Improving Innovation Capabilities

Improving innovation capabilities in an organization is never a quick fix.  You will not find the solution by simply discussing the need to innovate or testing it on a single function. Innovation requires complete team acceptance and incorporation to everyday practices.  A common innovation flaw for many companies is that they rely on breakthrough innovations to gain a competitive advantage and renewed sustainability. The mistake with this approach is that the entire business structure and each function must change and adapt  according to this new product or service.

When innovation is a team effort the company as a whole works toward continuously improving operations and better interacting with consumers. New ideas and new practices must move together through time and not allow one to get stuck in the past while the other evolves.  Innovation requires not only trial and error, but also metrics and management. You never know how customers will respond or what works in a company until you try.  Innovation requires a supportive culture and leaders who are willing to take risks.  No matter your industry or size, innovation can transform any business and help it reach sustainability and most importantly grow its top line.

One article that really hits the nail on the head is: “Worlds apart, yet so similar: Breakthrough Innovation in two organizations.”  It is one of many like articles on the site Grabbing Lightning: breakthrough innovation – one step a time.  The article captured this idea of innovation evolution nicely.  The author, Gina O’Connor had worked with two entirely different types of companies to improving their innovation capability.  The first was a large oil and gas company and the second was a Credit Union. Although these two clients had differing challenges holding them back from embracing innovation.  Gina was able to work with these organizations to identify the types of innovation and their respective management systems that would best allow them to flourish.

I’m excited to say that Gina O’Connor is one of fifteen innovation experts and practitioners who will be speaking at the CIMS 2011 Fall Meeting: Situational Awareness: Becoming a ‘Decision-Ready’ Organization. The event will be held on October25-27th in Raleigh, NC.  I hope to see you there, it’s going to be a great meeting!


Michelle Grainger
Managing Director
Center for Innovation Management Studies (CIMS)



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