Innovation “silver bullets” are a fiction. There is no single right way to make an organization more innovative. Some companies confine all innovation or growth initiatives to a single unit. Others make innovation part of everyone’s job. Many companies employ hybrid models, often having innovation champions who help teams think about ideas in new ways. As long as the approach taken is keenly sensitive to the company’s particular context, several techniques can work.

However, there are definitely wrong ways to pursue innovativeness. Here’s a big one: Innovation efforts almost always fall flat when they don’t follow a defined process. Innovation is not like capturing lightning in a bottle but rather like a competency that has to be deployed over ...

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