Innovation is a big fat generic concept in most corporations — like life on other planets or ending the war in Iraq.
Unless the individuals within an organization have a genuine sense of urgency, personal ownership, and an authentic passion for innovation, nothing much will happen.
Innovation begins within the mind of each person. Corporate initiatives that fail to awaken the human instinct to innovate are doomed, no matter how many pep talks, tote bags, or t-shirts proliferate.
For me, as an innovation consultant, it is clear that the short amount of time I have with my clients needs to be devoted to awakening the passion to innovate.
Tools, techniques, theory, data, models, bibliographies, business cases, best practices, and the fabulous muffins served on breaks are all fine, but it is the passion to innovate that is the real driver of success.
No passion, no innovation. Plain and simple.
Unfortunately, most organizations squash passion. This is why start-ups have a much easier time innovating than Fortune 500 companies. And that’s why savvy Fortune 500 companies recreate the feeling of start-uppiness whenever they can.
The best thing any consultant can do when working with an organization is to hold up a mirror and ask their clients what they see.
Are they modeling what it means to be innovative? Or are they asking other people to do what they themselves have not done?
Mitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the author of “Awake at the Wheel”, as well as the very popular Heart of Innovation blog.