How to cultivate innovative thinking 1


I read somewhere recently that “Culture is the playing field of innovation”
Innovation is in essence a means of creating value for customers. It is a means of developing a “lofty vision”. It is a means of fulfilling dreams and aspirations.

When this happens in a business environment the company must be open to ideas and be “fertile ground” for the seeds of ideas to grow.

A company, an environment or an individual that is empowering and flexible will welcome ideas and permit the taking of risks. Such a company, individual or environment will celebrate potential success.

Creating such a climate is the biggest challenge facing all companies and community environments.

Developing an innovative culture hinges on four pillars

 Leadership
Leaders must become the role models and must want to, and be capable of, seeing the future possibilities
 People
Nothing happens without people and if given the opportunity they are and are capable of being extremely innovative.
 Basic Values
Basis values such as learning, commitment, inclusiveness, individual ability and need to contribute are the essential attributes that lead to innovation. These are the foundation and backbone of companies. To what extent however do we as leaders and managers cultivate them?????
 Innovation values
Over and above basic values there are “wants and driving factors” that turn the ordinary into the extraordinary and the mundane into the compelling. These values include Intuitive thinking, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of choice and synergy. It is these values if cultivated that will bring out the magic.

Opportunity does not just “come along” – it is there all the time – we just have to see it.

While it’s probably impossible to compute the exact percentage of innovative ideas that fail the reasons for failure come down to 10 common causes. These are

 Not creating a culture that supports innovation
 Not getting buy-in and ownership from business unit managers
 Not having a widely understood process
 Not allocating resources to the process
 Not linking projects to company strategy
 Not spending enough time and energy on the fuzzy front-end
 Not building sufficient diversity into the process
 Not developing criteria in advance
 Not training and coaching innovation teams
 Not having an idea management system

© Des Squire (Managing Member)
AMSI and ASSOCIATES cc
Cell 0828009057
des@amsiandassociates.co.za

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One thought on “How to cultivate innovative thinking

  • timmalone

    Hi Des,

    Reserch by HBS indicates that as many as 90% of innovation initiatives fail. Of those, only about 8% fail because the innovation didn’t address the need – the rest were due to the common causes you mention above. Frightening, considering how much talk there is about the need to innovate!