The executives of a food manufacturing company were frustrated when they saw the results of their employee survey. The company had invested heavily in innovative thinking training programs in order to close their innovation gap. However, their employees indicated in the survey that they were unable to apply what they learned. The executives were worried that their investment might be wasted if they did not do something quickly. More importantly, their organization would continue to lose its competitive advantages if it did not become more innovative.
The executives decided to investigate the root causes of this problem. While they believed that leaders were more innovative as a result of the training, innovation was still not happening. They found that leaders and employees were very frustrated that they could not use what they learned about innovative thinking.
Essentially, there were two primary dynamics. First, the leaders were indeed more skilled at innovative thinking, but they did not know how to help others access their innovative intelligence. The leaders misunderstood their role in innovation. They believed that they should be the most innovative people, rather than the catalysts to draw out their team members' innovative intelligence. As a result, team members felt stifled by their leaders, and they were discouraged because their innovative ideas were not explored.
Second, the organization had a very rigid annual budgeting ...