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Innovative Intelligence: The Art and Practice of Leading Sustainable Innovation in Your Organization by Claude Legrand, David S. Weiss

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

THE INNOVATION PLAN

Although many organizations are trying to close the innovation gap, very few are successful—mainly because they fail to develop a formal plan. If senior leaders want better information technology or more productive marketing, they ask for a plan. And because most organizations are good at creating and implementing plans, they usually achieve their goals. However, if they need to increase innovation, leaders are more likely to make a few speeches and ask their employees to have more ideas. They rarely develop a specific innovation plan that is budgeted, resourced, and implemented.

It is only by creating a customized plan and implementing it rigorously that a leader can create an organization where innovation happens systematically. The plan gives focus and structure to the innovation effort and provides the long-term view required to be successful. In the absence of an integrated plan, an organization will find it is too easy to cut innovation resources when quarterly results demand cost reductions. The lack of a plan also has indirect effects. For example, leaders who are most likely to initiate innovation are generally uncomfortable with the status quo and strive to reach higher and achieve more. Their vision and drive, however, can also hold them back. As we have seen previously, they are perceived as mavericks—tolerated because they deliver but rarely promoted to the most senior positions. This sends an unintended signal to the rest of ...

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