The annual cycle of introspection and planning is upon us. But only 8% of us will actually achieve our New Year resolutions and the organizations we work for will not fare much better. Common reasons for failure include unrealistic goals, not tracking progress and simply neglecting the commitment altogether. Innovation is top of mind for most organizations and executives. But what do best in class organizations do to achieve their innovation resolutions?
Be creative by saying yes to experiments
As humans we are all creatures of habit but the first key to achieving your innovation resolutions is to approach your challenge with a different mindset and change things up. Break up the monotony by creating the excitement and energy to bring about new ideas. A good example is innovative organizations who are investing in their intrapreneurship programs and running new activities such as a Shark Tank Challenge. The objective is to use a collaborative internal business competition that helps your organization solve high value business challenges in a team setting.
Start by taking small immediate actions
Many organizations immediately gravitate towards making a big statement when it comes to innovation. They want to get everyone on board, plan a major announcement and crowdsource entire communities. The simplest actions done effectively are many times much more impactful than trying to scope in everything under the sun in hopes you are not forgetting or ignoring something. Those who achieve their resolution zero in on a smaller and more focused area that makes it far easier to get off the ground and much simpler for the team to analyze and action the results.
Put your blinkers on to focus on outcomes
There’s an expression in the animal kingdom: “Eyes on the front born to hunt, eyes on the side born to hide.” This refers to how you differentiate prey from predators. For example, lions have eyes in the front of their heads and are hunters, while horses have eyes on the side of their heads and tend to be prey. Reference: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242985
The best in class not only start with the end in mind but they avoid any distractions that takes their attention away. They also don’t get worked up trying to measure everything. The achievers put in place the right system to track the fewest metrics as required to attain their planned outcome.
Take chances – failure is an option
Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his idea, to take a calculated risk, and to act. – Maxwell Maltz
Failure as a badge of honor is more easily said than done. But this is exactly what those who realize their goals practice. Incremental small gains and significant advancements are pursued through multiple iterative experiments. Learning fast and often is of utmost importance to ensure failures are as productive and cost effective as possible.
The ant and grasshopper fable teaches us a great lesson on improvidence. Many companies wait to innovate only when in crisis. Achieving measurable progress and success in this age of hyper innovation cannot be treated as a singular binary event. You need a well thought out program with planned activities that are organized on an ongoing basis. To achieve this you need an innovation management system that streamlines and automates all the steps and intricacies that typically slow down and overwhelm innovation management teams from executing their plan. This kind of continuous planning, action and drive is what businesses now need to remain competitive.
Does your company’s innovation management actions resemble that of the ant or the grasshopper?
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Ludwig Melik is the CEO of Planbox, producer of Agile Work Innovation Software. Our mission is to help organizations thrive by transforming the culture of agile work, continuous innovation, and creativity across the entire organization. Follow on Twitter @planbox