In a recent post we shared some thoughts on the relationship between quality and innovation.
Everyone wants to be innovative — the best returns and greater profits come to those who who can create a management system or culture that constantly is clicking on all cylinders, or those who can be the first to introduce “new or improved” products to the market.
Innovations such as these create powerful competitive advantages.
But how often do they happen?
Innovation is challenging for both large and small organizations. In our experience and research, we find that innovation is truly enigmatic:
Large organizations have more wherewithal to invest in systematic innovation, but smaller organizations seem more capable of capitalizing on innovative ideas. Why?
Most innovations come not from visionaries at the top but from people closest to the work. Yet paradoxically, strong leadership and vision at the top of the organization are required to create an environment that fosters innovation and risk taking. Without strong leadership, organizations become bureaucratic and risk-averse.
Outsiders often have the most innovative ideas, but insiders’ know-how and buy-in are required to get them implemented.
Our next few posts will discuss some of the barriers to innovation and some ways to overcome these barriers.
Challenges and best practices associated with continuous improvement