Of the one hundred largest companies in the U.S. in 1917, only seventeen survive today. The rate of new product innovation consumer goods increases exponentially year over year. Surprisingly, 95 percent of all technology ever invented was invented in the last five years.
Most people agree that an innovation strategy is critical to a company’s success, however many also say that it is easier said than executed. For technology companies such as Intuit, innovation is often the core to everything they do as there is a constant need to reinvent in order to develop new competitive advantages like breakthrough technologies.
At Intuit, the primary key to their innovation strategy includes reimaging existing, core products like TurboTax, and gaining share across all major business lines. Also, by developing and launching brand new offerings, like ViewMyPaycheck, an application which enables employees to view their pay stubs on any mobile device with a browser.
The second form of Intuit’s innovation strategy is through strategic acquisitions of both entrepreneurs and innovators to accelerate its progress of moving forward with identified opportunities. The third form is open innovation by which communication and technology are openly shared with academics, partners, thinkers and customers outside of the company in order to foster the best and brightest ideas.
Innovation is often stymied by fears of failure, especially in today’s economy when it is common to be risk averse and current core competency focused. Tom Huff said “The practice of R&D involves making mistakes, realizations, corrections, and more mistakes. Trial and error is a fundamental part of the process. Too many managers in corporate America learn to avoid invention and new thinking because they have been convinced that their careers depend upon not making mistakes.”
Another reason that it is difficult to create and execute an organizational innovation strategy is due to the structure of many companies in which teams are divided into silos or separate business units. Each is responsible for its own budget and resources, and is primarily focused on attaining departmental goals vs. overall organizational goals. When cross-functional teams are created to address company-wide initiatives such as an innovative strategy, conflict often ensues as each respective team member if focused on solutions that will benefit his/her team or unit vs. the overall company.
If you are a leader who is struggling to implement a company-wide initiative or to increase team member engagement, consider enrolling in the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers course where you will learn to:
- Examine work environments and identify the current motivation levels
- Identify motivation factors and tools to increase motivation among associates
- Apply Human Relations Principles to build effective relationships and commitment levels