A great deal of organizational energy is wasted by duplication of activities that are being done by others and duplication of activities that can be done by suppliers or other stakeholders. This is a result of overlapping responsibilities. Once unnecessary tasks are eliminated, there will be a focus on relevant activities and with it will come relevant innovation.
This concerns choosing the right way to do things by benchmarking with the best organizations in the world. The internet provides us with direct access to best practices from around the world. Once good and better ways of doing things right are discovered, they must be shared across the organization on a consistent and relevant basis.
Unilever has Innovation Centers in every region that are dedicated to studying the best way of doing everything. These processes are then replicated across the globe
Organizational Culture has the great Emphasis on Innovation. Without the oxygen of support and applause, ideas often die in infancy. The creativity improvement program can be the foundation that enables all other company programs to be effective. There are a number of steps to ensure that the program encourages innovation.
Turf protection has always been a major barrier to innovation. The capacity to break down barriers and conflict between departments can release massive energy for innovative contributions. Inter-departmental rivalry, the tendency to compete rather than collaborate, acts as an obstacle in the way of team creativity. There are many ways to deal with this, including cross-functional teams.
Leadership and consumer relevance are the top drivers of innovation. There are two essential ingredients for successful innovation: Leadership and Consumer Relevance. Innovative processes do not begin in the R&D laboratory. They are initiated with a mandate from the highest level of the corporation. Identifying the consumer’s needs is an equally integral part of the innovation process. Ensuring employee participation in planning and a complete buy-in into innovative strategy is critical.
At Unilever, top management strongly believes that innovation has to be closely linked to the business strategy.
Most companies are so involved in meeting deadlines and fire fighting that there is rarely time to discuss and explore work related issues. Providing a structure, space and time to discuss ideas and toy with possibilities, can greatly increase the chances of creative ideas emerging. The tolerance required to generate a multitude of alternative solutions is the climate required when talking about work.
Dr. Rekha Shetty is Managing Director of Farstar Distribution Network, a unique consultancy company devoted exclusively to innovation and creativity under the brand name Mindspower.She is an author, an entrepreneur and an original thinker. Her long term Innovation Initiative, using 47 thinking tools helps in a steep increase in profits, reduction in costs, while improving customer satisfaction levels and employee participation levels. She is a consultant to ICICI Bank, Ashok Leyland Ltd., Hyundai Motors Ltd., TVS Group, TI Group, Durgapur Steel Plant, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and other blue chip companies.
In her very first assignment in United India Insurance, she developed a nationally acclaimed advertising campaign. During the last seventeen years, she has specialized in the field of Creativity in Management and developed her own management brand, Mindspower. She was one of Asia’s first women District Governors for Rotary International and was awarded Rotary’s highest Award – Service above Self.
Her fourth book “Innovate! 90 Days to Transform your Business” is under print and will be released by Penguin during May 2010.