What is needed is a partnership of creative employees and a supportive organisational environment. By Madhu Fernando
Innovation can occur in big or small organisations. Being small does not necessarily make an organisation innovative and many large Australian corporations are learning to implement innovation strategies in their organisations successfully.
To be innovative you need to have individuals with entrepreneurial ability as well as an organisation that supports them. Research has shown that organisational factors contribute to innovation, such as top-management support, organisational environment, reinforcement by rewards, and time availability. Individual factors are also important, like goal orientation, need for achievement, propensity for risk, creativity, self-confidence and ambition. Change of organisational environment and top-management support and attitude towards innovation are the main factors.
If you do not have an environment in which innovation is encouraged and supported by top management you will not be able to innovate, even if you recruit the most creative people. Educate your employees about innovation and entrepreneurship. Allow them time and space for innovation. Discuss the progress of innovative projects and encourage them. Show your support and interest. Establish a system that rewards your employees when innovative efforts come to fruition – but one that does not punish when they are unsuccessful. Learn from mistakes and celebrate successes.
Creating an innovative organisational environment in a large company can seem difficult because of formal hierarchies, red tape, and rigid rules and procedures that can lead to inflexibility. They may not allow for responsiveness to new technologies and changes in the market place. This type of environment does not provide the required space and freedom for creativity. If this sounds like your organisation, you need a cultural change in order to foster innovation. You should transform your organisation into an entrepreneurial organisation in which things get done more quickly and efficiently with less bureaucratic formality.
Merge with innovative companies or spin off
Many large companies are beginning to turn into entrepreneurial groups of specialists, rather than completely relying on permanent staff. They innovate successfully by buying or partnering with small entrepreneurial companies.
However, to make it work, you should give them complete freedom to do what they were doing before. Do not try to make them look like your organisation and destroy their creativity. With time, you can implement the same culture in your organisation and learn to innovate successfully.
Some organisations believe they need to encourage innovation more in some areas, like research and development. If that is the case with yours, spin-off is the solution. Let them spin out and create an environment that fosters innovation in the newly formed organisation.
Protect your good people and attract the best
If you do not support innovation in your organisation you risk losing the good people and will not be able to attract new staff adventurous enough to make innovation happen. Creative people tend to leave large organisations because of their bureaucratic processes and start selling their specialist skills in the market. They are looking for organisations in which their creativity is needed. Be one of those by creating an environment that encourages innovation.
Keep it alive
To keep innovation alive, you need to have innovation strategies built in to your organisational system. As Peter Drucker says, a business that wants to be able to innovate, wants to have a chance to succeed and prosper in a time of rapid change, has to build entrepreneurial management into its system. It should not try to become entrepreneurial without changing basic policies and practices. It has to adopt policies that create throughout the entire organisation the desire to innovate and the habits of entrepreneurship. When the business is managed this way, an entrepreneurial mindset and culture will be developed, and it will always foster innovation.
How not to
How not to lose control
The award for the most bizarre accident goes to British television presenter Johnny Vaughan, whose pet bulldog, Harvey, crashed his sports car, a $A170,600 Maserati. Vaughan said the crash happened after he stopped to check on Harvey as he drove the mutt home from a veterinary practice in south-west London. With the engine still running, Vaughan got out of the car and walked round to the passenger’s side, where the dog was sitting. It was then that Harvey leapt on the controls and stepped on the accelerator sending the sports car flying into a van, causing $A31,277 of damage. “I’ve forgiven Harvey, but he’s never coming in the car again,” Vaughan told reporters. Better still, Johnny, turn the engine off next time and use the hand brake.
How not to be a jack ass
This month’s prize for the weirdest piece of litigation goes to the matter of Jack Ass v. Viacom International. An electrical linesman by the name of Jack Ass, who claims he was enraged when he discovered the MTV show Jackass two years ago, filed a six-page complaint last December in the Montana 20th Judicial District Court against Viacom, MTV ‘s owner. The document alleges Viacom “plagiarised “and defamed his name with the TV show. The dispute revolves around the fact that the plaintiff has been Jack Ass for only five years. Before that, he was Bob Craft. But after his brother died in a car accident in 1990 he changed his name to help a cartoon character he had created, Andi Ass, in a crusade against drink driving. Claiming that Viacom had plagiarised and infringed his copyright, Ass is seeking damages of $A17.7 million.
How not to mistake a cow for a unicorn
The award for the worst business deal goes to the unidentified New Zealand furniture importer who reportedly bought a box of bones from Indonesia for an undisclosed amount believing they came from the mythical creature the unicorn. The agriculture ministry found the bones when it checked two crates stuffed with straw, a prohibited import under New Zealand’s strict biosecurity regulations, Radio New Zealand reported. Ministry official Howard Hamilton said the bones – which had been dipped in concrete to make them look fossilised – were examined by a veterinarian and palaeontologist from the Auckland Museum, who concluded they came from a cow or water buffalo.
How not to waste beer
This month’s prize for the most outlandish piece of research and development goes to Arnd Leike of the University of Munich (home to the annual Oktoberfest and a great deal of beer foam) for his paper “Demonstration of the exponential decay law using beer froth”.
How not to do theme park
The prize for the most optimistic business plan goes to the Berlin company Massine Productions. To capitalise on a wave of nostalgia for communist East Germany, it plans to build a theme park recreating the bleak life behind the Iron Curtain in the country that disappeared nearly 13 years ago. The park will have surly border guards, rigorous Customs inspections, authentic East German currency, and restaurants with bland East German food. The only thing missing will be the Stasi secret police. “The aim is not to make a big joke out of East Germany,” said a spokeswoman for the company, which is expected to invest millions of euros in the project. “It was an important part of Germany’s history and the period should be recreated as accurately as possible. “The park is slated for the south-eastern Berlin district of Koepenick.
How not to tune in
Runner up in the “how not to lose control” category is Nicholas Perotta, 18, of Vermont, US, who was charged with traffic violations after he rammed his pick-up into a pole, causing minor injuries to himself and two passengers. The hapless driver told police that one of his stereo speakers had shorted out, and he ran off the road seeking something to bump into in order to jar the speaker back into working order.