Chapter 8 If you think innovation is important, act like it's important

If you believe the claims made in many organisations' mission statements and core values, on their websites and at conferences and meetings, you would assume they value innovation highly. Often, however, when you look deeper, you get a suspicion that while companies work hard to look like they are innovative in every way they can, many are ignoring some very simple opportunities to create an innovative workforce.

Innovation campaigns

Even companies that claim they are committed to innovation often treat it as an extra — that is, as icing rather than the cake itself. For example, they might run an innovation campaign for a month in which they invite staff to submit an idea to improve the organisation, and reward those who come up with the best ideas. But then the campaign ends and life goes back to normal. The message sent is that innovation is an add-on — it's not core business.

Innovation should be something we do all the time, not just for one month a year. If you think innovation is important, then act like it's important. Don't send the message that it is something the organisation should just focus on sometimes. Organisations don't run campaigns where everyone is urged to focus on sales for a month, because everyone knows they are supposed to focus on sales all the time.

Running a campaign to encourage innovation is better than doing nothing, but it's not nearly as good as entrenching innovation ...

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