When most think about innovation, they think about the final product. We think about pieces of technology and gadgets without realizing that we are completely failing to understand what innovation truly is. Innovation is about the process. In other words, it is about the “how” and not about the “what.”
Innovation is necessary when it comes to thriving and surviving in business, but not every organization is ready to really do what it takes to innovate. Below are four common hurdles that organizations must tackle before they are truly ready to begin their journey of innovation.
Organizations that have difficulty tapping into the insight of their employees are often hitting one or more of the following three ideation barriers (and here’s how to fix them):
- Inaccessibility: Employees are unclear on how they can share their ideas with leadership.
- Uncertain Goals: Employees are unsure what they are trying to help solve or achieve.
- Unresponsive Administrators: Without feedback, employees are unsure if their idea is being valued or even received.
2. Risk Averse Behaviour
No one wants to fail, and that is especially true when in front of a crowd. Many employees feel as if their professional reputation and chances for future promotions may be at risk if they attempt to pursue an idea that may not deliver the results desired or, even worse, end up being a waste of company resources. It is also one of the biggest reasons why innovation programs fail. Read more about it here.
3. Lack of Leadership Support
A recent study conducted with Tony Schwartz and the Harvard Business Review revealed that half of the twenty thousand employees surveyed from around the world felt as if their bosses did not respect them. Those that did feel respected, however, experienced 89 percent greater enjoyment and satisfaction in their work, had 92 percent greater focus, and were 55 percent most engaged.
Without proper support, respect, and transparency, employees do not feel driven to help the organization succeed. In turn, they often will not take part in helping build the foundation necessary to create successful processes for innovation.
4. Your Essential Engagement Needs Aren’t Met
Much like Abraham Maslow’s original Hierarchy of Needs, a similar employee engagement hierarchy has been developed to help organizations visualize what engagement (or lack thereof) looks like. This hierarchy stresses a few key points:
- The most basic “survival” needs (i.e. pay and job security), while not enough to keep employees engaged, must be met in order for an employee to progress to higher levels of engagement.
- A culture of “community” and feeling valued drives higher levels of engagement.
- An organization of highly engaged individuals who will freely share their knowledge and expertise has a cyclical effect and drives less engaged individuals upwards through the hierarchy.
Knowing the barriers should not intimidate organizations, but rather, inspire them to prepare well in advance for what they can expect when attempting to initiate an innovation program.
Creating strategies and solutions now to tackle these all too common problems that you will likely face in the future is the first step to your organization enjoying a successful innovation program.
Am I missing anything? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet @SoapBoxHQ.
image credit: Bigstockphoto.com
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Jacqueline Zhou is the innovation expert at SoapBox Innovations, a SaaS innovation management company. An avid believer in tapping into the collective genius of communities, she shares her innovation insights on the SoapBox Innovations blog and @SoapBoxHQ