Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's Blocking Your Ideas?

I read another interesting post by IdeaChampions. This time about enabling an nurturing innovations. They compare Innovation process to a river - If you want to create a river, you will need two things: flowing water and two river banks. If you want to create a culture of innovation, you will also need two things:

new ideas and the organizational structures to keep those ideas flowing forward.

Like in their Team Reality Check, they had an online poll about What's the Problem (with your innovation process). You can use their survey to identify the challenges, bottlenecks, and weak links of your innovation process.

On a scale of 1-5, "5" meaning "it's a BIG problem," and "1" meaning "it's not a problem at all," please rate the following statements re: your company's attempts to generate, develop, and implement new ideas (both incremental and disruptive) to grow the business.:

1. We have too many ideas.1 2 3 4 5
2. We don’t have enough breakthrough ideas.1 2 3 4 5
3. We’re not asking the right questions.1 2 3 4 5
4. We tend to avoid conflict.1 2 3 4 5
5. We’re not very good at prioritizing projects.1 2 3 4 5
6. Follow through is not one of our strengths.1 2 3 4 5
7. Our brainstorm sessions are poorly facilitated.1 2 3 4 5
8. Our meetings are poorly facilitated.1 2 3 4 5
9. We lack the tools and techniques to spark creative thinking.1 2 3 4 5
10. We don’t have enough time to originate & develop ideas.1 2 3 4 5
11. We lack a company-wide innovation process.1 2 3 4 5
12. We have an innovation process, but not everyone understands how it works.1 2 3 4 5
13. Employees are unclear about our company’s vision and strategy.1 2 3 4 5
14. Senior leadership is not committed to innovation.1 2 3 4 5
15. Our decision making process is unclear and takes too long.1 2 3 4 5
16. We never seem to have enough data to make decisions.1 2 3 4 5
17. We’re not flexible or agile enough to innovate.1 2 3 4 5
18. Our middle managers feel burdened by new projects.1 2 3 4 5
19. We share neither our best practices nor the learnings from our failures.1 2 3 4 5
Other: _________________________________________________________________

This survey should help your identify the problem areas. Ideas and tools on how to solve them are elsewhere in my blog and in IdeaChampions blog.

Picture by lumaxart


Anonymous said...

Dear Samuli,

After reading some books and articles about an innovative company I have come to conclusion that we should keep it quite simple. All we need is a COMPANY CULTURE OF HIGH MORALE. It should be the bedrock for everything, including:

1. Company values should be in balance with both company's short term and increasingly with it's long term targets

-->("THE" sustainability challenge of the future; big decisions to be made, probably in a very near future. It's another story, so let's revert to it later.)

2. "Just do it" culture, which can be experienced, felt and monitored, not only by sayings/writings, but by the ACTIONS (dynamic, innovative, blaa blaa... it is so easy to only write it down)

3. Open communication culture, which is in balance with company's products/services, structures and processes (if not in balance, there is a high probability to face serious problems)

and surprise surprise
we need to integrate the above mentioned company values, actions and communication. It should help to become an innovative company.

Finally, like one friend of mine told me couple of years ago, a good way to question a "natural" innovation culture is to nominate "Innovator Director(s)". Aren't we all innovators?

Have a great end of the week!