Innovation and the view from the top…


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Why does innovation seem to be so difficult for companies to successfully execute? One reason brought up by author Geoff Colvin in his 2008 book Talent is Overrated might be because the culture isn’t friendly to it; new ideas are not welcome and risk taking isn’t embraced.

Colvin cites a recent study by McKinsey that helps to explain the reasons for this.

“In survey of six hundred executives, those at the top thought the main reason why their company wasn’t more innovative was that it didn’t have enough of the right people. Lower-level management held a markedly different view – that the company had the right people, but culture kept them from innovating as they should. Anyone who has spent time in organizations knows which of those two groups is more likely to be right. Changing an organizational culture to be friendlier to innovation, or in any other way, is a massive, long-term project…Culture change starts at the top. As long as those C-level executives think the culture is fine, it will never change. That’s why McKinsey’s survey explains a good deal about why so many companies aren’t as innovative as they want to be.”

And after the culture changes, people need to be told what’s needed and then they need the freedom to innovate.

Here’s the takeaway: Culture change begins at the top. And without this change, any efforts to promote innovation will be wasted.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patrick Lefler
Patrick Lefler is the founder of The Spruance Group -- a management consultancy that helps growing companies grow faster by providing unique value at the product level: specifically product marketing, pricing, and innovation. He is a former Marine Corps officer; a graduate of both Annapolis and The Wharton School, and has over twenty years of industry expertise.


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