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It’s a great day and you are in the right place, doing the right thing – ‘Thinking Innovation in an enterprise.’

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In two previous blogs, check one (i) and two (ii), I draw lessons from Harvard Business School’s Press titled ‘Sparking Innovation’ and today I am sharing more lessons from that book once again. As an entrepreneur, start-up owner, businessman/woman, whatever term you may use, you must be aware by now about how important it is to be innovative in your enterprise.

To begin with, WHAT IS INNOVATION?

Innovation is ‘the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay.
To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need. Innovation involves the deliberate application of information, imagination, and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products. In business, innovation often results when ideas are applied by the company in order to further satisfy the needs and expectations of the customers.

[innovation. Retrieved December 18, 2019, from website:] 
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In the chapter titled ‘Future’, Sir David Varney shares his experience working with shell back in 1968 and notes that a lot of entrepreneurs drive their businesses while looking in the rare view mirror.  Entrepreneurs talk about their businesses, with expectations that the future is going to be like the past. Whether your business has been growing phenomenally or not, you should be careful because projecting the past into the future carries you forward to a place where the past is irrelevant.  He further notes that ‘the most difficult thing in an organization is to understand how much of the past you should take forward, and what you should invent for the future.’ Therefore,

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  • To succeed, you need to find the balance between how much of the past you should take into the future and what you should invent for the future.
  • Be aware of what is happening to the demand for your product or service and be willing to expose the assumptions that are built in your everyday culture. The future is around you today.

Workers and Innovators

Phil Smith shares that there are two key attributes in the make-up of teams (leadership and management teams) that are trying to lead a company or part of the company.

  • An Innovator;

Someone who is able to make a change, someone who dares to make change; a person who comes up with the ideas, continually challenging things

  • A Hard worker;

Also Known As a Grafter is somebody who just puts in the time and drives through on pure effort of their own. The ideal combination is to employ or have people/teams that have both.  They are hard workers much as they are innovative and vice versa.  By so doing, you are able to build a similar, successful culture throughout the entire organization.


Points to keep in mind;

Innovation is one of the keys to grow organically. In a risk-averse culture, this can be a challenge. In order to overcome this challenge, you need to symbolize innovation within the company itself. For example, introduce non-traditional methods into communications and recognize those elements that inhibit innovation.

To build an innovative company, you have to know what can get in the way. Rigid corporate structures can drive out creativity by hiring too many like-minded people. This happens because people have a natural tendency to like people who are like themselves and reject people who are different.

The difference between innovative work and routine work are the types of people who do the work. As the company gets larger, take care to hire with an eye towards diversity.

Learn to take risks. When you succeed, celebrate; when you fail, learn from your mistakes.

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