Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Technique 6.4 Dimensions to an Innovative Climate

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There are 4 dimensions to an innovative climate; circle the appropriate answer (see underlined words) or answer by "yes" or "no" or expand answer.

1 Nature of interpersonal relationships

i) Is there trust or mistrust?

ii) Are relationships reciprocal, based on collaboration, or are they competitive?

iii) Does the organisation socialise newcomers and support them to perform, or does it allow them to achieve and assimilate by independent effort?

iv) Do the individuals feel valued by the organisation?

2 Nature of hierarchy

i) Are decisions made centrally or through consensus and participation?

ii) Is there a spirit of teamwork or is work more or less individualistic?

iii) Are there any special privileges accorded to certain individuals, such as management staff?

3 Nature of work

i) Is work challenging or boring?

ii) Are jobs tightly defined and therefore "routine-inducing" or do job descriptions promote flexibility?

iii) Are sufficient resources provided to undertake the tasks for which individuals are given responsibility?

4 Focus of support and rewards

i) What aspects of performance are appraised and rewarded?

ii) What projects and actions/behaviours get supported?

iii) Is getting the work done (quantity) or getting the work right (quality) rewarded?

iv) On what basis are people hired?

Winning demands innovation. Organisations that innovate reap all the advantages as first mover. They acquire a deeper knowledge of new markets and develop strong relationships within them. Innovators also build reputations for being able to solve the most challenging problems. Vast amounts are spent each year trying to identify opportunities for innovation ‐ unsolved problems or unmet needs, things that don't fit or don't work. These organisations set up learning laboratories where they can stretch their thinking, extend capabilities, experiment with new technologies, get feedback from early users about product potential, and gain experience working with under-served and emerging markets.

Studies of organisations have consistently pointed to the importance of informal networks and potential communities in diffusing innovation. These are superior to the hierarchical channels for spreading new innovations.

The better mousetrap theory: this is based on a misconception that once an innovation is successful, interest will spread with "the world beating a path to your door" and "the results will speak for themselves". The number of proven innovations that never spread is great. The reasons for this are

- despite innovations proving successful, they are often at risk within their own organisations owing to their success. They are seen as a threat and embarrassment to others

- innovation often causes people to focus exclusively on the "low-hanging fruit' to quickly demonstrate the positive practical consequences of their ideas. This can often distract from efforts to look at deeper and underlying issues.

Most large organisations are not good innovators because they are

"... genetically programmed to preserve the status quo..."

Robert Stringer, 2000

Their structures, cultures and people are slow to react, owing to factors such as bureaucratic structures and mechanistic cultures.

There are ways around this

- hiring more creative and innovative people

- developing flexible and informal project groups

- creating idea markets within the traditional organisation

- experimenting with acquisitions, joint ventures, co-operative ventures and alliances with innovative organisations

- establishing "spin-off" innovative units

- investing in innovative companies directly

- participating in an emerging industry fund


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