How important is innovation in your company?
Strong business performance today could come at the expense of innovation that strengthens your business tomorrow. Can your company do both— innovate for tomorrow, and deliver strong operational performance today?
It’s easy for a successful company to get stuck in the status quo, even when it’s breaking new ground. Say what?? Innovation thought leaders call this incrementalism: making small changes to existing products and processes to grow. And, the more successful the company, the more it may resist innovation. Huh?
Even when a company introduces something new, there’s a good chance it’s emerged from the realm of expected - incremental and ordinary. Sometimes this is the correct approach and it’s absolutely what you need to resolve difficult challenges. But there is a fundamental conflict between maintaining the business and experimenting with new things. For that reason, many companies feel they must play it safe. When companies perform well, they are lulled into incrementalism: thinking they’re safe and asking ‘why fix what’s not broken?’ Persistent problems are tolerated. Complex or ambiguous opportunities are avoided.
However, persistent problems exist because, by their nature they’re complicated, cross many departments or boundaries, and are often entrenched in a system of the status quo. Perhaps you have a good idea that could resolve the problem—and the bigger issue is vetting it thoughtfully and building traction for it. Or, perhaps your team has been ‘noodling on it’ for a long time and you’ve accepted that ‘it’s just the way it is.’ When most companies accept a situation as ‘just that way,’ that is precisely the time for YOUR company to reject that limiting belief. (Think Uber, Whole Foods and Hulu.)
Even if you do commit to experimentation or Big Hairy Audacious Goals, you might wonder how you could possibly use emerging technologies as a solution. How can you deploy new technologies when you haven’t the time or expertise to truly explore their relevance, or think creatively about how they could impact your business?
If the problem of incrementalism resonates for you, you might be a great candidate for a Spark Circle.
If you have the ultimate responsibility for business growth, strategy and the overall vibrancy and relevance in your market, then you need a place where you can not only spark new ideas, but wrestle with knowledge, skills, and abilities that will overcome the systemic issues blocking breakthroughs.
SOOOOOOOO, check your innovation capacity. Tell us what you think and help shape the design of new programs at Align.
Take this short survey to measure your strength related to balancing innovation with performance.
We'll use this information as we finalize the design of our new spark circles program!
Interested in the Spark Circle? Read more here.