The (Non)Sense of Employee-Focused Innovation Training


A lot has been written about Innovation Training in the recent past. At Culturevate, we clearly see the sense of such training, but there are some important conditions that needs to be met for these efforts to generate long-term impact for an organization. Not all companies understand these conditions, which often leads to mediocre results and missed opportunities. One extra difficulty is that a good Innovation Training should be driven by and aligned with several functional parts of a large corporate organization.

An innovation training effort should be an integral part of any corporate innovation program/strategy. A concrete training effort gives a clear message that innovation should be taken seriously and supports your employees who may not know how or where to begin.

However, just launching an innovation training effort independently, without context to a company’s strategy or culture, will create confusion and generate low output at best. We prefer a model that makes use of the momentum of a training effort to explain (and reinforce) the organization’s innovation program and strategy throughout the curriculum. This way, you achieve the additional advantage that a big picture strategy is much better understood by the community and that the training fits in the big picture strategy of the company.

Read the full blog about The (Non)Sense of Employee-Focused Innovation Training visit Innovation Management. Also get updated with our Latest Articles related to Organizations and Culture, Strategy, Life Cycle Process etc.


Diversity and Innovation – A Perfect Team

div n innov

Please, not another business imperative! Every time I open a journal or glance at a blog it seems as though the panacea to all business ills has just been discovered and is waiting for me to embrace it! One minute I’m being told to hire for cultural fit, the next to increase diversity. It’s no wonder that employee engagement is falling because if I’m being pushed from pillar to post then it’s not surprising that my people are confused……

Which of us can honestly say hand on heart that thoughts such as these haven’t slunk through our heads in the wee small hours of the night; when we should be resting but our minds are busy with the imperative to do more, be more, and to drive our organisations through to success. And the problem with dark thoughts in the middle of the night is that they come singly, they present themselves as completely individual challenges which have to be conquered one by one.

      1. Collaborating for greatness

Don’t just take the market, shape the market or create entirely new markets”.

So hiring for cultural fit and promoting diversity together can strengthen business prospects. Let’s think for a moment about one of the key elements of a culture of innovation, namely collaboration.

For full Article about Diversity and Innovation- A perfect Team visit Innovation Management

Also have a look on our upcoming topics of Online Learning Innovation Programs and varipos Innovation Process.

Follow the Crowd or Create the Marketplace

It’s follow my leader time for the world’s stock markets. Concerns over the state of the Chinese economy have seen markets plunge into freefall, only for some to bounce upwards again a few hours later. At the time of writing, markets are still in flux with analysts divided on the eventual outcome.

The impartial observer may wonder why the sudden panic, why when statistics and warning signs have pointed to areas of concern for a period of time the markets have suddenly moved from apparent inactivity to violent action. This is not a new phenomenon, nor is it confined to the world stock markets. In fact, the history of business could easily be written in terms of a giant game of follow my leader.

What’s right for you?

The fact is that like so much else in life different ideas work for different organisations. And whilst the principal may be sound and may be entirely appropriate at a headline level, it is how leaders shape the basic idea to work for their organisation that makes the difference between boosting business success and yet another change failure.

Innovation is not a one size fits all solution.

The innovation roadmap

One of the best ways to make sure that you are creating a solution which is right for your organisation, rather than simply a copy of someone else’s idea, is to take time at the outset to really understand where your business currently stands. This innovation cultural assessment should employ a mix of qualitative and quantitative assessments which are designed to enable the leadership to not only understand the current level of innovation maturity but also to gauge areas such as employee engagement.

To read full blog about Follow the Crowd or Create the Marketplace visit Innovation Management

The Value of Incremental Innovation

In this Blog I want to talk about the value of incremental innovation and why companies should

often focus on this, rather than driving as hard as they can to come up with the next

breakthrough product or service. Incremental improvements aren’t always cool, but over time

they can drive significant business results.

Before proceeding, I should once again outline the kind of companies that I often work with.

They are not the Apple’s, Google’s or Amazon’s of the world. I tend to work with organizations

that are well established, not at a point of imminent collapse, and often trying to be

innovative, but struggling to execute on their ideas. No company that I have ever worked with

has a shortage of ideas.

A focus on incremental innovations, and the activities that source and develop them, make

sense in the following context:

Pipeline Management: Too often I see organizations filling an innovation pipeline with

large-scale, broadly scoped, long-term innovations that leave their programs vulnerable. I say

the world “vulnerable” with purpose. Innovation programs are often politically sensitive and

need to be extremely conscious of the constant pressure to undermine their achievements and

goals (read this article for more details). By having a pipeline that is balanced, there is a

better chance that at least some activities will be implemented, balancing out some of the

failures which you are sure to encounter.

Starting a program: Often leaders of new innovation management programs are tempted to focus on big

thinking. And why not? It is sexy, cool and fun! The reality is that new programs will face

some healthy skepticism by their leadership, especially within established business units, so

it is important to get some runs on the board. By quickly demonstrating success, even with

smaller ideas, you are able to create an impression of momentum and a build towards bigger

ticket thinking.

Pressure on results: Innovation leaders are often told by leadership that they want “Big

I” ideas, but at the same time (or soon after) there is pressure to generate immediate

financial impact. In this case you just don’t have the time to develop the big ideas, so it

can be a better position to generate some incremental improvements. This can take the

immediate pressure off and allow you to demonstrate a rate of success in order to build some

political capital to focus on bigger ideas.

Generating Stakeholder buy-in: If you are struggling to secure and maintain stakeholder

buy-in, focusing on incremental improvements can demonstrate your ability to drive change,

without destroying their organization (often their concern) or needlessly redirecting

resources. By building success, aligned with their needs (an important point to understand),

you can secure their buy-in and support over time.

Launching innovation challenges: There is no shortage of innovation platform vendors in

the marketplace, and many of them will encourage you to run challenges or campaigns that focus

on big, bold visions of the future. This is especially true when they are launching their

product into your organization, as they want substantial engagement metrics to justify

investment in their platform. In my experience, and this may be controversial, launching with

these “Big I” crowdsourced challenges early will encourage a lot of employee excitement.

However if you don’t have an established model of idea execution, that excitement will

dissipate (at best) or turn negative when the participants realize that their ideas haven’t

been built. By focusing on smaller areas of improvement, especially when launching these

efforts, you can build community trust and demonstrate real traction with the winning ideas.

Cultural pushback: Many mature and regulated organizations often have cultures that

pushback on new thinking, in any form. Within this environment, it is important to assess how

much you can enhance the culture, in terms of new ideas development. Focusing on smaller

improvements can be a way to limit potential pushback, and give you a chance to demonstrate

that something can be built effectively within that culture. By the way, a goal should

absolutely be to change that culture over time.

In conclusion, I am not saying that innovation program leaders should focus on incremental

innovation at all times. What I am saying, is that just because an idea is small, or a program

is in place to generate responses to more modest issues, it shouldn’t be discarded. By

considering the broader context of the organization’s culture, and also the ecosystem of

innovative activity within an organization, incremental improvements should make some level of

sense. These smaller ideas aren’t going to get you on the cover of Time magazine, but they may

help your retain you job and drive real, cumulative business impact over time.