Saturday, August 16, 2014

Companies don't have any good way to measure innovation like they do for execution

To quote Dee Hock: "Never hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength. It is idiotic to replicate your weakness. It is essential to employ, trust, and reward those whose perspective, ability, and judgment are radically different from yours. It is also rare, for it requires uncommon humility, tolerance, and wisdom"

Companies don't have any good way to measure innovation like they do for execution. Vijay Govindarajan explains this real well in his book "The Other Side of Innovation." 
Unless the CEO creates or supports something analogous to PMO (project management office) called IMO (innovation management office), it is very difficult to get the execution team to collaborate with the innovation team. 

How do you identify the 'genes for innovation' in any interview? What is an inventive mind? Does invention happen only when one consistently endeavors to thing through an unthinkable issue? How many instances a company has where they believe and provision for entrusting the rights to 'experimentation' in employee's hands? How many companies have rewarded brilliant failures and punished average successes?

Whose KRA and KPI is innovation? Top bosses, R&D folks? Everyone to some extent? It is not defined. Unfortunately everyone thinks it is an R&D lab that works on innovation and their job is 'discovery'. 
If that is the case, then innovation will be an academic pursuit and will not encompass organisation's services or product lines.

If people are in their comfort zones, they will not innovate. Does that also mean that if you have more stable organisation, you have more people in comfort zones and you are not innovation fit?

Like pharma companies, either a company is inventive drug company or a generic drug maker. Generic means operations and sales. Inventiveness means new breakthroughs and market leading products and services and make huge margins. 
Question remains who is responsible for innovation and like the CEOs who do not make consistent profits are fired, are we firing the sitting ducks for not innovating? 
There are R&D centers where there are managers and directors galore and not a single innovative and market success product in 10 years. 
Companies live too longer on average products. 

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