Innovation the missed management element?
While looking at some references for a post on objectives and objective setting, I discovered an interesting entry by Drucker in his seminal work “The Practice Of Management”.
In my version (p53 1963 Mercury books ) Drucker identifies eight areas for an organisation to have strategic objectives (in this order):
- Market standing
- Physical & financial resources
- Manager performance & development
- Worker performance & attitude
- Public responsibility
Given that this was written in 1955 some 55 years ago, if I had seen this in a publication new this year I would not be surprised. The only real changes we would see today is Worker=Employee and Public Responsibility=Corporate Social Responsibility.
Interesting, so why in the last 50+ years have we in the main ignored Innovation and Public Responsibility as primary developmental areas? Sure there have been many firms that have embraced these – but many business improvement tools and strategies look to incremental change rather than innovation and innovation in terms of research and development rather then management practices.
Drucker takes this further. In his book he sets out what should be covered by these eight objective areas. What he says about innovation is especially enlightening:
“There are two kinds of innovation in every business: innovation in product or service and innovation in the various skills and activities needed to supply them. Innovation may arise out of the needs of the market and customer; necessity may be the mother of innovation. ….. management must not forget that innovation is a slow process. Many companies owe their position of leadership today to the activity of a generation that went to its reward twenty-five years or so ago. many companies that are unknown to the public will be leaders in their industry tomorrow because of their innovations today” (p59)
Drucker realised that there were two areas where organisations could innovate – product and process. If you Google “Innovation” you get over 100M results. Scroll down these results and many focus on product or technology. Nothing wrong with that but its not where 95% of your employees operate. We need to look at the factors which we can engage the majority of our work force and look to make changes and improvements across the whole of our organisation.
In the current economic climate the saying “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got” – true for interpersonal relationships and actions, but this statement does not hold true for business and market share. We now need to focus on innovation as a management behaviour and skills as well as a product development process. We need to look at the innovative capacity of our people.
What are you doing in your organisation to improve the innovative capacity of your structures, people and culture? In much the same way that Meredith Belbin identified different team working behaviours and preferred styles of working, and suggested that the best performing teams were those that contained a balance of different styles, so it is with innovation. For a team to be effective and innovative over the long term, it is important that a balanced range of behavioural approaches are present.
How innovative is your organisation?
You may like to reflect on what innovation projects and actions are you involved in at the moment? And do you have a balanced team that can contribute to the various phases required of the innovation process?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your organisation’s ability to generate or recognise good ideas (1= what ideas.. 10 = world class, others look to us) ________
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your organisation’s ability to put ideas into action and into “the way we do things here” (1=implement – what does that mean? 10=always implement quickly)? ________
Now multiply these two figures together = ________
If you score:
- 80-100 – WOW! keep up the great work
- 60-80 – Well done, you are getting there
- 40-60 – On the way, some more concerted effort is required
- 0-40 – You probable don’t react to change too quickly, this can be a strength, but watch out for your competition
To find out the actual level of innovative capacity you have in your organisation have a look at https://rapidbi.com/creatrix/ where the drivers of innovation can be used to help change the innovative capacity of individuals, teams and organisations.