7 Reasons Businesses Struggle to be Innovative

It a truism in business that if you are not developing and improving, then you are falling behind your competition.

Innovation is critical to the sustained growth and competitive edge of any business. So why do businesses struggle to be innovative?

1. Lack of time – As Michael Gerber says, ‘we are too busy working in the business rather than working on the business.’ When people get busy, they focus on delivering the product or service they are contacted to deliver. No time is available to look to the future of the business.

2. Lack of resources – Innovation takes time and money and relies upon the capacity of an organisation to allocate resources to innovative thinking. During tough economic times, cost saving and redundancies reduce these resources to a minimum, often too few for innovation to thrive.

3. Fear of failure – In Richard Branson’s book, ‘Screw it, let’s do it!’ he has a ‘can do’, risk embracing attitude. Branson recognises that even if the innovation isn’t a thriving success, the team and the business have still benefitted and improved. Risk averse organisations can miss the opportunities because failure is perceived by that organisational culture as a bad thing and a ‘career stopper’. Thomas Edison is often quoted as saying ‘A man that never failed, never achieved anything.’ Risk aversion kills innovation.

4. Unclear Leadership – Without guidance and authority from key leadership figures in the organisation, innovation will not be recognised as a priority. A figurehead or focal point for innovation helps people to understand that innovation is a company priority and gives people someone to give their ideas to.

5. Insufficient incentives – What is measured is achieved and what is rewarded is repeated. People often need an incentive to offer their ideas forward, so reward those that do. The message will soon spread and the ideas will begin to flow.

6. Insufficient talent – Talent acquisition and talent management is a key reason that the recruitment industry thrives. Talented people provide additional perspectives and alternative views. If supported, recruited talent can drive innovation and the future of the organisation.

7. Lack of Autonomy – Too much control stifles creativity and hinders innovation. Being free to think and try new things provides the innovative person with the opportunity to explore new options. Being asked to report on the potential of those opportunities too early in the exploration can make the innovator feel as though they are just time wasting or chasing a whim.

Innovation is important for the future of any organisation.

Whether that innovation iss a ‘short walk’ away from the current products or services or it creates new and diverse product lines, innovation generates future revenue streams and grows the knowledge base of the team.

Dare to Aspire


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Filed under Business, Change, Improvement, Leadership, Performance

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