What company wouldn’t want to grow 20 times by 2020? It’s happening at a South African company. Our client there needed an innovation immersion, but the obstacles were immense.
Could this organization be hard-wired to innovate and try new ideas? As their management consultancy, we created two tracks, one for the management team to explore new strategic growth by 2020, and one for employees to form 20 innovation teams. Those 20 teams are tasked with creating opportunities that spanned from incremental to breakthrough for future growth of the company. They now have a roadmap to meet their 20-times growth objective.
Innovation is all about change and surprises, which is counterintuitive to the way organizations typically run their business. In the past, innovation and creativity were trapped in R&D labs and marketing departments. The rest of the enterprise was not friendly to these ideas. They favored the predictable. This shift towards enterprise wide innovation is transforming companies like our client in South Africa.
What was once seen as a disruption of operational excellence is now viewed as a way to create new value. But that declaration for innovation has to start with senior leadership. Companies like Whirlpool and Proctor & Gamble have made innovation an enterprise-wide responsibility. P&G has evolved from ad hoc innovation in the 1980s to a dedicated infrastructure in the mid-’90s to an enterprise wide commitment today.
Former P&G Chairman and CEO A.G. Lafley says the chief executive officer has to be the chief innovation officer. If they’re not engaged in the process, then it will be hard to be successful. Today, every person is hired at P&G for his ability to contribute to innovative growth. Wouldn’t it be great if every enterprise hard-wired their organizations to innovate like that?