Forces that Thwart Innovation: Part II – Corporate Gravity

Blog Post Innovation that Creates New Value

 

In our previous discussion, we identified that while it’s essential to build your innovation initiative around the Four Pillars of Innovation for Creating and Sustaining Growth, it’s equally as important to address the three forces that thwart innovation consulting — the very systems that ground big ideas and hinder corporations from achieving their innovation goals.

Much like physical gravity, corporate gravity is an invisible force that works by keeping people and organizations grounded. Primarily, it prevents people — and ideas — from venturing too far from the company’s existing business model.

The Invisible Weight

Throughout our innovation consulting work, we’ve witnessed a typical pattern emerge. Initially, clients will take on innovation, realizing that it is an important part of their future business strategy. Often, multiple innovation teams will be created and charged with exploring new, imaginative ways to generate growth.

While these groups are typically very successful in developing a large and diverse portfolio of new concepts, when it’s time to select what concepts to work on, the safe and familiar ideas are often selected.

This is where corporate gravity comes into play. At the outset of an innovation initiative, people are often very inspired to explore new possibilities. But when it comes time to jump, gravity constricts big ideas.

Zero Gravity Environment

To overcome the crushing weight of corporate gravity, we ask innovation teams to challenge themselves with some “what if” questions. For instance:

  • What if resources were not a constraint?
  • What if we needed to deliver products to market, say, 50 percent faster?
  • What if we needed to sell products globally — currently available only in Europe or Asia — within six months?

When asked these or other relevant questions, teams will arrive at conclusions that are A.) not feasible, and B.) immediately possible. We challenge clients not to give up on what they consider to be unfeasible, and instead, take a less-feasible idea and build feasibility into it.

After all, it’s easier to make an innovative idea more feasible than to make a less-feasible idea more innovative.

With gravity lifted, it’s time to get those innovative concepts over the threshold and into execution. However, for big ideas to grow, corporate immune systems must be examined — and that’s precisely the topic of our next discussion.

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