Seven Highly Effective Ways to Kill Innovation (and Seven to Make Sure You Don't)

Innovation doesn't just happen, it comes from careful tending of creative teams. Find out if you or your company is guilty of squashing good ideas and their growth.

Innovation may be the obvious business mandate, but plenty of companies are guilty of creating a culture where a good idea has as much opportunity to take root as most of us have of winning the lottery. What gives?

For starters, the creative process can be fragile and requires support and nurturing. That can be tough in today’s fear-inducing environment of rapid technological change and marketplace competition—but it also makes innovation essential. So take a journey through our list of innovation killers, and find out if your company is crushing good ideas or allowing growth and change to flourish.


5 Steps to Foster Innovation

Innovation killer #1: Believe that innovation will “just happen.”

Trusting that innovation will take care of itself is like believing a vegetable garden will just happen to appear in your yard one day. Innovation requires the investment of time and money, and it requires a process to support it, according to Thomas Koulopoulos, founder of the innovation consultancy Delphi Group. Like a garden—a fragile and time-consuming endeavor—the innovation process requires a place for seeds (or ideas) to root. It also requires weeding, protection against predators, and consistent nurturing and care.

Attention to innovation is a requirement in today’s world, says Koulopoulos. Even in industries where the margins are slim—such as manufacturing and sourcing—innovation is a must. “Here’s the irony,” he says. “Even though I might find that I cannot afford to take a big risk, that doesn’t mean that somewhere on the globe I won’t be challenged.” As an example of how vulnerable standing still makes you, he points to the American auto industry, now failing in its battle against foreign carmakers; the competitors did think it was important to innovate.

Innovation tip: Lobby for the importance of innovation, and the dollars and owners to support it.

Next: Should you think “outside the box”?

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