Is Executive Innovation the key to success?
The world economy is changing… are we reacting fast enough?
For many executives innovation is just not happening fast enough according to recent articles and research from Boston Consulting Group’s annual study on innovation.
Many organisations know that first in order to survive and then to grow they need to innovate. In recent years the focus of innovation has been on creativity and the innovative process, but the lack of results show that this is only half the picture.
Background to executive innovation
In the 1960s and 70s Dr Richard Byrd developed some research which led to the publication of a model he originally called the C&RT or creativity and risk taking (1986). This model was adopted by the Pfeiffer publications company as a key part of a methodology they called Applied Strategic Planning. They realised that for successful strategy, risk and innovation as behaviour (rather than a process) was fundamental. In the 1990s Byrd’s daughter, Dr Jacqueline Byrd further refined and developed the C&RT and used the technology available on the web to make the Creatrix model more robust and provide the ability to delve deeper to ensure any development activity resulted in effective behaviour change.
Innovation everywhere but little progress
Many organisations have innovation departments, functions or teams and yet little progress is actually being made in terms of productivity, cost saving or market share. Certainly organisations are developing new and innovative products, but as technologies collide and merge and economies tighten, the consumer buys less. For example the markets or phones, music players, cameras and GPS systems are merging fast – where there used to be four markets increasingly there is one.
Innovation needs to be at all levels and in all elements within an organisation to be effective. In the 1990s benchmarking processes to identify the most effective way of working was everywhere, not organisations need to innovate internally to deliver best value in all that they do, not just product development. This is where entrepreneurial or executive innovation leads the way.
The fish rots from the head
Is the old saying, but innovation grows from the head. When introduces from the top as part of an organisations culture innovation can really make a difference. The key is the culture of the organisation, effective culture change starts from the CEO or COO.
Using tools like the Creatrix, executive or entrepreneurial innovation can be easily developed and nurtured, then when executives see the results they will soon want the whole organisation to behave this way too.
The Creatrix starts as a personal profile, with each individual involved in the change process undertaking a simple online inventory. The results of this single profile show the individual on the Creatrix grid, a combination of the individuals risk taking assessment and creativity assessment. In addition the individual gets an output showing the seven drivers and their respective strengths.
Collectively all the individuals involved in the team or organisation are plotted on one matrix or grid providing an overall innovation assessment.
This enables the executive team to review the current position of innovative behaviours and plan where is appropriate (there is no right or wrong profile – just more or less effective at that point in time). Then using the language of the Creatrix it is straightforward to develop a change based programme using the (now) common language to inspire and motivate appropriate change.
Dan Coughlin said
“Apply the same process you do at work by asking the following questions:
1. What does this individual or the members of this group want to achieve?
2. What is keeping them from achieving their objectives?
3. What can I provide or remove that would increase their chances of success?
4. How can I combine my answers to question three in a way that will add the most value to them?
5. Stop writing and move into action!
Mother Theresa was a classic example of this behaviour. She identified opportunities to add value and moved into action. We can do the same over and over again.“
Identifying opportunities and taking action are the two critical elements, simple, and yet many organisations still have barriers in place. Some of these barriers are obvious, many are invisible and should not exist… but they do
For innovation to be commonplace in our organisations we must stop looking at innovation as a process and start to look at it as a culture or set of behaviours.
Product innovation is one thing – executive innovation is quite another.