In Search of Innovation

Companies like Apple, Google, GE and noted others have already established their credentials as leaders of innovation. But what about those companies that struggle to innovate yet come up short? They come to ISI (Impact Strategies International) to help them generate, embed, and sustain innovation as an enabler of growth and a source of competitive advantage.

A Tool Not a Destination

Too many organizations think about innovation as a destination not a tool. They talk as though innovation is an end state rather than a means to an end. . Executives often use expressions like “We need to be more innovative”, “or “Innovation needs to be a core value”. This kind of thinking can lead both organizations and the people who are assigned roles as innovators down a circuitous and frustrating path to failure. Innovation is best understood when seen as a tool or an enabler of something, usually something new like a new product, process, service, or even a new organizational culture or more efficient and effective organizational design. Only when innovation is seen as a tool with a specified intent can real progress be made. So one of the most important questions that ISI helps our clients grapple with is the “why” of innovation. If an organization cannot develop clarity around the why of innovation, then the what and how become irrelevant.

Turning Creativity Into Cash

Value creation is always the end game for innovation. Innovation is fun, but often folly if creativity cannot be turned into cash or som measurable outcome of value. If the outcome of an innovative initiative does not create value for someone, be it economic or social, then the time, effort, and resources spent in the process are hard to justify and makes the sustaining and embedding of innovation much more problematic. In all our consulting and educational training programs, we make sure that innovation is inextricably linked with the development of an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Many organizational innovators come from technical and R&D backgrounds, but do not necessarily think entrepreneurially about their inventions. Impact Strategies helps these individuals and the organization think through the entire value chain of innovation from Idea generation, through implementation, to value creation.

Leading Innovation

Leading innovation is not the same as managing the process of innovation. Successful leaders of innovation like Vice Admiral Mike Vitale – USN (ret) pictured above used ISI to help him utilize innovation as a tool for modernizing shore installations within the Navy. Getting others to see the world differently, energizing them to take risks, supporting experimentation, and defending ideas against all the roadblocks and blockheads that often stand in the way of innovation requires a special kind of leadership. While many others talk about the processes and models of innovation, ISI stands alone in focusing on the unique leadership skills necessary to lead innovation especially in organizations that have many built in innovation killers. ISI has developed a proprietary Innovation Leaders program which utilizes our ILS (Innovation Landscape Survey) that helps companies identify it’s organizational friendliness to new ideas and them helps leaders develop special leadership skills and approaches for overcoming the organization’ barriers to innovation.