June 29, 2018 by David Gambrill
Companies often make two common blunders when they seek to disrupt themselves.
First, some talk about hiring a bunch of “intrapreneurs” – creative geniuses who break all the rules and swim against the corporate tide – and then silo them off into self-contained departments to work on brilliant ideas for the organization.
Second, some organizations expect innovation to be possible within a context of total team harmony, in which everyone works well together because they are all “on the same page.”
The first example is problematic because innovative thinking should be encouraged throughout all aspects of the entire organization, Andrew Corbett writes in a blog for Harvard Business Review.
“To start, innovation must be recognized as a permanent function of a successful company, just like other business functions such as accounting, operations, sales, and finance,” writes Corbett.
“But this innovation division can’t be siloed off from the rest of the business. Company incubators and innovation labs that are isolated from the rest of the organization tend to have limited success, because they are disconnected from a larger system. Game-changing innovations require a holistic approach across the organization.”
Five key features of an innovative organization include:
Inclusive conversations among the various innovative people in your company leads to the second example of something companies should not do when innovating: Don’t expect creative geniuses to agree with one another all the time, say bloggers Darko Lovric and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.
“When teams and organizations enjoy too much harmony, they will gravitate toward inaction and complacency, which, as Clayton Christensen noted 20 years ago in The Innovator’s Dilemma, will breed decline and extinction,” they write. “William Wrigley Jr., the American chewing gum tycoon, once noted that business is built by men who disagree, and that ‘When two men always agree, one of them is unnecessary.’”
The lesson for leaders is obvious, the authors write. “Fight harmony, inject some tension into your teams and organizations, and embrace a moderate amount of conflict.”
This can be done three ways: