Innovative Workplace

Innovative Workplace

Management research confirms that organizations that meet the innovation challenge out perform their competitors in terms of market share, profitability, growth and market capitalization (Tidd, Bessant, & Pavitt, 2005). Innovative organizations are better able to mobilize the knowledge, skills, and experiences of people, and successfully create new products, services and ways of getting things done faster, better and cheaper. Although creativity is innovation’s precursor, both are key issues for organizational survival and growth.

Innovation is increasingly seen as a key strategic priority due to its potential to create sustainable competitive advantage. Barsh, Capozzi, and Davidson (2008), for example, found that 70% of senior executives identified innovation as one of their top three drivers for improving organizational performance. So, if innovation is so important, what practices and knowledge do organizations apply to meet the challenge?

Many organizations apply a specific method, process or procedure to produce innovative outcomes. These run the gambit from project management and new product development methods to idea management and suggestion programs. Others focus their efforts on innovative outcomes – setting clear and stretch targets for revenue from new products and services. Some concentrate on the unique role that leaders play in sponsoring innovation or selecting and encouraging the “right” people to play on innovation initiatives. A few organizations focus on creating work environments that support creativity and innovation. Even fewer organizations address the challenge by taking a blend of both strategic and tactical reviews of best practices, and then customize their solutions to address their unique needs and situations. Given all the challenges organizations must face when managing for innovation, the most productive way forward is to consider the whole system of change and creativity, rather than only focusing on a single part (Isaksen & Tidd, 2006). In fact, there is emerging evidence that high-performing innovative organizations work on all the key elements, including: deliberately managing the innovation process; engaging in leadership practices that include and involve a diverse collection of skills, styles, and talents; and intentionally working to establish appropriate conditions to encourage and sustain creative efforts (Davis, 2000).

A practical way to systemically address the innovation challenge is to ask: What works for whom, under what circumstances (see Figure 1)? The “what works” part of the question refers to impact and effectiveness of the tools, techniques, processes, and methods of innovation. Those who lead and manage organizations have focused most of their attention on “what works.” Many of these efforts have produced disappointing results because the methods were simply transplanted or applied with little or no consideration for the people involved (“for whom”) or the specific and unique conditions or context (“under what circumstances”).

From “Creating More Innovative Workplaces” by Scott G. Isaksen, Wouter S. Aerts and Erik J. Isaksen at Creative Problem Solving Group,


You must be logged in to post a comment.

error: Content is protected !!