When It Comes to Innovation, Small Ideas Can Mean Big Wins3 September, 2014 / Articles
Let’s do some word association. What’s your first thought when someone talks about “innovation” at your company? You probably think of “ground-breaking changes” and “drastic overhauls.” Gmail, the XBox, Nike Air, the Post-It Note. “We’re gonna make millions…”
Yes, those certainly fit the definition of innovation. But there’s something to be said for getting the innovation ball rolling by focusing on a series of small ideas that have measurable impact over time.
The Disaster of Innovation in Corporate America
A common criticism of big companies, regulated companies, and companies with “traditional” cultures is that they move slower than a snail crawling through peanut butter. Government compliance and accounting for the widespread impacts of an idea are necessary steps in the innovation process. Necessary or not, these steps are time-consuming and frustrating for employees and partners trying to push fresh ideas forward.
Employees interpret the meetings and approvals as a fear of innovation among executives. When things don’t move fast enough, team members give up and stop suggesting ideas all together. Others see that and follow suit. With few fresh ideas being brought to the table, executives misconstrue the absence of ideas as a lack of interest in innovation.
What a disaster. And yet, this disaster is what most of us know as the day-to-day reality of corporate America. It’s a pain to get things done, so most of us don’t even try.