Key Differences Between Innovative & Non-Innovative Organizations

We have all heard the cautionary tales. Blockbuster missed the opportunity to innovate around streaming video rentals and lost their once-cornered market to Netflix. Kodak, the former leader in the film industry, filed for bankruptcy in 2012 because they struggled to adapt to the world of digital photography (a technology that they invented).

Companies, leaders, and consultants offer the same advice: innovate or die.

Experts have noted the following:

  • Innovation is one of the top 10 trends affecting business and leadership.
  • Executives cite creativity as the number one leadership skill needed for dealing with an increasingly complex future.
  • Creativity and innovation are essential requirements for organizational success.
  • Willingness to rapidly prototype early versions of innovations is one of the top 10 new leadership skills that will be needed in the future.

However, despite the consensus concerning the importance of innovation, it continues to be an area with which organizations and leaders struggle. In fact, drive for innovation was identified as one of the primary challenges organizations face based on a survey of over 1,000 leaders around the world (Martin, 2007). Given that leaders and organizations seem to care a great deal about being innovative, what is holding them back? Why aren’t companies as innovative as they want to be?

In order to better understand how innovation works in organizations, CCL conducted an online survey of 485 people from organizations around the globe, asking them to share their experiences with innovation in the workplace, including what their organizations do to encourage innovation and what common roadblocks they face when trying to implement innovation.

We found 5 key differences in how effective organizations approach innovation, as compared to ineffective ones:

Infographic: How effective organizations vs. ineffective organizations approach innovation

In this whitepaper, we present new insights from this research that shed light on the gap between the desire for innovation and the effective implementation of innovation within organizations. Specifically, we discuss:

  • the extent to which organizations struggle with innovation;
  • the key differences between organizations that are effective and ineffective at innovation;
  • the common roadblocks that prevent innovation in organizations;
  • ways leaders and organizations can improve their innovation efforts.
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