In today’s competitive economy, companies are constantly looking for new and innovative ideas to drive their business. These ideas can be related to products or services, business process, strategy, and so on. Yet many organizations do not have a formal innovation strategy or way to generate a large pipeline of innovative ideas.
Organizations perform better when they “embrace a structured, planned and organization-wide approach to innovation” according to a recent article written by two professors from the University of Melbourne. The article refers to systematic innovation, which is described as sustained innovation rather than random or haphazard innovation efforts. The article went on to conclude that systematic innovation is best served when every employee in an organization takes responsibility for innovation.
Jeff DeGraff, PhD & bestselling author from the University of Michigan nicknamed “The Dean of Innovation” further supported this view in a recent LinkedIn post. He believes that innovation doesn’t happen within one discipline or department, but rather, the white spaces between disciplines and departments, which is why it is more important than ever to include all employees in the innovation process. He goes on to talk about how innovation is highly iterative; therefore, it is necessary to not only allow all employees to submit great ideas, but also, to give them a way to comment and participate in the ongoing process of innovation.
Why is this important? According to the first article from the University of Melbourne:
Companies with proven innovation performance are:
3 times more likely to have higher revenue growth
3 times more likely to have higher profitability and productivity
3 times more likely to report higher levels of cash flow and long-term competitive advantage
Companies that failed to embrace innovation as a systematic performance tool are not only likely to be chronic underachievers, but also, likely to have:
Lower levels of growth
Fewer development pathways for employees
Difficulty in attracting, developing and retaining top talent
Whether you use focus groups, custom idea programs, or idea software, it is clear that companies looking to remain competitive in today’s economy need to focus on innovation as a competitive advantage and include all of their employees in the process.