7 Penetrable Barriers for Innovation
Written By Sajid A. Khan
Published Date May 08, 2019
In the innovation age, technological breakthroughs are considered the norm rather than the exception.
Every organization understands this. But there’s a huge disconnect between knowledge and implementation. It’s also not easy to adopt a multi-pronged innovation strategy. You need a very clear direction, as well as the steps by which to meet your goals.
Everybody should be on board from the top brass to the rank-and-file. In most cases, leaders take the forefront in capacity-building and knowledge transfer so employees and teams don’t deviate from the innovation strategy.
Digital disruption has become the dreaded buzzword in today’s very competitive business climate. But this is not some abstract concept. whole industries are already affected yet businesses still have no counter-strategy in place.
Here are some of the barriers to implementing innovation in an organization:
- Looking for that magic bullet — One common mistake that organization makes is to have unrealistic expectations. Leaders bear some responsibility for this due to the wrong messaging. In hindsight, it’s hard to blame them when they try to peddle innovation as the magic bullet that will solve all their organization’s ills.
Solution: People often look for big results as a validation of their decision. The important thing is to continue the grind and keep the eyes on the prize.
- Resistance from employees — Some people fear change. They have a ready-made excuse about not knowing the technology to be able to run it. How many times have you heard of workers complaining they don’t understand the new software or system?
Solution: Training workshops will go a long way in technology-transfer. Skill-building and team collaboration will go a long way to help struggling employees keep up. Once they feel they are not isolated, they would be more cooperative.
- Fear of change — People develop a routine. This is true at home and at work. That’s why they fear disruption to this routine.
Solution: Behavioral change requires a series of repeated habits. Develop new routines in the goal of effecting change.
- Risk aversion — Risk aversion is the mindset of always taking the safest route when facing risks.
Solution: Setting up a business is already a gamble in itself. So they couldn’t have started as risk aversed. Somewhere along the way, they got lost. It’s time to get back to that mindset of always imagining the worst.
- The perpetual project — There’s always that project that doesn’t seem to end. It takes months, if not years, and it’s already consuming everybody’s time. This will create a lot of frustration and an organization stuck in a rut.
Solution: Break up the big project into digestible pieces so you see results right away. Leaders should also know when to stop if the project is going nowhere.
- Limited resources — Small businesses always say they have no money to carry out innovation. They see their competitors innovate and grow exponentially but they stay in their lane.
Solution: This is more of changing the company culture more than anything else. Once you look at the money as an investment and not an expense, you are more willing to spend. You surmount the fear of failure.
- Ambiguous progression — Everyone loves a progression that goes from point A to point B. You can track it clearly because of the linear movement. With innovation, however, the progression is not as clear. The results can be disruptive or so minimal that t u had to squint your eyes to see these changes.
Solution: a change in mindset and behavior is necessary. Oftentimes, the order follows chaos.
How leaders should face these barriers
The leaders have an enormous responsibility to steer the ship toward where your organization wants to go. Employees naturally turn to them for guidance (or for somebody to blame) when it seems like the innovation strategy is not working.
It’s rare for organizations to implement a new strategy without facing challenges that will make them question Whether or not they are on the right path. They will have to assume the faith of preachers. It’s impossible for others to follow the vision when leaders show weakness.
No business can thrive without innovation. While everyone should pitch in, everything begins and ends with the organization’s leaders. If you have good leaders, any change is welcomed rather than feared.