No one is able to stand still in this fast paced business environment. As business leader you’re looking for ways to innovate. “An innovation is something original, new, and important – in whatever field – that breaks in to a market or society.” In this definition of Frankelius the words “original, new and important” are vital.
To be innovative you have to break with your present habits and convictions. This is difficult in organizations, where a lot of people have to change their convictions and habits before something really new will be deployed. You can invent alone, but you can only innovate teaming up with others in your organization.
Recently I asked in more than twenty Linkedin groups on innovation the question “what are the main obstacles for innovation within your organization?”. The response was massive. This is a list of the ten most important innovation obstacles mentioned.
1. We are not aware of the need for innovation. Our company is doing too well. “A lot of people in our organization are just lazy, copying the work of others”.
2. We cannot change our habits. We lack the ability to invoke change, the ability to change our mindset. “My colleagues don’t think beyond what made our company successful thus far”.
3. We are not creative. “There is a substantial lack of curiosity among people in our company”.
4. We don’t believe innovation is going to happen. We have started some initiatives, but the board always stops new innovative products just before they would enter the markets.
5. We fear failure. Our past innovations were not successful and have cost a lot of money. “Managers were fired because their launches of new products failed”.
6. Our short-term mindset rules. The company focuses on getting results next quarter. “Shareholders demand profits today”.
7. There is no support. The hardest part is to get the support for the idea of innovation. How to create sponsorship for innovation at the top? A lot of innovators see a lack of among colleagues and managers as main obstacle for innovation.
8. How to uncover customer needs? A lot of our new products failed because customers did not wanted them. “We struggle to get inside the head of potential purchasers of the product or service”.
9. We lack a process and structure. Our innovation process is unorganized. It’s ad-hoc.
10. We do not have the resources. We do not take the time for it. We do not get the financial resources for it. And we do not have the right people in our company to develop it. -Gijs van Wulfen
Do you recognize these obstacles? What’s blocking innovation in your organization? Please share this with us.