenly becomes the “eureka”!

Essential Problems

To complete the innovation environment, we need “problems” to be solved. The pressures that business challenges present are an important factor to spur innovation! For a group to be creative, they must have a reason for being. The challenge is to find out what the companies “essential” problems are that need to be solved. It is very common to hear a “solution” as if it were a problem.

For example: our major challenge now is to create a new web site for our customers. This is not the real problem. You should be able to find out what the essential problem is behind the need to create a web site. If you find that, you will have discovered the fire!

If you connect fire, people and a “pile of junk”, certainly you will have changed the world forever!

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You can check out all of the ‘Innovation Perspectives‘ articles from the different contributing authors on ‘What are three specific actions that a non-innovative company can take to become more innovative?’ by clicking the link in this sentence.


Jose MelloJose Mello is a teacher, speaker and a specialist in innovation management at Itau Unibanco Bank, in Brazil.

No comments

  1. Hi Jose, a very informative article – thanks! My interest in the subject of creativity and innovation was sparked by a recent article that I came across online, titled ‘The Role of Psychological Distance in Creativity and Innovation.’ Suggest you Google it and have a quick read. (The link is http://thelaughingbuddha.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/the-role-of-psychological-distance-in-creativity-and-innovation/)

  2. Hi Gascoigne,

    Thank you very much for your comment. I´ll take a look at the article you´ve mentioned. If you wish, join us at our innovation network on NING where we share toughts on creativity and innovation.

    There is content in Portuguese and English.

    http://alvainnovation.ning.com

    Best wishes.

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