20 Things Good Managers Know About Innovation

20 Things Good Managers Know About InnovationEveryone wants to innovate more, and many people don’t know where to start. Which is weird, since we actually know quite a bit about how innovation works.

Here is a list of some of things that we know are true:

1. Solutions come from empowered people. Delegate decision making as far towards the front line as you can to increase your innovation.

2. You can’t legislate innovation. It doesn’t work to just say to people “go innovate” – your business model needs to support it.

3. It’s not just about ideas. It’s the process of idea management.

4. Innovation is the best way to bridge a gap between where you are and where you want to be.

5. Getting the great idea to spread is just as important as having it and making it work.

6. If every idea you try works you’re not trying enough new ideas.

7. Make lots of little bets.

8. People are way more important than tools.

9. Innovations can be good or bad – make sure you’re creating real value.

10. You need a deep understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve.

11. Ask new questions. Make new mistakes. Learn.

12. A problem in need of a solution is worth lots more than a solution looking for a problem.

13. Anyone can innovate.

14. Connecting ideas is the fundamental creative act in innovation.

15. You need top-down commitment to create a culture of innovation.

16. If you don’t have the support of your manager, you need to innovate by stealth – how much can you get away with?

17. Efficiency is often the enemy of innovation – you need slack!

18. Failing is good – try to fail as small as possible, and make sure you learn from it.

19. Innovation needs to support strategy, but every once in a while it can create it.

20. Innovation works best when you pursue a portfolio of innovative projects.

Innovation is not a black box. If you apply some of these ideas, you can make your organisation more effective at innovating.

image credit: businessman adjusting image from bigstock

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Tim KastelleTim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management in the University of Queensland Business School. He blogs about innovation at the Innovation Leadership Network.

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