Innovation should be the work of every single employee

Change is on an exponential curve. Innovation in all areas and industries is happening more rapidly than we have ever seen before. Competition is fiercer. The vast majority of businesses are battling to defends their margins and defend their position in the market place. You have to earn your place in the market every single day as real time data, such as Google Analytics, becoming increasingly available allowing companies to react quicker and quicker.

All of this competition is making it increasingly difficult to differentiate your product or service from anyone else’s. It’s harder to bring something truly new and unique to the market place and even once you do the life cycle of it being seen as innovative is shorter.

Innovation is the key to surviving but how do you build an organisation that is innovative and adaptable.

The key lies with the workforce. Is innovation the work of everybody all of the time? Are employees willing to bring you the gifts of their passion and creativity?

“Do I have the chance to change the organisation I work in?”

Innovation always starts from the fringe. It doesn’t start at the mainstream. Whether it is art, music, literature, fashion, the innovation starts from the fringe.

How do we exploit all this collective imagination and work?

If you’ve grown up on the web you believe that every idea should compete on an equal footing. Peer review process. Let’s see what’s really good. It should not get a free pass because it’s come from a CEO.

What should matter is your contribution not your credentials. Give me a chance. Judge me on what I do not what school I came from. All hierarchies on the web are built bottom up. The people who have leadership positions are there because people want to follow them.

Becoming a more innovative organisation

Make all of the insights you need to drive innovation – customer insight, technology insight, competitor insight available to every employee.

How often do you visit the break out room and hear great ideas that could dramatically change the company to be more profitable, increase loyalty, and add value to the customer, that never see the light of day?

1.) What innovation training are you providing? Is the company training employees to see new opportunities and develop robust plans for experimentation?

2.) If an employee has an idea how long would it take you to get some time and a small amount of capital to test the idea? How many layers of bureaucracy? Would they know where to go?

3.) Is anybody measuring your innovation performance?


In the medium term there isn’t another strategy other than innovation, it’s the only way to create value. In the short term you can maybe do some cost cutting, run an offer, do a sale, but eventually that becomes unsustainable.

Any day now Facebook will reach 1 billion users. More than 1 in 3 people in the world who have access to the internet have a Facebook account. Not bad for a company that launched less than 9 years ago.

Perhaps more impressive is that Google+, Google’s social networking site, now has 400 million members as was launched just 14 months ago.

Innovation is what drives both these huge organisations.

If we you are not making an effort at all to move towards embracing innovation in our own businesses then I think we’ll have really big problems in attracting the best and the brightest.

Change is changing.

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