Despite the many case studies and op-eds you might read on the importance of "innovation" as a strategy, in real life many businesses are struggling to be innovative. It doesn't mean that they can't come up with enough new ideas or that they don't have creative people on staff. Instead, executives might find that they cannot implement innovation within their company's structure, or that they get bogged down by distractions that only seem to be taking them on the path to inventions that are timely--and potentially profitable.
In addition, many of the barriers to corporate innovation are forces that are much bigger than internal ones. These hurdles range from the economic challenges in Europe; entire industries dying or at least experiencing troubling states of transition (print and television media, for example, or investment banking); and the shifts in global financial power that are taking place (the rise of China and India, among other "emerging" markets).
But perhaps the biggest dilemma that businesses face when it comes to innovation is that the concept of "innovation" itself must be constantly re-thought to remain relevant. Look at GE's recently released Global Innovation Barometer, a global study that surveyed nearly 3,000 senior executives in 22 nations around the world. Ninety-two percent of respondents said innovation is "the main ingredient for a more competitive national economy" and 86 percent said that "innovation is the best way to create jobs" in their countries. Not surprising. But then another strong statistic emerges: Eighty-eight percent said that companies will innovate in ways that are "totally different than ever before" in the 21st century.
In a complex business environment, innovative companies must move from a guru model to one based on team leadership.
In business circles, “creativity” has become a buzzword to describe a desired trait among employees. It’s widely believed that having creative thinkers on staff will boost overall team levels of innovation. Yes, creativity can lead to a surplus of original ideas. But when it comes time to sell those concepts internally, and then later take those ideas to market, creativity is not enough. More important is conviction.
frog President Doreen Lorenzo sums up the impact of "Summer Davos," the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China that took place from September 14-16.
We've gathered in Dalian to connect. To establish new partnerships and collaborations, to strengthen the valuable, diverse network of the World Economic Forum, to share our ideas and accomplishments, and ultimately to connect the dots between this all. We're doing all of this to figure out how to innovate as companies, as nations, as global citizens, and as individual human beings, to keep our world pushing forward and progressing.
I had a great opportunity to contribute an article to Fortune magazine’s “Postcards” blog, written and curated by Pattie Sellers. In the piece “How to innovate in turbulent times,” I offer some advice from frog’s own experience in fostering innovation.
So much has been written about the big three auto makers and the mess they’re in. It is a travesty that they lost sight of what made them great in the past: innovation.
I was in China when the election was held. I live in a state that allowed early voting, so I voted a week earlier and took off to visit our Shanghai studio and Chinese clients.
The IDEA Conference starts tomorrow in New York City. It features an excellent line up of a dozen men. Only men.
I have been running a global innovation firm for the past 12 years and I regularly attend a variety of conferences that bring people from divergent fields together. This past fall I attended Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, and for a minute when I encountered this roster, I thought that perhaps it was intentional—that I was about to find a provocative supporting statement having a conference comprised solely of men—but no. The main statement is this:
The financial crisis has everyone consumed. The picture is not a pretty one, and clearly it will take us some time to climb out of the mess. However, there is an overwhelming consensus that we will climb out. The question is: How long will it take? People are frightened and consumed by fear. Fear causes people to make poor decisions.