Why Innovation Fails 

There is no shortage of barriers to innovation at the organizational level. The upside is that many organizations face the same challenges, so you’re not alone. The downside is that these challenges are hard to fix. 

In the recent webinar, Make Innovation Your Competitive Advantage, Dr. Adam J. Bock talked about the challenges of organizational innovation and how thinking and approaching innovation differently could lead to more success and growth. 

Innovation: The New Challenge 

A majority of executives would agree that innovation is important to their company’s future success and growth strategy. In fact, 79% of CEOs report innovation is a top-three priority. However, organizational innovation succeeds less than 50% of the time. Some industries even see innovation success rates as low as 5%. 

Innovation does not come naturally to most people. And innovation needs to be treated differently than other functions in an organization. With that comes challenges — and failure. 

“There is no single magic bullet solution to address all the problems organizations face as they look to improve innovation for the long haul,” Dr. Adam J. Bock. 

So how can your organization set down the path for innovation success? Dr. Bock has four suggestions. 

Stop treating innovation like other organizational functions 

If you try to treat innovation the same way as you treat all the other functions, you miss crucial growth opportunities and don’t learn effectively from past mistakes. This is especially true if failure in punished rather than rewarding the attempt to try and learn from failure. 

Take a holistic approach 

You can’t predict innovation, and you can’t predict who will be innovative or when they will be innovative. Take a broader approach where everyone contributes to an innovation system, not just the R&D department. Solicit ideas from the people who are hands-on with the process or products looking to innovate. 

Create a culture of shared success and failure 

Many organizations are happy to share their big successes but fall short at sharing smaller successes. And they are often even worse at sharing failures. If your organization has a culture where failure is not discussed or shared, you’re missing out on the growth opportunity for the organization to learn from failure and ensure that failed processes and behaviors are not repeated.  

When it comes to the culture of an organization and how it relates to innovation, you need to accept that failure is a part of innovation and that failure should not be punished but considered a learning opportunity that can be rewarded. 

Move beyond lip service 

Innovation success doesn’t come from simply stating, “let’s be innovative.” You need to have a system, structure, and incentives in place. As a reminder, these should be treated differently than the system and structure in place for other functions of your organization. 

Make Innovation Your Competitive Advantage 

As you evaluate innovation in your organization and how to make it your competitive advantage, Dr. Bock recommends you ask the following questions: 

  • “Are we innovating to create stakeholder value or just for the sake of doing new things?” 
  • “Have we created an innovation system at our organization or just promoted individual risk taking?” 
  • “How does innovation support and extend our competitive strategy?” 
  • “Are we managing innovation at our organization or just hoping it happens?” 

For more advice from Dr. Bock on how to take a different approach to innovation and make it your competitive advantage watch the full webinar recording

Are you looking to fine-tune your strategic approach to innovation? Join Dr. Bock for Accelerating Strategic Innovation. This two-day program will address the innovation challenge and help you build a system of innovation at your organization. You’ll also learn how to manage innovation needs, identify what makes an effective organizational innovation system, and how to generate a culture of creativity to encourage innovative behavior. 

Curious about your organization’s ability to be innovative? Download this Organizational Innovation Self-Assessment. This tool will help you quickly identify where you may have pain points within your current innovation strategy.