Most innovations fail because of people. But these strategies will help.
The reason innovations fail is not because of technology. It’s never about the technology. Innovations fail because of people. The people who might employ a new technology may not be sold on it. Or they might be afraid of it. Or they might feel threatened by it. Welcome to the dark side of innovation.
The biggest threat to a new innovation your organization is trying to develop will be your own people. This threat comes in several forms. First, your people may want to cling to the old tried and true. As false as it is, tried and true gives people comfort. Or they may not want to cannibalize an existing product with a newer technology. Often, your people will feel threatened by a new innovation because they think it will outdate their skills and therefore their jobs.
Here are seven ways to neutralize these threats and introduce innovation into your company:
- Make innovation a top priority. Don’t let it be an activity that people should pay attention to “after they get the real work done.” Innovation is the real work.
- Put your money where your mouth is. Promote people who champion your innovation efforts. Incentivize people who support the effort. Make innovation a key component of performance evaluations. If people aren’t supporting the effort, make that a reason for possible termination. Create the time and physical space for people to gather and brainstorm ideas. Set key goals for the number of ideas to be generated. Support the best ideas with funding.
Read five more ways to introduce innovation into your company in the full version of this article on the myCUES app. Find it under “Spotlight.”
Steven L. Blue is the president/CEO of Miller Ingenuity, an innovative company revolutionizing traditional safety solutions for railway workers, and author of the new book, American Manufacturing 2.0: What Went Wrong and How to Make It Right. For more information, please visit www.SteveBlueCEO.com, www.milleringenuity.com and connect with Blue on Twitter, @SteveBlueCEO.