The executioners of innovation

The formula of the success of many managers who are of strict soul, and known as "controllers". Managing for them means tightening workers and cutting contracts with suppliers. This model involves tensing the organization with a mixture of hierarchy and fear.

But nevertheless; and in spite of everything, their only problem is that they can not control the clients. If clients have decided to change and are attracted by new proposals, our controllers first consider that it is temporary, and that they, who are the most expert in the organization, will know how to solve it. But if customers insist on not fitting into their spreadsheets and sales reports, then the controllers admit that maybe some innovation would go well with them.

What happens when controllers drive innovation? Well, nothing. Nothing happens. Maybe, some incremental innovation. In this sense, some "creative" workshops are developed or a pair of TEDx or Innovation Fairs are held where innovators self-proclaim. As nothing comes out that offers short-term results and the radical proposals that are presented compromise a change of culture, they put the focus back on the day to day and let the efforts that have been made in innovation die. On the other hand; controller's soul makes them allergic to risk. They prefer the businesses they know, that the creation of new business models that take them out of the comfort zone and force them to risk. They think that innovation is something of companies like Google or Apple, but that they must earn money with what they know how to do and not lose energy creating spaces of inspiration and other nonsense. The successes of the past are its only reference. I call these people in the organization: the executioners of innovation.

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Resistance to innovation in organizations

The experience of companies, their best practices and processes, which has led to success ... can be an obstacle when innovating. Many times the weight of knowledge of years in the organization stifles innovation and, at the same time, without it you can not innovate even at the most basic level.

The problem is that many organizations, in trying to make their teams as efficient and effective as possible by incorporating experts of all kinds, enhance the force of gravity, which, in turn, hinders the takeoff of innovation. Their esteem for deep knowledge relegates intuitive generalists, creative novices or even those experts not related to momentary interest to a secondary role, and they miss out on their ability to innovate.

In each organization, the main challenge for those interested in promoting an innovation agenda is to work with people who resist. This is not only true for leaders - when they have to get the acceptance of their executives and boards, but also the employees. It is always easier to fight against a rational enemy, but often the illusion inhibits rationality.

If you do not offer anything different that surprises emotionally or that is exceptional from the functional side, "you are destined to die", or in a more subtle way to stop being relevant. The "innovation killers" have a well-meaning corporate army behind them, always ready to defend their territory and keep innovation at bay, so that the status quo is not changed.

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7 actions that destroy innovation

The message of innovation in organizations has remained in simple empty words, in phrases that adorn the walls of meeting rooms ... unfortunately there are still many organizations that still do not internalize innovation, without understanding that we are talking about more than declarations of intent , and that it is something vital that must impregnate each and every one of the corners of the organization.

Control: Innovation needs a greater degree of freedom, trust and empowerment. It is not about eliminating the monitoring and control mechanisms, but when it becomes an oversight and the teams spend more time justifying their work than innovating, then; There is a serious problem.

Intolerance to failure: In innovation, failure is the seed of success .... not because it fails in itself is something positive, but because of the impact of good management of failure in the culture of a company ... this causes people to take more risks, dares to raise answers that are not 100% safe to problems and above all, find quickly what it is that works.

Bureaucracy: If there is something that completely discourages an entrepreneur, it is the eternal rehash of forms, documents, processes and fillers. It is not that the idea should not be validated and "landed", it is that until it is not executed we must have light and agile processes. The important thing is the idea and the prototype, not the document.

Vertical structures: Very hierarchical structures have a double negative effect on innovation - on the one hand, people get used to expecting the guidelines to come from the top of the organization, and therefore inhibit their ability to make decisions, and on the other hand , there is a risk that a stupendous idea will be blocked at an intermediate level without contemplations because it is not understood or threatens the status quo. Therefore, more flat organizations should be managed, where the design of initiatives and the capture of ideas are outside the "traditional" structure.

Plan a lot and execute little: We have been taught sequential cycles of planning-construction-market-testing that have proven inefficient and high cost ... why do not we try to launch innovation in a different way, in which we create agile and iterative cycles, and where the brake is determined by the prototype and the customer, and not a Business Plan.

Only the geniuses are innovators: The fact of proposing innovation strategies around specific people is very common in traditional companies ... and what it conveys is that innovation is a problem of a small group of "geniuses" or "enlightened" and not of each and every one in the organization. From the newly incorporated practitioner to the engineer about to retire, everyone has something to say and contribute.

Do not reward the innovator: Innovative people in an organization are one of its most important pillars, and as such should be recognized and awarded. It is not, in my opinion, multimillion-dollar rewards, but rather rewards of shared benefits or at least "relevant". A pat on the back and a lot of documents to justify is not a good incentive to return to propose an idea ... And of course, let's not forget to recognize the work and leadership of the manager, who ends up implementing the initiative.