"Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of the things that May be only?"
- Scrooge to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)
What Does Innovation Mean in Business?
Typically about value creation for customers, the business itself, and the economy, innovation is also about growth and sustainability. While innovation is a key indicator of organizational success, not all innovation efforts produce the desired results.
Given 'tis the holiday season, we decided to tackle the question - what does innovation mean in business - through the retrospective lens of A Christmas Carol, Dickens' classic tale. Inspired by this, we asked: What are the innovation ghosts from the Past that we’d all rather forget? Where are we today in Canada when it comes to innovation? And what might the future hold?
The Ghost of Innovation Past
We decided to let the dreaded suggestion box represent the Ghost of Christmas Past. We also realize that suggestion boxes are still very much present in many organizations, along with ideation sessions, surveys, misaligned team building efforts, “Dragon’s Den” style events and more. While each has their place in innovation, many are what is known as "innovation theatre" and thinking of these tactics as the sum total of what you need to be more innovative in your organization is one idea we hope everyone will leave in the past.
The Ghost of Innovation Present
The Ghost of Christmas Present has received the latest innovation report card. Canada gets a “C” grade in the 2018 Conference Board Report How Canada Performs, and ranks twelfth out of sixteen peer countries on innovation performance. What is a poor Ghost to do? Ours is left searching through the bin of rejected ideas to see if there’s anything to recycle or salvage.
The Ghost of Innovation Yet to Come
Which brings us to the future.
In the quote at the top of this blog, Scrooge begins to realize that while his past and present were downright scary, and his future is looking even grimmer (i.e., he’s dead), perhaps he has some power to change the “Yet to Come.” We do have control over our destiny, if we choose today’s actions mindfully and strategically.
Thus, the question becomes, “What will you change today to create your organization’s innovation future?”
In our cartoon, we show a few hints of what your future might hold. New diagnostics that challenge traditional thinking about how to measure innovation and wiring your organization’s DNA for innovation are critical paths to innovation success, as are building the skills that contribute to innovation and allow us to navigate the workplace of the future. In 2020, no doubt you’ll hear more about the new ISO Standard for Innovation Management. As a result, you may find you need to refresh your Innovation Strategy. All this is innovation of the “Yet to Come,” and it’s within your power to choose this future.
Wherever you are on your innovation journey, we wish you a Merry Christmas, joyful holidays, innovation miss-takes that offer gentle lessons learned, and the inspiration you need to fuel your innovation future.
About BridgePoint Effect
BridgePoint Effect is an organizational development and innovation strategy firm dedicated to helping organizations thrive through change and innovate to create value. We serve courageous leaders who want to inspire and equip their teams to change, innovate, collaborate and think better together. Our goal is to make it easier for individuals and teams to contribute results for their organization.