I. CLEAR VISIONS & STRATEGIES: Effective organizations have a powerful vision that aligns the activities and thus makes possible the empowerment of their employees. Clear and challenging strategic intentions (including specific non numeric objectives) bring forth large volumes of well aligned innovation.
II. FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS: Putting attention on how to better serve customers drives organizations toward productive innovation. Focus on internal politics tends toward conservatism, mistargeted mega-projects and failure to exploit genuinely superior technology.
III. VALUING EXPERIMENTS AND RISK TAKING: Both innovation and organizational learning require trying things, seeing what happens and learning from the results. When those trying new ideas are punished for “mistakes,” two things go wrong:
a) People stop experimenting
b) Mistakes are covered up so no organizational learning results
IV. DISCRETIONARY RESOURCES AT LOWEST LEVELS: Pushing decisions and control of discretionary resources to the lowest possible level supports practical innovation.
V. DISCRETIONARY TIME: New ideas and hunches require exploration before they can be “proven” to others. When people at all levels have the freedom to use some of their time to explore new ideas and hunches without having to ask permission, a rich crop of innovation seedlings ready for transplant to the more formal approval system arises.
VI. EMPOWERED PROJECT TEAMS: Innovative organizations create cross disciplinary project teams to implement innovation and empower them to make decisions. For example, a new product team would at a minimum have people from marketing, engineering and manufacturing. Rather than taking all decisions back to their bosses, the team members are empowered to represent their business units or functions.
VII. INTRAPRENEURS: Intrapreneurs are employees who behave like entrepreneurs on behalf of the company. They are the visionaries who act. They become the hands-on drivers of a specific innovation within an organization. Research shows that intrapreneurs are an essential ingredient of the successful innovation process.
VIII. SPONSORS: Sponsors are people with the power or influence and desire to support, coach, protect, and find resources for an intrapreneurial project and its team. Effective sponsoring of innovation requires courage, determination, and time.
IX. CHOICE: The most lively organizations exist on the boundary between chaos and order. Like living organisms they create effective order through heavy reliance on self-organizing systems and light use of the power of hierarchical command. To achieve this, innovative organizations create systems in which (like a free market) the choices of individuals and teams lead naturally to alignment and cost effectiveness in fulfilling of customer needs.
X. BOUNDARY CROSSING AND ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNITY: The knowledge of an organization is widely distributed – one brain per person. To use that knowledge most effectively, and to serve customers whose needs are not organized in the pattern of your organization chart, people must help each other out across the boundaries of the organization. If a strong spirit of organizational community exists, people help each other, solving problems and lending resources beyond the boundaries of their local organizations.
XI. MEASUREMENT: It is quite common to discourage innovation by the way performance is measured. The most innovative organizations develop measurements that encourage innovation.
needs a description of what is meant by an innovation climate and why it is important to organizations and individuals; also needs to be an invitation and link to fill out our survey on line and find out more about the Factors of an Innovation Climate.