Many companies fail to identify and develop innovations that could significantly improve the bottom line. I have identified many “road blocks” to innovation – here are several of the most common issues that hold back business innovation.
Lack of Knowledge – Many business leaders lack an understanding of how innovation can improve their business. These individuals often believe that innovation is too expensive or is not appropriate for their company. In truth, innovation can have a positive impact on any business – regardless of size, industry or location. Learning how to implement a system for identifying innovations is a first step to eliminating this road block.
Fear of Change – I also call this the “We have always done it this way” syndrome. This is a common road block in many companies. Employees (including managers and company executives) are afraid to change “the system”. This is especially true when dealing with internal procedures, even though innovative thinking can reduce operating expenses and streamline those procedures. This road block can be overcome by understanding a simple approach to evaluating internal procedures, and seeing examples of simple changes to business procedures that made a dramatic impact on the company.
“What do I know about this?” Syndrome – This obstacle also comes from a lack of understanding of the innovation process. People mistakenly believe that they must be experts in a particular area or have some special training to identify innovations. But, there are countless examples of individuals who come up with great innovations outside their “area of expertise”. Children can identify creative ideas when given the proper environment to develop and express those ideas. Often, individuals who are in different departments of a company come up with great ideas, partly because they approach solutions to problems in a “fresh” way – without being limited by the knowledge of how that department operates. I’ve been in many brainstorming meetings where someone from a different department makes a casual remark “Why don’t you just…”. To them, it seemed trivial, but the people working in the department had never considered that option because it was quite different from their current systems or procedures. Encouraging people to share ideas outside their current job function can produce valuable innovations for any business.
Make an effort to learn about innovation and implement a strategy to identify innovations throughout your business. Once you overcome the road blocks discussed above, your business can begin to harness the power of innovation.