Jeffrey Phillips, in his book Relentless Innovation defines this problem with following:
“In a world where so many factors are in flux, middle managers count on business as usual as a reliable, trustworthy way to get work done efficiently and effectively and they are therefore avid defenders of the model, often rejecting innovation.”
In the process of establishing Innovation Culture or during Innovation Campaigns there are many question which can come from middle managers such as:
- “We run our daily business and don’t have time for new ideas.”
- “How can you convince me that this idea will get us ahead of competitors?”
- “The risk of failing is too high and we cannot avoid ourselves to lose time.”
- “We need only improvements of our good-selling product.”
- “I can’t see how new idea can influence our daily work as we work upon customer wishes.”
- Even worse is when there is simply no answer.
Innovation must be promoted from the top levels. There should be clear Innovation Strategy and it must be pointed out that without new products/ideas there will be no (bright) future. Success stories are the best weapon, as this is the way to bring the arguments. There is no better way to show the importance of innovation, then showing realized examples inside the company or the ones done by competitors.
Middle managers could be in the center of Innovation activities, like decision makers in Innovation Process or presenters on the Ideation Workshops or even starters of Innovation Campaigns. Once they are on the “side of Innovation”, company is on the way to have realized innovations-products and to start a powerful innovation machine out of already established innovation process.
image credit: Tomislav Buljubasic; convercent.com
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Tomislav Buljubasic is an Innovation Manager and writer from Croatia, focusing on creativity, innovation culture and process. Author of Unleash Your Creativity App. He can be followed on twitter @buljubasict