Jo Geraghty


Innovation – Just too much like hard work

Date added: 30th Dec 2016
Category: Innovation Culture

Innovation is just too much hard work? No; innovation is fun and challenge and excitement and being alive to success

I tell you what; why don’t you just make yourself comfortable and let 2017 slip by. Your business is doing okay, you’re not getting too many grumbles and you’ve been selling the same old stuff for so many years now that you don’t really need to work too hard at it. I know your employees have been doing the same thing for so long that they getting a bit complacent and some of them are drifting away to other organisations but that’s okay because a few of your customers are going elsewhere as well; but you’ve still got a sound business haven’t you?

So it’s really not much point in me talking to you about building a culture of innovation because that just sounds too much like hard work. There’s no point in rocking the boat when the water is still is there? The only trouble is that while you are sailing serenely through your calm waters there is a storm ahead and it is caused by innovative disruptors. They’re not happy with the status quo and they are looking towards an entirely new model of business which leverages intelligence and collaboration and agility in order to deliver real solutions.

But maybe you haven’t got a choice, maybe 2017 will be the year when you have to do something before your serene existence becomes one in which you also don’t have a business. That’s okay though because if you have to move towards innovation you can just appoint one of your junior managers to be an innovation officer. That way you get a few plans drawn up, you can add a few lines on innovation to your annual report and you can sit back while other people come up with a few ideas.

Well no you can’t! Building a culture of innovation isn’t something you can just pay lip service to. If you are serious about becoming your own disruptor, about staving off all those other organisations which are looking to take your business then you have to put in some hard work at the outset. Building a culture of innovation requires understanding your current level of innovation maturity, putting a committed leadership team in place, designing the future and engaging your people in change.

Most importantly it requires leadership and that is something which has to come from the top. In our book Building a Culture of Innovation which has been shortlisted for the CMI management book of the year award we comment that if it’s not on top team’s agenda, it’s not going to be in the culture. That means it’s time for you to step up, instigate and lead change.

Being comfortable is for retirement, for looking back on a life fulfilled in which you seized your chances and made the most of your opportunities. Now is the time for living those opportunities, for building a culture of innovation which will take your business out of the doldrums and into success. Innovation is just too much hard work? No; innovation is fun and challenge and excitement and being alive.

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