Innovation today is everywhere, the success stories and the failures. It’s up there with all the buzz words of the moment like disruption, iterating, pivoting and design thinking. So what is the secret sauce that enables companies to innovate effectively without suffering from too much failure along the way?
It was my passion for learning and finding new ways to improve our service to clients that led me to find a course on innovation which brought me to the other side of the world. London Business School is at the forefront of learning and is one of the most highly regarded business schools in the world. Their course called Making Innovation Happen was a perfect place for me to learn from the best with the diversity of participants from around the world that would provide a fresh lens for my perspective on innovation.
We began the week analysing why innovation can be so difficult looking at case studies like the demise of the once prosperous Kodak. This case highlighted the risk that being too confident in your existing product or service offering whilst others innovate around you, can leave you standing without a chair when the music stops.
The next step in the journey led us to finding ways to reinvent existing business models to generate ideas for new products and services. An important aspect of this is the power of analogy and how looking at completely different industries can give you new insights and perspectives on how to tackle innovation challenges within your business. We also had the amazing opportunity to go within the walls of IDEO (a design thinking consultancy firm in the innovation hub of London) to get a hands on experience on how to put ideation into practice using their human centred design method.
Armed with the ways to create new ideas left us with the conundrum of how then do we execute innovation successfully in our businesses? The answer to this is centred on a supportive organisation that empowers employees at all levels of the business allowing free thinking and experimentation. We were also fortunate enough to hear from a speaker from Google who gave us an inside view on how they have created a corporate culture and environment that fosters innovation.
the overarching take away for me is that innovating effectively comes down to people
After a week of learning from real world examples of innovation, both good and bad, the overarching take away for me is that innovating effectively comes down to people. It may seem simple, but motivating people to open their minds and allowing them to run with new ideas can be fraught with obstacles. The key is to find how you can make innovation a supported endeavour within in all areas of your business and open up your thinking to see how looking to different industries and contexts can give you the inspiration to innovate in new and exciting ways.